The current weather was predicted last week, so today I have a team of helpers putting up scaffold for me in the unrelenting 30+ degree heat so I can do the job on Tuesday, when there will be a bit of cloud cover. It is fine being old in the workplace, just so long as you garner a bit of respect. I think the same goes for young people too.
They will not let me work off ladders, but they will not let anyone work off ladders. If I fell from this location I would land on soft, newly laid turf, but rules are rules.
This job involves making newly laid stone look as though it has been there for 200 years. 'Do you use yoghurt and cow-dung?' everyone always asks. No, I use paint. Milk products turn everything a uniform black, and dung contains so much ammonia that it is harmful to the stone. Also, you would have to wait about 50 years for the dung to produce the desired effect anyway, and - What do we want? Results! When do we want them? Now!
I believe that I was the original pioneer in the techniques involved in artificially ageing stone, and I know that I am probably the best in my rarified field even now. Anyone who is better seems to have gone into the much more lucrative world of scene-painting for films like Harry Potter.
These studio technicians also receive credits for their work. I have to walk away and pretend that I have never been there. If anyone noticed my work, I would be a failure.
I once made some repairs on a very battered bit of stone sculpture for an antique dealer. He left it with me for a long time, so when he came to pick it up he had forgotten the state it was in before delivery.
He said it looked fine and asked how much he owed me. When I told him, he was visibly shocked and outraged.
"But I can't see what you have done to it at all!"
"Exactly," I said. "If you could see what I had done it would be a lot less money."