There is a saying locally – or perhaps I invented it – that one artisan makes work for another.
For example: our roof tilers had the misfortune to have one ridge of the hip roof completely disintegrate. A rush of tiles and poor quality, aged cement hit the ground as they looked at it from their respective ladders and scaffolding planks. For the roofers it meant an extra day and a half's work restoring the ridge doubtless with a few curse words as well as cement.
For us it meant that the plastic water evacuation pipe that served the kitchen sink and the dishwasher was broken just where it turned a corner and dropped 10 cm. At least there were no longer any gloug-gloug noises as the sink, or dishwasher, emptied. Unfortunately the dishwater was spreading below the step into the back garden, just under the gate and next to the terrace. Fly heaven was born.
All people who live in houses (generic term including flats) know that plumbers do not grow on trees. Nor do they always come when you call. And this was a silly little job for which most plumbers would not bother to get out of bed. In fact, in true Dordogne fashion, we would be expected to fix it ourselves. But there comes a time when one opts for YDI rather DIY and we are definitely at that age.
Fortunately a new, young plumber has just set up shop – literally – in St Astier, next to our favourite butcher. He came, he saw – and drew in his breath as only artisans can.
The pipe concerned was no longer 'dans les normes', it was 8cms in diameter whereas now only 6cm or 10cms were acceptable and easily available. He said he would see what his fournisseurs could supply, possibly they had old stock. Otherwise he would think of something else.
He duly came back the following day, full of pride and armed with a full length of 8 cm diameter pipe. The job did not take too long and he was pleased with himself and I was pleased with him. I paid, he left.
Then I discovered that he had not allowed for the metal gate that closed over the pipe. It now got stuck over the new one. Sigh, but no great problem, I went and bought some washers, Alexandre lifted the gate off its hinges et voilà!
Spider webs, anyone?
Well, up to a point, because there is another job as a result of our new roof – or at least as a partial result of that work. This self- inflicted job consists of cleaning out the grange which is our all purpose store, for packaged food, clothes we are not quite prepared to junk, ditto crockery, jam-jars waiting to be filled, wine waiting to be put in the cellar. We (that is I) can sweep the floor all we want – the problem lies with 33 years of undisturbed spider-webs. I feel a bad attack of being Dutch coming on.