Tuesday, 30 August 2011
A British ex-pat was talking to me the other day about the infinite fascination he finds in watching Czech workmen and their ability not to actually do any work. There always seem to be, as in this photo, a great deal of discussion involved, which can appear to be heated, heads are scratched, hands waved, shovels leaned on. Then there is "moving things" - piles of stones will get moved around alot, from one side of the site or hole to the other. This moving things business can take a lot of time, as was very apparent when the riverworks were underway in Cesky Krumlov, stones were dredged from the river bed, deposited on one side of the river and then moved to another. It took months. My ex-pat friend is convinced that Czech workmen are as expensive as their British equivalents not on an hourly basis but per job.
There are of course exceptions to this. Over the last few months the cliff by the road that enters Cesky Krumlov from Ceske Budejovice have been stabilised. Cliff falls had been known to close the road at times. The work required men to climb the cliff face and there hanging from ropes to drill into the cliff face. I watched the work in awe, especially as these guys seemed to be working all hours and through the weekends too (a remarkable occurrence). The work is now finished, alas. Alas - because unlike most Czech workmen who show the results of too much imbibing of Czech beer in the shape of their bellies, these guys were lean, muscular and fit, and in the heat of the Czech sun were usually stripped to the waist.