Finally, the plumber returns. Not without a degree of trauma: a phone call at 8.30pm to say he'd arrive the next morning - impossible, as I have clients booked in here and other arrangements for the afternoon. Little room for negotiation: it appears to be then or ... October. Hmm. Trying to discuss the fact that we do both have work commitments and lives and needed a little thing called a tad of notice leads only to my being told that "I'm not more important than his other clients" (where oh where do I find these people?). Eventually, in the interests of hot water, I agree that we'll re-jig our afternoon plans so that he can come after lunch.
I have to go out (no, honestly, I do) so I leave him to John's tender mercies. When I get home there's good news and bad. The good news: the water heater has been successfully pressure-tested and wired in, and all the water and waste is connected. The bad news: there's an elephant in the cupboard under the sink.
Not the prettiest bit of plomberie you've ever seen, quoi? Ugly-and-out-of-sight we can live with (sort of), but there's a problem: this is not just a sink unit, it's an all-singing all-dancing double-drawered small-mortgageable dooflop thingie that holds not only all the usual under-sink stuff but also a special system for sorting three types of recycling. And there is no space to get either drawer in, let alone both. This has of course been delicately raised in my absence with the plumber, who pronounces that "it cannot be done". "Okay", says John, "do what you can", this usually, in the land where 'it's impossible' means no such thing, being quite enough to turn no into yes.
But not this time. "Okay" says John with a sigh, "put it back together in elephant fashion so that we can test the whole system and then I'll re-do it myself". "Hrrrrummppphhhh" says plumber. "If I can't do it, you certainly won't be able to". (That's the most he's said all afternoon). And leaves.
A couple of days pass. John girds his loins and his spanners. Two hours plus a length of flexible waste pipe and the job's done. As it happens, it's a piece of the proverbial. The elephant has gone, and both drawers fit.
Tonight. A phone call to the plumber to report the missing elephant and hope, perhaps, for a small consideration on his eye-popping (wish I could get away with charging 58 euros an hour ...) bill. No such luck. Within moments, and without even mentioning a reduction, John is being told that his bill is his bill and that's that and we WILL pay it, and that (and here I quote) we are "nothing but trouble and are a pair of wa*&ers". For once, words fail me.
And so, dear plumber, if you should happen to be reading this: I don't ask for the earth from those who work here with (please note that word) us - a little respect, a little pleasantness, and a willingness to understand and do what's needed, well. Anything more is a bonus - nice, but not essential. You will get your cheque, because it's not important enough to fight over. What you won't get with along it, however, is my good grace, or any form of recommendation. Nor, naturally, an invitation to return.
PS ... if anyone is confused about yesterday's missing post, I did indeed post this yesterday but in the process it was somehow, and rather bizarrely, 'invaded' by something malicious that kept navigating away, to a spam-type site (no, I don't understand it either). I had no alternative but to delete, and rewrite, it. So no, you haven't lost the plot .....