The Egyptians created the pyramids, which are a wonder. They sit flat, aligned and perfectly level in the Nile delta. How they got them that level, no one knows.

I did some volunteer work the other day. I haven’t any recent experience in building houses, but I was reassured that I needed only show up. I’d be given work to do. We worked in teams and it was great to see the house come together. We put up siding, windows and finished the roof.

The power tools were the best. It had been a long time since I’d been around a circular saw, or wielded a hammer, and later I made the acquaintance of the nail gun.

Of all the equipment, it was the simple level tool that demands the most respect. A great deal of time was spent leveling the windows, without which the sliding mechanisms would eventually jam. Wedges were used to make sure we got a proper fit. Even the scaffolding was leveled off with adjustable extensions.

At the end of the day, if you wanted it done right, everything has to be on the level.