1 EAGLETON NOTES: Things I Learned Whilst Thinking

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Things I Learned Whilst Thinking

I've been back at work in the last few months helping my son at the house he's building on the Island. It's been a lovely experience for many reasons not least of which is feeling useful and spending time with Gaz. 

I have spent time painting walls and ceilings and it gave me time to think.

Gaz has BBC Radio 6 Music playing all the time. Until I started working with Gaz I'd never listened to the station. I have always considered myself to have very catholic tastes in music: opera, operetta, religious music, classical (romantic classical being my principal source of listening), jazz (blues slightly less so), country and western, folk, pop/rock and other genre. However I have learned that there is a huge amount of what may possibly be described a non-mainstream pop and rock out there. More than that though I have heard music which very much reminded me of Simeon ten Holt and Steve Reich and it made me ponder on the blurry divide between some pop and rock and classical.

The second thing it made me think about was good old apprenticeships. I've been painting and paperhanging since my early 20s and although I won't paperhang any more I do paint. I discovered, though, that after nearly 50 years I still really didn't know much about it nor did I have the skills I thought I had. This last few weeks I've done a lot of painting and have been watching a master painter and decorator at work. My painting, though far from perfect, is now much better than it was a few months ago. Most of us won't notice the difference between our amateur painting and that of a master craftsman but I do now. It made me ponder on a subject that I used to think about a lot: apprenticeships. Craftsmen used to learn at the side of the master. The master could have pride in the craftsmen he'd trained and the apprentice acquired the skill and learned the 'tricks of the trade'. 

26 comments:

  1. Amazing what we can learn just by spending some time thinking ;) I'm not keeping up much with "modern" music, I have to confess. (Not even enough to be able to define what's considered modern these days!) When I listen to the radio (and I do, almost daily), it's usually to a (Swedish) channel where they mostly talk. And I've not even joined Spotify or anything like that. The music I play is mostly my own CD's. And the few new artists I've added to my favourites list in later years I've either heard on TV or been "introduced" to by some friend.

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    1. Monica I hadn't been keeping up with modern pop or rock music either. I listen to very little radio and if I do it tends to be BBC Radio 3 which is essentially a classical music programme.

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  2. It's great that you get out and paint. I did all my painting and probably will do some more. It's becoming a challenge as far as eyesight and steadiness. Maybe I should higher the pros?

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    1. Red whilst these days I have a someone in to do my papering I do all my own painting.

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  3. Apprenticeships are still an integral part of the education and business world here in Germany. I know it is different in other countries, and I also know that a lot of skill can be acquired by experience, but to learn a craft or trade properly, an apprenticeship is invaluable.

    Are you going to be back from NZ in April/May? I am planning on swapping my current bedroom with the living room, and redecorating in the process. If you're available at a reasonable price, I'll book you. Free B&B and a free tour of Ludwigsburg, the palace and the parks, included.

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    1. Meike I'm glad to hear that Germany still has apprenticeships. I shall be back from NZ towards the end of March. A trip to Ludwigsburg would be wonderful, however when I return I am having a knee replacement so I'm sad to say that I will have top decline your offer.

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  4. How lovely that you and your son can spend this time together, Graham. And I'm glad you're becoming a master painter. I always manage to cover myself, the floor....everything but what I'm supposed to be painting. It's a skill, and an underrated one, too.

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    1. Frances it's been very enjoyable. I have no pretensions to be a master painter but I'm better than I was.

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  5. I love painting while listening to music...the brush seems to glide much easier as if dancing to the music.
    Like you I do a lot of thinking/planning/reminiscing/meditating while I'm painting...I find it rather soothing.

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    1. Virginia yet again we find something in common.

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  6. You really wouldn't sell yourself into an apprenticeship at this age, would you, Mr. Edwards? If anything, I think you should take Milke up on her offer. That would be so much more fun, don't you think? (Hope you know that this is a little tongue in cheek!)

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    1. Mrs Thyme it would definitely be lots more fun provided I didn't have to attend a pub quiz in the evening.

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  7. Mr Bean and the exploding paint sprang to mind but I'm sure you did a better job than that.

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    1. Adrian I wish you hadn't reminded me!!!

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  8. I wasn't aware that there was a BBC Radio 6; I'm a fan of BBC Radio 4 Extra,

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    1. Well I only knew about it when there was a petition to save it when the BBC proposed to scrap it. It's not a programme I would ever listen to given my own choice but I did learn quite a lot over the weeks.

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    2. It's one you should listen to. There is some crap but for the most part it's brilliant. It sure as hell makes Jeremy Vine misable.

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  9. Some things are best learnt by seeing and doing. Much better than sitting in a classroom or completing written NVQ assignments to go in an A4 ring binder. To have a skilled man or woman at your shoulder is the way that younger people learnt their trades through the centuries. Only in modern times has a certain academic distance been created.

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    1. Yes YP. It's the same in nursing now. Before it was wards and academia now it's academia and wards. I know which one I subscribe to.

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    2. Teachers go from classroom to classroom. Enough said.

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  10. How wonderful that you are able to help your son in this way. Must be wonderful to be spending time together, sharing a common interest and craft.

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  11. I always think that the UK doesn't put enough money in giving young people hands on skills training. It's a sort of poor relation, isn't it? And short sighted not to do it when you see how well it serves the Germans. In some cases the difficulty is finding older people who can do the job properly in the first place, but the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings does quite a lot of good work there. Glad you have some good people to work with and are able to spend this time with your son.

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    1. I agree with you Jenny: we don't invest in people despite all sorts of government 'paper' initiatives over the last 20 years or so.

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  12. Music is wonderful...and it's wonderful to open our minds to all genres...as you do...the choices with which we're surrounded are limitless...and we will never have enough time to listen to them all.

    We need skilled tradesmen...we need apprentices/apprenticeships. So much emphasis seems to be put on university courses these days...let's hope we never overlook our tradesmen. What a sorrier world it would be without them.

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    1. Indeed Lee in all walks of life it is so necessary to learn from others in a hands on way (in my humble opinion).

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