Quasimodo le plombier

July 7, 2010

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Hi from a French country wife, except I’m not French but a Brit who made “the move” from Marlow, Buckinghamshire and hates being called “ex-pat” (what DOES that mean, someone who used to be called Patricia?). After three and half years of living in the Lot, the northern most department of the Midi-Pyrenees, in south west France, life is still pretty much perfect… or is it?

Various minor incidents have clouded the way… one of them concerned a plumber who looked like Quasimodo (twisted body, dragging limp and small hunch back, hair growing out of wart on nose, no need to visualise…) who kept drilling through various parts of his body while we were renovating our house. I began to think it may have been some sort of satanic ritual going on the final time. We were sitting in the conservatory, the house immaculate, nervously awaiting the arrival of our first b&b guests. Quasimodo was attempting, for the third time, to help us turn our en-suite from a hideous 50’s pale blue bathroom with bathtub big enough for a gnome, to a grey tiled Italian style wet-room (this was after going off sick twice before, first time pneumatic drill bit back, twisted his wrist, shouts of “merde!”, out of action for 10 days – b&b opening looming – second time, pneumatic drill bit back again, more shouts of “merde!” – he drilled through his hand – out of action for two weeks – b&b opening VERY soon).
We were hoping to have limited use of our bathroom by the end of the day as the guests would need their own. The drilling started. Within two minutes there was a scream and shout of “merde”! Instead of coming out of the shower room directly into the kitchen and conservatory, Quasimodo decided to go through our bedroom, the sitting room, dining room, kitchen and then conservatory to confront us with a hand pumping blood which his lame leg, dragging behind him, smeared everywhere en-route. Yup! Pneumatic drill bit back again, this time the other hand. I shouted “merde!” bandaged him up; John took him to the hospital. We think he is still there…

My husband John finished the job himself and we peed in a bucket for a couple of days. The guests arrived just as the final mop sorted the trail of carnage. I stood at the door, smiling graciously, only to witness behind them, one of the cats bringing home a snake…

More tales of life in a small French village to follow, including the death of a neighbour caused by a guests cleavage, me nearly being voted in as Mayor, (village population 80 – social suicide averted)…and not to mention our wedding where I nearly ended up being married to John’s brother.

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