During the last few weeks we have been in a constant state of amazement. We are utterly flabbergasted at the capability and resourcefulness of our Italian builders. I am frequently reminded of comments from my childhood about Italians who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s. They were often tradesmen who had a reputation for being able to do anything and being fazed at nothing, for finding nothing impossible and using great resourcefulness. That is how our experience with these builders has been. Our house is accessed by a 1km one-lane gravel/dirt track that was at first sloshy from rain then iced up by snow. At the house there is a very small turnaround area and I always worry about the size of vehicles coming in and whether or not they will be able to turn without getting bogged. The builder has a small truck which manoeuvres "on a two cent coin" and also has a load tipper. He adapts to whatever he finds on his worksite. We have found him making good use of our temporary lighting, hoses, shovels, brooms, rocks, bricks, etc. Our hose, which didn't have a connector end for attachments, has suddenly got one. The branches of the huge wisteria vine that grows along the front of the house were cut or parted to enable a small lifting mechanism to be installed on the terrazza. This was used to raise wheelbarrows of cement to the first floor. For the staircase voltini job, they moved 500 bricks and rubble from the demolition in the space of 1 hour, then raised sand in countless bucketloads on ropes for the construction of the voltini. We have such massive respect for them and find ourselves constantly asking how an Australian might handle such inconvenience and heavy manual labour...
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