Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 22 October 2010

12.30 - 2.30 pm - we are invisible

While we had the house in France my heroes were le plombier, le menuisier (a carpenter on steroids), and le maçon (forget hammer and chisel; this guy could build you a house). All have been feted in Works Well and their brows bound with laurels.

I am more equivocal about le zingueur - technically a zinc worker, more exactly a roofer. (I should add I ignored l’ébéniste, never having needed a hand-carved witch-doctor’s mask in African hardwood.) Drefféac’s zingueur, who had a comical surname which I’m damned if I can remember, was extremely hard to find. Desperate I knocked on his door just as he was about to lunch, a solecism few Brits unfamiliar with France would comprehend.

Monsieur, he shrugged, fighting to contain himself, le téléphone. But I didn’t have a French landline and this pre-dated mobiles. I wasn’t an enthusiast before and seeing his lunch-table was set with something red poured into chunky Cristal d’Arques glasses which inhibit wine appreciation put me off even more.

For me zingueur resonates with tzigane (gypsy) and M. Zincman might have had nomadic blood. His thick curly hair looked like a football into which his head had been partially inserted. His dangling arms and simian gait equipped him well for scrambling up ladders. Although he'd done other jobs for me he refused to suggest a solution to a leaky roof over the lean-to section of the house (see pic). Several years after we sold I stopped to view the house’s exterior noting the lean-to section had a new roof. The Irish buyer had had no French and it’s possible the roof represented M. Zincman’s revenge for that interrupted lunch.

3 comments:

The Crow said...

I just had the roof of my barn repaired, this Wednesday, and am in awe of the workmen who set up their ladders almost snug to the building at a busy T-intersection on my alley.

None of them looked simian. (One of them was a real hotty, though. I was sorry I had to leave for the office.)

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: He may have been a hotty but I am not able to judge. In questions like this I always defer to Mrs BB's judgement and as far as I can remember all she ever saw of him was his bum as he scrambled up his ladder. But that should have been enough, you say.

I'm not done with him yet. His physical shape and his tendency towards invisibility may turn up transposed in what I am temporarily calling The Love Problem.

The Crow said...

Sometimes, even the briefest encounters become fodder for novels, don't they?

(One could build an entire modern-romance novel around the glimpse of a bum ascending a ladder.)