Close encounters of a French kind

For just over a year the cold tap on our bath has been getting stiffer and stiffer and delivering less and less water. During our last visit here it stopped completely as did the shower assembly diversion switch – you know the button you press in order to divert the water flow to the shower head. After many excessively hot baths, and washing hair in the kitchen sink and other inappropriate places, we decided to try and get it fixed by calling a French plumber. Things really need to get quite bad before I will try out my totally inadequate French, especially on the telephone. My first attempts lasted nearly ten days. There is a recommended plumber for our block of flats/apartments and I phoned him 3 times with no answer before I plucked up enough courage to leave an answerphone message. A few days later, with a good deal more French revision. I left another message. No responses.

Today, I contacted the management company and asked them to recommend another plumber. This one answered his phone directly. I think I told him our problem and I think he said he would come at a quarter to 12. When he did not turn up by 12.30, I started to wonder if he might have said a quarter to 2. So we waited in and at 20 to 2 a plumber’s van turned up and I waved to him from our window. He waved back. I went downstairs and we shook hands and ‘Ca va’d’. He spoke no English and very rapid French. He asked if we had a “Coodow” which I was surprised to discover we did have. It was a water stop cock or “couper de l’eau”. He fixed the cold tap pretty swiftly by just removing the valve and wiggling it about a bit. He then turned his attention to the shower and discovered that the shower head had an off position! I was sooo embarrassed and he chuckled, no doubt thinking les stupid ros boeufs.

The visit cost 60Euros which I think is a good deal cheaper than it would probably have been in the UK.

Last week I went into our bank and asked for a new cheque book. I looked up the word beforehand (le chequier) and went into the branch and requested one. The cashier looked really puzzled. I repeated the request. More puzzlement so tried book of cheques (livre de cheque) and she said “Oh a cheque book!”.  Today I had an email saying that my “chequier” had arrived and was ready for collection.

As I was editing this blog, I was prompted to consider whether I wanted to use “shower curtain” as a tag, which I didn’t at the time, but this caused me to Google it. I was staggered to find that someone thinks it desirable to produce a “Crab Nebula shower curtain” (,687034912)

Actually, perhaps I want one!! Although, the “Horse in the shower curtain” and “The periodic table of elements shower curtain” are also amusing.

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