There is a gap in the timetable, a moment to ponder all the words there have been since 7.30 this morning.
Standing watching from my room window, the scaffolders are dismantling the great structure that has surrounded the north west corner of Saint George’s Chapel. The masons have completed wonderful restoration work. Buildings shrouded in scaffolding are never slightly and it’s good to see it go.
Only by watching the scaffolders at work does the sheer intricacy of their task become apparent. The structure is dismantled pole by pole and the poles are loaded into electric lift that takes them and the workmen down to the ground, maybe a dozen poles at a time. A wheelbarrow is taken up to collect together the numerous clips and brackets that have until now been holding the poles together.
It is exacting work, every step taken with care. In the assembly of the scaffold and in its dismantling, people’s lives depend on every single move being the right one. Given the height of the chapel, something falling or something collapsing would be fatal, to someone below or someone above.
It was a lesson in interdependence. I have always regarded scaffold as a necessary evil and as an obstruction to a good view of things. Five minutes watching the men this afternoon made me think again.
How many of the ordinary, everyday things around us demand far more skill than we can imagine? How many things taken for granted are there that would never be noticed, if it were not for having five minutes to do nothing?