Sunday 23 February 2014
Always for others
data and calculations here. I've re-engineered our lane over the years by scratching up little transverse berms so that any falling rain gets diverted off the lane before it starts to travel. And many years ago I persuaded one of our farming neighbours to deliver a couple of tractor-buckets of roadstone up the mountain in a couple of key places to divert the mountain-water (of which there can be a helluva lot) off the roadway and into drains. A little of this maintenance keeps the lane car-accessible to us and the postman. It also makes a difference to the surface under foot and means that hill-walkers can do the first part of their trek without twisting an ankle. Every year I take an azada (see right) and repair and rebuild these berms and shovel out the accumulated debris. It has made sense to go further and further up the lane to turn off running-water problems before they start.
A couple of years ago, I met Paddy as he came down off the mountain. Instead of carrying a Mars-bar or a compass, he was toting a shovel. He had spent the previous few weekends on his own up the mountain tricking about with the drains so that the water didn't destroy the lane. You can still benefit from the results of his care today. I can see why I might do that, partly for my own good and partly from a sense of proprietorship. But it's not so clear why Paddy who lived 40km away should make a special trip to make life easier and more enjoyable for other people. Except if you knew Paddy!: because his open heart and generous hand were clear to all when you were in his presence. I say "if you knew Paddy" because he died last Sunday - by all accounts of a heart-attack while clearing drains after the Darwinday storms. I hardly knew the man but I still feel that a light has gone out in our lives.