After weeks of historical research, measuring, drawing, mapping, surveying and planning, our intervention has finally begun. This week not only put me out of my comfort zone but completely stretched me in every way possible. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder more than once what the hell I had gotten myself into.
It started last Sunday with the longest day of planning and making the final decisions about our approach, but also about our capacity – what could we feasibly complete in the two short weeks we have to do it?
Whilst our subject place has many issues (and as we work, we find more and more every day), our approach really has to be of “first aid” or we’d be here forever (as lovely as Martos is, I don’t think any of us would want that!). This has required strict prioritising of issues, and finding the difficult balance between making sure that we do our best to ensure the fountain survives for the foreseeable future, as well as making a visible aesthetic improvement so that the Mayor and the town don’t wonder what the hell we’ve been doing for the past six weeks!
The complexity of the project was compounded by the various backgrounds, knowledge, levels of expertise and points of view across the participants, coordinators and experts on site, and the sheer number of people trying to make decisions with no single person charged with the responsibility of having the final say. We’ve also been helped out this week by the local craft school (more like a technical college that teaches skills to young people aged 16 – 25, who generally didn’t complete high school), which has been wonderful in terms of man power to get things done, but has also presented its own challenges in terms of approach.
So after many long days of scrubbing off mosses, lichens and dirt (sometimes with a toothbrush) off every surface; chiselling out impossibly hard cement mortar joints; scraping plastic coating off the basins; and injecting acetone and fluoline carefully into scaling inscriptions, plus countless bumps bruises and more grubby dirt and dust than I’ve ever had crusted onto me in my life – I think we’re finally feeling like this could be achievable, with just 5 more days to complete it!
Safety first on the scaffolding – all harnessed up!
Shani and Laurita put some elbow grease into chiselling out joints
The craft school boys seemed to like to power tools a little too much
Injecting fluoline into the micro cracks of the inscription to consolidate and retard further deterioration