An inescapable fact of being alive is that at least once in your life you will need to ring a plumber. Whether it’s to sort an incessant drip or replace an exploded boiler you are going to have to call a man in a van. Well, back home anyway. Here the situation is slightly more complex…or easy…it depends which way you look at it.
First of all you have to find one. If you live in a compound or apartment block then there is usually a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none living on site. If you don’t live in a complex then you would usually ring your landlord – like I did recently. We needed a new boiler in the kitchen. Mucky plates and soiled glasses were building up and the smell was intolerable. I explained to – lets call him Bob – that I needed him to send “the man” over here code red. He assured me that his “finest plumber” was saddling up the Batmobile right now and he would be there instantly.
Three days went by and I was beginning to think that the Batmobile didn’t really exist. I called Bob again to ask if he could shine the bat light into the night sky to summon another plumber. He agreed and assured me that the next one was on his way. Moments later the doorbell rang and two slightly confused looking men then entered the flat. I pointed to the boiler saying “this one khallas finish”. The leader stroked his chin sagely and then proceeded to shout very loudly at his apprentice in what I assume was Urdu. They then left.
Three more days went by and not a word. I called Bob once more and explained that two technicians had come to appraise the troublesome boiler and when could I expect a solution. He seemed upset that I had the nerve to question the methods applied. Nevertheless I won the argument and soon enough another two plumbers turned up. They stroked their chins, nodded their heads, shouted at each other, and said they would be back the following day at 10am and left.
Later that day whilst at work the phone rang. I couldn’t make head-nor-tail of what the chap was trying to tell me but judging by his tone I assumed he was warning me that the end of the world was happening in about 5 minutes. I put him on the phone to a colleague who shared the same lingo and as it turned out they were outside the flat ready to effect repairs. I was undecided whether to be happy that they were prompt in trying to sort it or angry that they had completely misled me on the ETA.
I shot home to let them in but couldn’t help but notice all they had with them was the new boiler itself and a plastic carrier bag; apparently this was their tool kit. They soon began their acrobatics. I was watching these two lads balancing on a slippery wet kitchen counter top, bare foot using nothing more than an ill-fitting spanner and a shoe lace to hoist the defunct unit down. Amazingly they did it in no time, and the new one was up in a trifle.
The Health and Safety Executive would likely suffer a massive coronary if he were to observe such work ethics but the job was done in no time and they went on their merry way to tackle their next plumbing adventure. I walked back into the kitchen to take the new beast for a trial run only to realise what an appalling mess had been left behind. I considered chasing them both down with a golf club but realised that in the grand scheme of things it was a small price to pay.
In the UK it’s fine to call a Corgi registered man in a Transit, the job will be done and he’ll clean up after himself but you will have to pay a fair amount of moon pie for 100% satisfaction. Here, 2 men, a shoe lace and a plastic bag will do the same job to an interesting standard but at least they won’t drink all your tea.
The mess they left behind? No matter, the washing up has to be done anyway, and I’m saving that for the first 2 guys who never came back.