Monday, November 21, 2011


Sorry, I am going to sound like a spoilt princess.  I know it is difficult, if not impossible to entice tradesfolk to your abodes.  I know in the real world, you pay oodles for a job, wait for the expert to arrive, call again when he (usually he?) doesn't show.  Take another day off work waiting.  Mop the floor because the tap still leaks, or whatever.  Dear Reader, I sympathise. 

I loathe having tradespeople in my house.  We live in a managed compound where all the maintenance is laid on - rubbish bags in the bins replaced daily, light bulbs installed free of charge, grass mown, air conditioning serviced etc.  A householder's paradise eh?

I loathe having tradespeople in my house.  Did I say that already?  These gentlemen are very polite, obsequious even.  Terrified of the management.  Paid poorly by our standards but fabulously by theirs.  They  are far from home, living in barracks, discriminated against by shopkeepers and the authorities.  They usually get one vacation every two years.  They send all their salary home to support family and village.  I respect them and empathise with them, and I always try to be fair and kind.  (My son says my blog is shockingly racist but I don't mean to be.)

I loathe having tradespeople in the house.  I ignore problems for as long as I can stand it.  Then I give in.  Today is the day.

I have two gentlemen in my bedroom repairing the curtains - the rod is falling off the wall and the pull cord is broken.  They are  also fixing the sliding doors on my cupboard.  They were so stiff and unmanageable, eventually Marius took them off for me.  Well, no, they had half fallen out of their tracks and Marius rescued me, on two separate occasions when they tipped onto me.

I had the electrician in to replace light bulbs.  We have a window-less room upstairs with an overhead lamp carrying five bulbs.  Four of them had blown (see, it really was time to get the maintenance in).  The electrician also looked at the light in the stairwell, shook his head and said it will need scaffolding.

Because I keep the garden door closed to keep Macc and Ming in the garden (not Ratty and Wolfe) the gardeners don't usually come in.  I had to have the door open for the a/c men to get to the roof, so also arranged to have the grass cut.  The gardener swept the patio, tidied the garden, mowed and trimmed the edges.  He is very young and I suspect that he is homesick, poor chap.  And the pride of his family, no doubt.

I had three gentlemen servicing the airconditioning. Two are currently on the roof cleaning filters.  This has to be done every six weeks or so because of the dust.  Previously the three of them were in the kitchen, servicing the separate kitchen unit.  They had to take the grill, filter and hoses outside to clean.

I am sorry, this is where my complaint comes in.  The management says water is enough to clean the kitchen units, but because of cooking, they get grease as well as dust clogging up the works.  The repairman always asks for detergent to help clean.  Fair enough, I can supply a little detergent.  When he came back in with the gleaming unit I noticed something else - he was brandishing my dish brush!

Now it occurs to me I should have given it to him, to keep with his tools.  I am not likely to use it to clean dishes with, am I?

It feels like a seige, albeit self-imposed.  The four cats are locked up inside with me, each seeking hiding places from the scary men.   They are scary in their uniforms and big boots with tools and ladders and noisy drills.  Communication is difficult as few speak more than a word or two of English and I have failed to learn Tamil, Malayalam, Hindu or Nepalese.  But they are all gentlemen, polite, shy and trying to please.

No.  I withdraw my complaint and apologise for acting like a spoilt princess.  My only excuse is that I am shy.



Anonymous said...

Your son is a little harsh. I have not found your posts to be at all racist!

I concur that it is difficult having a lot of strangers in your home, even over here in good old blighty when we call for a plumber etc we are bewildered listening to them chatting - I don't speak Polish, Russian or Albanian ...

jabblog said...

Not racist at all - just observant and funny (men in nightdresses!) I'm with you on the workers in the house. I hate having people in to mend washing machine or tumble dryer or any of the other so-called labour saving devices. Fortunately, now Barry's retired I can generally leave him to deal with them and chat to his heart's content.

Jenny Woolf said...

Don't t hink your blog is racist, but he dividing line between racism and non-racism these days has been moving, and it is possible that we have not caught up with your son.

I'm sorry for these migrant workers. It's impressive how they partly sacrifice their own lives for their families. Probably some of them are PhDs back in Nepal, too.

Penelope said...

We could definitely do with a tradesperson or two around here, but we keep thinking we can fix everything ourselves. Most things work, but many oddly.