When I moved to my apartment, I knew I’d have to have a new toilet installed; not only was the existing one blue, with a seat adorned with a photo of a pile of stones – zen style, but there was also an unpleasant smell, which no amount of bleach and disinfectant would shift for more than half an hour at a time. The wallpaper would have to go too; covered in motifs of bunches of lavender, even on the inside of the door, it was far too busy for the tiny room.
The first plumber, Kevin, recommended by Kieran’s friend Ludovic, came round; he recommended a good plumbers’ merchants, where if I asked for Fred and said Kevin had sent me, I’d get a discount. I decided to go for the “elderly person’s” option of a high loo, after all, you never know what’s round the corner. They didn’t have one in stock, it would be a long wait – 3 months!
Finally it arrived in August, two guys at the shop loaded into the car, from where Kieran unloaded it and brought it up to the apartment. I phoned Kevin; he’d be round soon. I phoned again a week later; he’d definitely be here before Saturday, so I stripped the wallpaper. Two weeks later I called again; he was very apologetic, he’d forgotten, but would call soon.
In the meantime I heard of a man-of-all-work who was working for a couple on the ground floor; they were pleased with his work and sent him up to see me. By this time it was only a few weeks till some friends were coming for a visit and I was beginning to panic a bit; Yves was happy to fit the loo, probably before the end of October, but definitely by the first week of November. Halloween came and went with no news, I messaged, but got no reply, then I bumped into the woman from downstairs, who told me that Yves was in Bordeaux all week.
With only two weeks to go, I called Ludovic and explained the situation; did he know anyone else? He said he’d call me back, but I must admit to being quite surprised when he did, just a couple of hours later. Was I at home? Yes. Great; Cédric would be here in 10 minutes.
Cédric turned out to be a good find; he came back the following day to fit the loo, finding out and explaining to me why the old one smelt so bad, then the following Monday he came round to do the numerous little jobs that I can’t do, involving plasterboard fixings to hang heavy paintings, shelves and a coat rack and drilling into hard concrete walls and ceilings to fit curtain rails and hang more paintings, amongst other things. I’d wallpapered the loo over the weekend and got up early on Monday to get it painted so that he could rehang the cupboard.
I’ve a lot of cleaning up to do, duvets and pillows to find and need a big shopping trip before Monday, but I think I’ll be ready enough for my visitors.