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Rising to the occasion!
I was in our restaurant cum bar again yesterday (now there’s a surprise!). Louise, la propriétaire, has been having some renovation work done. The artisans she employed have been dragging their heels a bit of late though. Probably because she makes some of the best gallettes in the region. Lunchtimes always take a long time anyway here in France as everyone knows. In this case however lunch seems to start some time shortly after the men arrive for work and finish just before they pack up tools to go home again!
Suffice to say the floor in la toilette pour les hommes hasn’t been finished yet. Louise had decided back in the Spring that there was too much damp in the old quarry tiled floor. After consulting a surveyor she was told that it had nothing at all to do though with old Pierre’s poor aim after all. It was just a bad case of rising damp. The floor simply needed excavating and an impervious damproof layer put down before pouring new concrete and re-tiling.
The problem is the workmen dug out the floor about three months ago and they haven’t yet got around to re-laying it. Not a major problem of itself. At least it isn’t now that Louise has placed an inverted old wine case behind the door so that visitors (usually inebriated) don’t break their necks when surprised and caught out by the thirty-five centimetre drop to the exposed earth floor just behind it. It does mean though that the rim of the solitary urinal bowl is now a good metre plus above this temporary floor level.
Now I am quite tall but even I have to stand on tip toe to reach it. I can just about manage it though. Even when burdened with getting on for a litre of Louise’s best Claret.
So last lunchtime, when all the artisans had gathered in the bar for their customary three and a half hour lunch break, I thought it was about time I challenged them to ask when they anticipated completing the job.
“Mais oui, ce n'est pas un problème.” (Yes, but it is not a problem) answered Jean-Paul the builder in reply to my question. “It is so as to frighten the tourists!” he continued.
As Jean-Paul spoke, his brother Jean-Louis stood up. He raised himself up on tip toe and in the best imitation of a vertically challenged oriental gentleman I could ever have imagined, reached up to nose height with both hands then gripped an imaginary rim. Then, whilst pretending to peer over the edge into the bowl, he said. “Japanese tourist.”
I’ve finished tip-toeing now.
For the day anyway.