Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Invisible Fencing

Dry stone walling is an ambiguous occupation: Discuss. 

Well for instance, wallers talk about " completely filling the inside of the wall with lots and lots of 'hearting'" In fact they actually say  "There’s no way you’d ever use 'too many' stones!” 

- After hearing that explanation, a newbie might ask , "Does that mean, when you are building a stone fence, it would be better not to use stones at all then?  Surely you're talking about 'invisible fencing' now? " 

It seems that rather than being able to understand the idea of not limiting the amount stones to do a proper job of hearting, the description of what a dry stone waller does has become more confused.

Let's see what else might be confusing.

"Dry stone walling seems obscure, but in fact the principles of are quite ‘transparent’
- do we mean ‘not visible’ at all, or ‘very easy to see’

"stone walling …" 
-purposely ‘hindering’ any progress, or conversely 'trying to be productive?

"is the technique of building a dry stane 'dyke' "
-ditch’ or ‘wall’

"with stones 'held' in place "
-without anyone actually ‘holding’ them there ? 

"in such a way that they 'stand' "
-that would be placed 'up right' or ‘lying down’

"in the wall with the 'joints’"
-are these ‘connections’ or ‘separations’ ?

"staggered so that all the stones are 'bound' "
-on their way ' to' somewhere or ‘staying in the same place’ ?

"and remain  'fast' and secure…"
-is that ‘without any running joints’ ?  

"Throughout the building process we're not using any ‘mortar’…"
-‘glue’ or ‘exploding devices’ ? 

"so that when it's 'finished' …"
-totally ‘fallen down’ or ‘completed’ ? 

"and when people stand 'overlooking' our wall…"
-‘peering at it’ or ‘completely ignoring it’ ?

"they think to themselves, this is 'awesome' …"
-‘beautiful’ or ‘merely frightening’ ?

"especially the more the wall 'weathers' with time."
-withstands’ the elements or just ‘crumbles’ away ? 

It’s no mystery why people think what we're doing is a mystery!

We tell people we are 'dry wallers' and then we explain right away that we don't actually do 'dry wall', and that we in fact don't stay very 'dry' either! 

It's no wonder people wonder. 

Let's hope that despite all the ambiguities of walling terminology contained in the English language, eventually people will begin to understand what it is we do.

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