FOUNDATION. -Bon, says my builder, there are 2 possibilities: We can build a wall around the old foundation, than saw the floor in two, make an extra wall between the two halfs, because you will need some more support, and than pour a new floor a little higher, for to avoid cracking, old and new should’nt touch.
We can also order a bulldozer.
Two weeks later, the old foundation is lying at the far end of the garden, and a lonely bulldozer is pacing the rest of the afternoon flattening out the new building plot.
-Tomorrow we’re going to mark
-Ok, I’ll drop by.
End of the morning next day, I discover the spot untouched. No one to be seen. Well, maybe this afternoon…
At 16.30 I pass again. Still no one to be seen. Some sticks and ropes have appeared though.
-Allô! Yes, I mean no, we had a small job to finish. Tomorrow morning, “c’est sur”!
At 11.30h we arrive at the same time.
Marking is an art. First you outline the interior, than the exterior.
– I say, it looks like that rope of the interior is attached to the stick of the exterior…
-Ah, zut! Oui, 2 secondes! Here you go, “impeccable”. Straight, right-angled, what more could you want.
A month later, the foundation is ready, the floor dry, and the walls begin to show. In a corner, I find a giant triangle.
-Have a look, those walls aren’t right-angled!
– Eh, not entirely, no. But that isn’t my fault, that’s because of this old foundation……!
Not satisfied, but how do you express that in french? Let me have a try….
TUBES AND PIPES I am standing on the edge of a “restanque”, one of these lovely stonewalls you see everywhere in the Provence, admiring the views. At my right, the french plummer tries to limit the demonstrations of unconditional love and joy of his puppy dog.
– Look, he explains between two leaps, under here is an old stone pipe leading from the guest house to the septic tank. Completely blocked with roots.
-Can’t you just clean out the roots? asks the english owner at my left.
– Oh yes, it’s a possibility, but it is some 40m, and I cannot garantee the result. You better put a new pipe in.
– And how much will that cost me?
– Oh là là! Not so easy to say, new piping, pits at all angles, when we start digging you never know, we might encounter rock… You can also make a small septic tank only for the guesthouse. Apply for a test, have an investigation done, we dig a hole ” et voilà”.
-What do you think? asks the owner
I think that an official investigator will be shocked about the actual instalation and oblige to renew the whole system. You actually have a choise between doing it now and doing it soon. He looks not happy.
– Just clean the pipe than, shall we? says the plummer as he disappears into the vines after his puppy dog.
You would like to understand before you choose? Let me come along….
DOCTOR -Aie ! Something jumped into my eye!
-Let me have a look? Mmm, I don’t see much, maybe it jumped right out again already. Just close your eyes for a while and relax, it will pass.
Listen, it does look a little red. Maybe have a doctor take a look at it after all. Eye specialist, what’s that in french?
-Ophtalmo, ophtalmo …..there is one in the next village.
-Bonjour, I would like to make an appointment. My husband has had something getting in his eye, and it looks a little red .
-Oui, oui, pas de problème! Let me see, I can schedule you for the 6th of september, in 5 weeks.
-5 weeks! Can’t you do any earlier? He can’t just wait for 5 weeks!
-Non, non, nothing earlier, sorry, very busy, all is booked.
Try someone else, my husband proposes.
Ophtalmo…., ah, here’s another one.
-Bonjour, my husband has something in his eye, it is rather red.
-Oui,oui, 1 september. In 4 weeks. You can also drop in at the doctors in your village
-Yes, but he hasn’t got the right instruments, has he…
Another one. 6 weeks
I’m starting to loose my temper!!
-Bonjour, my husband has had an accident. Something got into his eye and it is now red and swollen and he has a bad headache.
-Oh là, là! Can he still see?
-Hardly, his eye is weeping and it stings.
-Aie aie, we really need to look at that, can you make it in one hour….?
Think like the french! Shall I make the call next time?