Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday 1 May 2012


At some point in every young muck fiddler's career the site director says: 'Have you ever planned before?' To which they always answer: 'Why shucks sir you're darn tootin I have!' (even though the only thing they have planned is to hide in the porta-loo until end of business.) This simple question propels a humble general operative into the exhilarating demi-monde of the surveyor. Entrusted with the noble task of recording three crummy stones, the new born surveyor goes forth in search of pencil, permatrace and planning board.
Regrettably the downward spiral of excavation budgets, dictate that such luxuries will one day no longer be supplied -so employees will have to make these items themselves, from scratch. Well, fear not chums - here's how it's done:
When fashioning a pencil don't bother digging a graphite mine, it's far too fiddly. Why not make some charcoal instead.
Charcoal is made by baking willow sticks in a tin box - so find the willow sticks, jam them into the passenger seat of the nearest vehicle and set the whole shebang alight. Once the blaze has died down retrieve your charcoal. Many years of personal experience has proved to me that this method is simple and economical (so long as the vehicle is not your own.) For the polyester film a passable substitute can be fabricated by flaying a passing calf and (with the aid of elbow grease and pumice stone) turning it's skin into  vellum. Once that's done, manufacture a drawing board by sawing the end off a barrow plank. Attach the vellum to the board  - and it's off we go!
And now, tools in hand, you are an artiste, you are in the company of Rembrandt, Rubens and Walter Lantz (creator of Woody Woodpecker.) It matters little that you are only drawing three crummy rocks - what matters is how you draw them. Is your approach to be in the style of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin? How about an impressionistic take on it? A touch of trompe l'oeil perhaps? If the director becomes enraged with your tardy nature, explain as patiently as you can that YOU ARE AN ARTISTE! YOU ARE SEEKING COMMUNION WITH THE MUSE! And IT WILL BE HIS SODDING VEHICLE NEXT WHEN THE CHARCOAL RUNS OUT!!! Then check all measuring gear has been properly calibrated and begin . . .
Once said stones are drawn it's time to add the necessary decorative motifs. Firstly, a dedication to His Gracious Majesty King George II (something very brown-nosey will do the trick.) Secondly, a scale bar (showing Irish miles, nautical miles and miles per hour.) Thirdly, a disembodied hand pointing languidly towards the vernal equinox. And lastly, a misogynistic and unexplained 'Nekkid Leddie' (lounging about in an ancient Roman landscape) in the corner of the plan, (the sort of thing that made an eighteenth century gentleman want to gallop off and play horsey with a debutante.)
Well workmates and associates, that sadly is the full extent of my twenty years surveying laid bare. And in the debate about using hand-drawn vs. digital surveying techniques my opinion is plain - why bugger things up by hand when you can have a computer bugger it up for you (to a far greater degree of accuracy.)



  1. I'll have no truck with trompe l'oeil or even accuracy on my sites McHale -i've a business to run down (it wont go up). And leave the tea lady alone!!

  2. I have a trompe l'oeil truck, it's useless, only a painting on a wall.

    Sometimes my chum Al Fresco takes it outside for a drive.

    He's the only one able to do it, seeing as he's a Fresco.

  3. I got two plumb-bobs and one puts me in this situation every time I use it LOL

    1. Plumb-bobs are sadly becoming a thing of the past. I recently entered a Dublin hardware shop and asked did they have any plumb-bobs, the sales assistant (in his late twenties) looked at me squarely and said 'What the f**k is a plumb-bob?'
      He thought I was taking the piss . . .
      True story!



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I am a descended from a long line of conga dancers. I occasionally wear shoes. I gave up going to the toilet twenty years ago - it's a filthy habit. I have a pet bunny called Mucky - he's a filthy rabbit.