The Plumber’s Tale

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I’m getting on extra-good terms with our plumber, Monsieur Maurin.  Yesterday morning he arrived, rang the doorbell, and failed to rouse us from our jet-lag-induced torpor.  That’s because one can scream upstairs and not interrupt a dinner party downstairs, about which more anon.

But it’s a good thing we didn’t hear him, because my only clothes were in the washer, as opposed to the dryer where a sensible person would have left them, and I would have had to greet him in my tablecloth.  He’s a very nice plumber, but his apprentice Remy is only 16, and I think that tablecloth might have been a bit much.  Besides, it’s a brown tablecloth, not really my color, not at all chic.

Following a hugely apologetic phone call he kindly agreed to return in the afternoon, giving me the opportunity to quiz the young man at our local grocery about which bottle of wine would be best as a gift for a kind plumber.  He returned, he caulked, he reassured us, he departed.

So this morning, since 3 of our 5 bags arrived last night, I decided to take advantage of being reunited with my own shampoo and toiletries to have a good shower while Shel was downstairs making coffee.  Dreamily washing my hair, like the bathing beauty above, who truly does reside in the shower, I failed to notice that I was ankle deep in water.  When I did look, water was pouring over the sill of the shower, over the bathroom floor, and into the bedroom.  I screamed for help (and since the shower window was open it’s a wonder someone didn’t call the police) but of course, not a peep of my frantic utterances made it down to the kitchen.  Water, however, finds its own way inexorably downwards, in this case into the living room, all over the tile floor and onto the sofa.  Yesterday it was the plumber who said “putain” several times when he looked at the shower, but today we said it quite a lot ourselves.  And so we’re making friends with the plumber and his assistant, having seen him once already this morning and planning another visit for this afternoon.  What we’re not planning is another shower. 

This has all had the salubrious effect of improving my French vocabulary, which now includes the rudiments of drains, blockages, leaks, and floods. 

But really, this is not going to be one of those blogs where someone whines about how hard life is in France.  We’ve been working our way through the local wines, had some stunningly fresh fish at home last night, having found rascasse and loup de mer for sale in the market square, and had some of the best olives of our lives.  I’ll try to get them to sit for a portrait, they’re that delicious.

We have three of our bags back, unfortunately not including any of my summer clothes.  Why I thought one bag of winter clothes and another for summer would be a good idea now escapes me.  If you’re coming to visit us, taking into account Michel’s comment on my last post, carry on a little of everything you need, and plan a diversified packing scheme.  I have sweaters and cords and jackets, but I’m still in those same black pants and a polo of Shel’s.  One step up from a tablecloth, but Air France says our other bags may arrive today.  And by the way, if outsourcing bugs you, let me mention that the Air France lost luggage call center is in some other country, but no one will say where “for security reasons.”  To which Shel reasonably replies “right, because otherwise the passengers would go there and kill them!”

But really, I hardly care in fact, because we’re in France.  We’re here, alive and well, the mistral is blowing like crazy, and life is generally sweet.

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4 Comments on “The Plumber’s Tale”

  1. Annie Says:

    Ok, Abra, remember for us non-francais speaking people (at least not yet) include the english word in parentheses when you use a french one!
    What is:
    “putain”
    “rascasse”
    “loup de mer”?

    Cool Frenchy house! I can’t believe the troubles you’ve had though. However, it is keeping my Mom entertained. Especially the part about the tablecloth (Le Toga d’Abra). Love Shel’s sense of humor! Kill the baggage people! I love it!

    Looks like you need some sort of intercom system for that place!
    I’m going home to PT tomorrow! For a few weeks at least.

    Love, Annie

  2. Tamara Says:

    Sounds like a good excuse to introduce yourself to the local tailor or boutique. You will be utterly Frechified in no time.

  3. Eden Says:

    I agree with Annie you need to find some kind of communication system that will work. perhaps while Monsieur Maurin is playing with the floor down to the living room he could run a string through it & then you could attach tin-cans at either end :->

    Would a wireless intercom work through the thickness of the floors there? And are they outrageously expensive in France?

    Love the bathing beauty!

  4. Abra Says:

    The walls are about 6-8 inches thick, so maybe the tin can method woulod be best. There’s also a baby monitor that we’ve been thinking of hooking up. In the meantime, we’ve been yelling loudly.


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