Sitting on the cold floor of the assembly hall at school, when I was about eight years old, Mr Hydon, the headmaster, was doing his usual Friday morning chat, a story, a few hymns and off we’d all go to lessons. Art on Fridays, fun.
This particular Friday was different. He seemed to drift away as he told the story of visiting a wooden furniture maker in Birmingham. The Director showed him around, explaining how they cut the wood and selected the planks just right for each job. He saw the cutting tools, and heard how at the end of each day they sharpened the tools, swept the floors and left everything prepared. He smelt the special varnishes and oils they used, and watched the workers fixing wooden planks so you couldn’t see the joins.
As he was leaving he spotted an old guy, polishing the underside of a huge family table. Mr Hydon asked him: “Hey, why are you polishing the underside of the table? No one will ever see it!”
The carpenter smiled and replied: “Only my best is good enough for me.”