Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Digging Holes

Many years ago (it feels like another lifetime now), when I was a Probation Officer, I worked with a lad (I'll call him Tom) who had just come out of a juvenile correctional facility (posh name, dreadful place) and asked what he did all day.
   'Diggin' holes,' Tom said. 'They called it gardening, but it was diggin' holes.'
   His pulling himself together had nothing to do with hole-digging and everything to do with an imaginative youth officer who set him to help younger kids at risk of going wrong. Last heard of, he had a wife and family and he'd never seen the inside of a prison.
   Two weeks ago - I noticed a water leak in the road near my house. (There is a connection - bear with me!). A water-person came a drew blue arrows on the road, pointing to the leak. I can only assume that the leak-mending people needed help to identify water bubbling up in the middle of the road. But they came anyway, and dug a big hole - which filled up with water and spilled all over everywhere generally adding to the mud and debris scattered all over the road. Then they filled the hole in again - and even more water spilled through its cracks and crevices and the only thing we had to be grateful for was it not being icy.
   Today - they have returned, and are digging the hole up again. Will they mend the leak this time? Or will they peer into their hole and scratch their stubble (yes, they are all men - no women with beards) and agree, yes, there is a leak? Who knows?
   But it seems, from my ignorant standpoint, that this hole-digging is as pointless as Tom's 'gardening'.

Which only goes to show how little I know - because Tom worked things out in the end, my water leak will be mended eventually, and maybe they know something I don't know. Is there is treasure to be found at the bottom of their holes? There might be an intrinsic joy in hole-digging that has simply passed me by. It might be a secret, magical process, the gateway to Nirvana?
   Maybe it doesn't matter. Some processes make more sense than others. Does everything has to have a reason? Is there no space for digging holes just for the joy of it? I am sure there are many who regard the pleasure I take from cricket in the same light!


  1. I think I would prefer to dig holes than watch cricket, Jo. When I was small and living in Australia I decided to go and visit my granny in England, so began digging a hole in the back garden with the plan of slipping through and giving granny a surprise by turning up at her house.

    I was EXTREMELY miffed when my mother told me it wouldn't work (they'd been misleading me!) but I had had such an interesting time digging the hole that I have enjoyed doing it ever since!

  2. You gave me an early morning smile, Jo. It reminds me of that song about digging holes in the road - They're digging a hole, hole in the ground, they're digging it square when it ought 'a be round.. - I can't remember anymore yet, but it will niggle at me now till I do. Thanks! :) xx

  3. It is clearly a way of using far more resources than necessary, keeping a "jobsworth" in employment - creating a laborious process and adding no real value to resolution of the problem itself or to the lives of those of us who are experienced in their ways.

    I have ranted.

    Thank you for the prompt.

  4. Yes there is pleasure in digging holes. A great deal. Is there treasure at the bottom? Always. You never know what you will find and that is treasure in itself.
    In defence of the water board it is that not knowing which has probably led to the filling in and digging up of your road. You might think that the water system is all shiny new pipe and the water board have everything drawn up to millimetre accuracy. The truth is parts of the water system are over a thousand years old and even the records they do have are often innacurate. In London they know that parts of the system date back to Roman times and are made out of hollow trees. So they probably dug up the pipe expecting it to be made of one material which they had parts for and found it was something else entirely.

  5. Cricket!? Hmmmm... Anyway, re holes, I'm afraid it sounds like you have the same road repairmen there as we have here and I'm sure their repetitive hole digging has nothing to do with treasure!

  6. I was also reminded of that song, Sue, and I found the video:

  7. Who'd have thought a post on digging holes would have brought so many comments. Can always rely on Mark for common sense - the rest of us clearly have missed the point of holes (except for Jenny, who wants to dig to Australia - can't see the problem with that). And thanks for the Bernard Cribbens link - we'll all be humming now!

  8. There is NOTHING wrong with cricket!!!