2018 New Year greetings: if zinc was…






Following on from last year, when I sent you my New Year greetings in the form of a Proust Questionnaire, this year I am sending you my very best wishes for 2018 with a Chinese portrait of my blog’s favourite material: zinc!

If I were an element, I would be the air, because zinc roofers, up on the rooftops, are as free as the air.

If I were an animal, I would be a pangolin, because its protective, well-ordered scales make me think of a roof designed by a great architect!

If I were a season, I would be winter, because my colour spectrum varies from silky snow white to the dark grey of stormy skies and Nordic landscapes.

If I were a city, I could only be Paris, because I am an integral part of the colour and image of the City of Light worldwide.

If I were a film, I would be “Peur sur la Ville”, by French director Henri Verneuil, because it features Jean-Paul Belmondo running over my bays and leaping from gutter to gargoyle. I may be in the background, but all eyes are on me!

If I were an expression, it would be “knock on wood”, because that’s what I do every day when I am installed on fir wood decking. And it brings roofers good luck, because wood absorbs humidity and keeps mould and corrosion away from me.

If I were a smell, I would the acrid smell of the acid used to strip me and prepare me, somewhat violently, for welding.

If I were a sound, I would be the tap-tapping sound of a sparrow’s tiny feet on a cornice. The gentle sound that lovers hear in the morning, after sleeping beneath a mansard roof covered with yours truly

If I were a colour, I would be sky-blue, because the sky is my only limit!

If I were a hashtag, I would be #sustainable, because I retain all my value at end-of-life. When a house is demolished, I am carefully removed, discreetly stored, systematically recycled and then, off I cheerfully go for another ride on the merry-go-round!

If I were a dessert, I would be a Liège waffle with a sprinkling of icing sugar, because I was created in Liège and sometimes in the dew I am sprinkled by white rust.

If I were a flower, I would be a white arum lily, because its exquisite shape inspired art nouveau and the art of ornamental metal workers who stamped, pressed and punched me to make me look like one.

If I were a quotation, I would be “More good ideas have come out of garages than out of Board Rooms”, because my career has been punctuated by initiatives and risks taken by inspired engineers and technicians.

If I were a work of art, I would be “Impression, Sunrise”, the painting by Monet that gave Impressionism its name, because Monet used my zinc white to illuminate his works and because the artist lived in Giverny, just a few kilometres from the plant where I used to be rolled at the time.

If I were a revolution, I would be the Portuguese Carnation Revolution, because it was a gentle revolution by soldiers who did not create an authoritarian regime. Because I also know how to deal with smooth transitions from roofs to facades, from new to old and from the city to the suburbs.

If I were an invention, I would be the invention of printing, because it changed the world, a useful invention like the one that enabled me to appear and enabled the emergence of the now recognised zinc roofing profession!

If I were a feast day, I would be the Ascension, a joyful feast anticipating the return of all from earth to heaven. It is also the Roofer Companions’ feast day, and roofers are much closer to the heavens than you or I!

If I were a thought, I would be a thought for you and for the wonderful year ahead, which I hope will bring you much love and tenderness.


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