With one blocked tap and two under-sink sources of leakage in current temporary abode, I finally felt the time might have come for me to actively research the ongoing plumbing operative availability situation at the current moment on a re-engineering and hopefully added-value basis going forward (and I could go on like this but there are no carpets in this flat for me to chew, so I won’t).
The plumber arrived for a diagnostic visit, took one look at the fittings in question and opined something along the lines of: “Corblimey, gel, thassa right pile of cobblers’ you got there, innit?” – only proper shipshape and Niçois-fashion, you understand (his explanations anyway, if not the treacherous plumbing). He continued: “the more complicated these bleeders are, the more they go wrong, innit, narmene?” Thereby identifying himself as a man after my own heart, for I am a lifelong devotee of the precept of keeping things simple. Or, as some might say, ‘why pay more?’
I agreed that the taps were indeed thoroughly bordélique, watched and listened carefully while he conducted his compellingly-commentated investigations, and accepted with relief his offer to do the necessary toute de suite. Trouble was, he hadn’t brought his toolbox – and mine is long-dispersed in the mists of time between the Wye Valley and many other locations, and much to my disgust as I adore toolboxes. They have long exerted an unfathomable fascination upon me, and thus figure in the Min-Pantheon together with horses, yaks and muskoxen (well, it takes all sorts …). Perhaps a well-stocked toolbox is both proof and symbol of the settled life? Who knows (and, equally probably, who gives a tinker’s cuss)?
Anyway, to resume my tale: what to do? Ask the neighbours, of course! So off I toddled to the top floor to consult les Pastorelli, who: (a) have all that is required to effect minor household repairs, (b) are organised to the nth degree, and (c) are utterly delightful. Any excuse for a trip au paradis* …
“Hello, how are you?” said Madame Pastorelli, opening the door (Madame P. bears a disconcertingly close resemblance to that fabulous filmstar, Stéphane Audran). She raised her eyebrows expectantly while I went through the tacit ‘Blimey-but she-is-spitting-image-of …’ routine, before continuing calmly “and what can we do for you today?” I made my request. This, dear reader, necessarily involved rambling ungrammatical explanations, complicated gestures and wild surmise. “Vous avez donc besoin d’une pince,” concluded Madame P. placidly, padding across the kitchen to reach unerringly and in one, single graceful movement for the very box which contained precisely the implement required.
At which point Monsieur P., clad fetchingly in a pale grey ensemble, wandered into the kitchen to direct affairs – something he is naturally prone to do, even in my case now he has finally forgiven me for the death of Jeanne d’Arc (I had absolutely nothing to do with that. No really, honestly – would I lie to you?). He picked up a pair of curved pliers, and showed me how they worked. Golly! New to me: these have nifty little levers which expand or contract the pincers according to the size of object you need to grasp. Coogoshlumme, but they didn’t have those in B&Q back in the days when I was undisputed Mole Grip Queen of Looneybin Crescent, Little Twatsfyl-on-Gudywp.
Off I went downstairs, lovingly cradling the two pairs of pliars in my mitts and hoping for the best. I handed them over to Monsieur le Plombier, who pronounced them good in what was clearly his own sweet way. And so I left him to his work, returning to my own.
Within a few minutes there came a series of loud yells garnished with une bonne dose de brothels, tarts and manure. I ran to see what on earth had happened. Monsieur le Plombier stood, dripping, in the middle of the hallway between kitchen and séjour. His upright posture, lack of evident bloodshed plus the fact his face was neither significantly whiter nor redder than before showed there wasn’t too much to worry about. Sure enough, he promptly gave me the full technical explanation: “Il a fait pipi dans l’oeil, ce putain de truc, putain de merde, bordel – c’est chiant ça, voilà!” (= “It aimed a jet of water right into my eye, the bally thing, darn it. Bother!” Well, more or less). I tried very hard not to laugh – and even harder to look sympathetic. I peered at the affected eye; the affected eye peered back, blearily. We both shrugged and regained the kitchen to give the effing tap the evil eye, administer some vengeful pincer-movements and work out how it might be deployed so as to avoid any future ocular assault by pressure-hose.
Finally, repairs duly completed, I darted back upstairs to return the pliars and thank les Pastorelli fulsomely – the job couldn’t have been done without their help. “A pleasure!” beamed Madame Pastorelli (God, it’s amazing – she doesn’t half look like …). “You know by now,” she winked, “we make miracles happen. So whenever you need one, you come to us!”
“Of course,” I said. “After all, it’s not for nothing that you live au paradis!” Still, I wonder if there are tool-boxes in the Empyrean … meanwhile, what’s a monkey wrench en français?
* French theatrical expression denoting upper echelons where the poor traditionally sat (hence Les Enfants du Paradis), corresponds to ‘the gods’ in English. Les Pastorelli usually refer thus to their penthouse.
Photo sourced from Wiki Commons; click to access refs + enlarge. Aquarius illumination courtesy of clever Kat
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