This is an account from Akenfield, by a young blacksmith who had won awards for his ornamental work:
“We all watch the telly news- everyone does. Television had changed the village people. Like the plays. I am alway on the look-out for scenes showing ornamental ironwork. You may not have noticed, but telly plays are full of wonderful ornamental ironwork. There was this programme the other day about the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution which showed a pair of gates. Marvellous, they were [The gates of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in Eisenstein’s film, Ten Days that Shook the World] It is one of my great ambitions to make a tremendous pair of gates, with all their fine railings. But who would buy them now?
I look at everything. I don’t open a church door without looking at the hinges. Occasionally, when I’ve been to London I’ll be walking down a street and see interesting railings, gates and things, and I’ll look and think. There are some fine railings in Westminster Abbey I hear. They stand about a king. I’ll give them a look one of these days. I always look to see how the old men did their work. The metal is al perfect still under the paint – as good as the day it was cast.
I love this because he is so obsessed with what he does he is oblivious of what the rest of us see. ‘a king’ ‘some gates’. They are so much more than that. Or maybe we’re the ones missing out by not seeing the same detail that he does.