Bob notches up 45 years on the job

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - MIKE BAIN

In a world where peo­ple rarely stay in the same job for more than a few years, Mata­mata man Bob Huges stands as the ex­cep­tion.

Hughes en­tered an ap­pren­tice­ship as a car­pet and vinyl layer af­ter leav­ing Te Aroha Col­lege when he was 15. The ap­pren­tice­ship was with D.Water­ston House Fur­nish­ers Ltd in Mata­mata.

Hughes ad­mits time is start­ing to catch up on the body af­ter 45 years of be­ing on his knees but he still has no plans to call it quits.

His tools con­sist of knives, mal­lets, stretch­ers, (sta­ple) gun, hot irons and body bags.

They’re all used to carry out con­tracts, for two very dif­fer­ent jobs, for the Water­son’s fam­ily busi­ness. They’re not only a fur­nish­ers but are also the lo­cal un­der­tak­ers.

While tools of the trade re­main the same, the no­tice­able changes are in the type of car­pet laid.

‘‘It was all NZ wool car­pet made - names like Brem­worth, Cav­a­lier, God­frey Hirst and Fel­tex,’’ said Hughes.

‘‘Nowa­days it’s all stain re­sis­tance ny­lon car­pets.’’

But it was a stain on a car­pet which he had laid to have caused him some con­ster­na­tion.

‘‘Hav­ing just fin­ished lay­ing a room and turned around to find what I thought was an oil stain, I set to and cleaned it only to find it re­mained,’’ he said.

‘‘An hour later the stain moved and it turned out to be a mark on the win­dow re­flect­ing onto the car­pet.’’

‘‘Bob is a first class old-school trades­man,’’ according to owner Gra­ham Water­ston.

‘‘We have never had a call back for any work he has done.’’

Hughes has trained four ap­pren­tices in his long ca­reer. He plans to con­tinue work­ing in the in­dus­try, shar­ing his knowl­edge, for years to come. He might cel­e­brate his 45 year mile­stone with a pint at his beloved Mata­mata Club.

Armed with sta­ple gun and stretcher Mata­mata’s long serv­ing car­pet layer Bob Hughes is ready to hit the floor

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