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At a municipal pace


In complete contrast, I’ve recently had the privilege of watching a team of municipal workers in action in the road in front of my house for a few days

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Some humorist once said: “I enjoy work. I can watch it for hours.”

When I was at school, I always enjoyed our organised outings to factories, engineering projects and building sites. I suppose the idea was to show us how grown-ups spent their working lives.

I remember being totally fascinated by visits to a shoe factory, a cloth-weaving mill and a car assembly plant. They all seemed to be noisy places filled with whirring machines and busy people rushing about carrying stuff.

In complete contrast, I’ve recently had the privilege of watching a team of municipal workers in action in the road in front of my house for a few days.

It has been a lesson in calm, unhurried, precision work every step of the way.

There’s never been a hint of rush or panic.

Each day’s operation begins with the designated traffic safety officer deploying 10 orange traffic cones in the street to warn oncoming traffic of the work in progress.

He paces off the distance between each cone and the next, sights down the line and frequently goes back to adjust the setting of a cone a centimetre to the left or right.

This is a man dedicated to precision. He refuses to be hurried. The other five members of the team wait patiently until the traffic cone operator is completely satisfied, then they disembark from the lorry and take up their positions along the road.

I’m not entirely sure what it is they are doing, but it’s obviously serious stuff requiring frequent on-site meetings. I have an idea it’s something to do with a large puddle that forms in the road every time it rains.

A few days ago a man arrived with a spirit level and painted two white stripes on the pavement, then got in his bakkie and went away.

The municipal work team have not paid any attention to the two white stripes, so maybe they’re part of a completely different project.

Between site meetings the men have managed to clear away a lot of the bush that was growing alongside the railway line, so the view from my patio has opened up slightly.

I awake each morning filled with anticipation of another day of occupational instruction.

The traffic cone man should be in action again at about 9 o’clock tomorrow.

I used to while away my time watching the kayakers paddling past my house and the yachts sailing by, but I find watching municipal workers far more soothing.

They live at a much calmer pace. A pensioner’s life is never dull.

Last Laugh

Some famous people were ahead of their time. When Christopher Columbus set out on his historic voyage he didn’t know where he was going.

When he got there he had no idea where he was. When he finally returned he didn’t know where he had been. And he managed to do it all on other people’s money.

Just think what a perfect politician Columbus would have been today!