The electrician cometh

It is some time since the spotlights started to go out in Jay’s room and then in CC’s bedroom too.

When it got to the stage of one light left (yes we did try  changing the bulbs but that wasn’t the solution) it was time to call in an electrician. The yellow pages listed several nearby, in fact there is one at the end of our road but since he backed into Jay’s car a few months back I thought I’d avoid him.

I called a chap who lives a few miles away. He answered personally and said he’d come to do an estimate that afternoon. I was pleased but then I wondered why he had so much free time.

Anyway, he seemed to know what he was doing when he came to inspect the job. The problem was the spotlights which the previous owner dotted all over the house. It seems they get very hot but the ones in the bedrooms had been covered with fibreglass insulation AND also had wires over the top of them.  He claimed we had come very close to having a fire and he may well be right judging by the melted piece of aerial wire he showed me.

It was agreed that we would replace the spots in the bedrooms with ‘ordinary’ lights but the ones in the toilet and hall would remain and be protected by earthenware flowerpots!

“I’ll bring you the estimate tomorrow.” he promised.

Of course, he didn’t.

Four days later he turned up with an envelope and came in for a coffee to explain it.  He would put two lights in Jay’s and CC’s rooms (plus another in her bathroom) and just one in the guestroom. He suggested longlife low energy bulbs and I opted for bright ones – only 25w but they give the same light as 100w normal bulbs.

CC and Jay later found the low energy bulbs hurt their eyes because they gave out too much light and promptly replaced them with ordinary bulbs.

He agreed to come and do the job ‘on Thursday or Friday’ but I asked him to ring and let me know.

He rang on Friday evening to say he’d be round at nine o’clock on Saturday.

He actually turned up just after eleven with his son in tow. They worked hard and I get the impression it took longer than they had envisaged, climbing about on top of the bedroom ceilings among the itchy fibreglass.

When it came to turning off the power they asked where the control panel was. I showed them and asked if they had brought a torch.

“Oh, I didn’t think of that.” he said. (!!??)

Fortunately Bear told them there was another panel in the loft where they could turn off the electricity more selectively. (I didn’t know about that despite having lived here for 6 years.)

They were  hard at work after midday so I went to see what was happening. They were not finished as they still had to fill in all the holes in the ceiling where they had removed the spots.

Thye came downstairs for a beer and said they’d be back ‘tomorrow’ – i.e. Sunday!

This time CC and Jay didn’t believe they would be here at nine and stayed in bed. Of course, they came just after 9.30!

Lunch was cooked and stashed in the hostess trolley but it was getting on for half past one before they came down for an apero. They still hadn’t finished. One of the lampholders was faulty so they’d have to replace it and the plaster would need sanding when it was dry.

After a couple of pastis they left,  promising to be back on Monday “or if not, definitely on Thursday”  were his parting words.

They did not make an appearance on Monday so it’s fingers crossed they turn up tomorrow – but I’m not counting on it.


11 Responses to “The electrician cometh”

  1. guyana gyal Says:

    I had thought Peter Mayle was exaggerating about the tradesmen in France!

    No, I think he was writing from bitter experience.

  2. tillylil Says:

    The French workman are no different to the English ones. Broken promises and loose arrangements all round. So annoying!

    Oh I knew they were difficult to get hold of but I thought they stayed until the job was finished as a rule.

  3. BearNaked Says:

    I am so very very fortunate that when I married, it was to an electrician.
    And not only is he an electrician but one of the best do it yourself handymen around.
    His only fault is that he needs CONSTANT stroking—“yes dear, that is wonderful—no dear it is okay to repaint that wall that you feel is not up to your high standards.”
    I really am truly blessed to have such a man.

    Bear((( )))
    ps (and he cooks too)

    yes, you are lucky – but then, so is he to have you!

  4. Keith Says:

    As M. Collumbarnie said in Peter Mayles “A year in Provence” when he failed to turn up next day to finish the job, “C’est normalement”! (“Thats as per normal!”).

    You should be used to the French way of doing things by now!

    Everyone said that you had to expect that sort of thing if you had a job done ‘on the black’ but I was silly enough to think that if a job was done ‘officially’ you could expect it to be finished on time.

  5. Little old me Says:

    I am with tillylil on this one, a job that should have taken a week to do here, took a month. Only because the builders only turned up twice each week!

    Oh dear but I hope the job was done well – eventually.

  6. Richard Says:

    Oh Sandy, what a performance! All too familiar unfortunately 🙂

    Sounds like you’ve had similar experiences then Richard.

  7. canisfamiliaris Says:


    You know what the Chinese say?

    Many hands make light work!!!

    I think that was the punchline to a joke I have long since forgotten!! Perhaps one of your contributors knows it?

    derek x

    Yes, I think I’ve heard that joke but can’t remember it either.

  8. Pat Says:

    Not just in France – everywhere! We are at present halfway through the outside painting and haven’t seen the painter since our holiday. Silly us for going away and interrupting his flow.

    It’s a good job you didn’t stay at home for him.

  9. Susie Vereker Says:

    Hope it is finished soon! Made me smile.

    Thanks Susie. It is just about finished now. We jsut have to find some lampshades and – eventually paint the ceilings to cover the filled up holes!

  10. Sophie Says:

    Les artisans tend to be like that in France and us French all seem to accept it which probably lets them get away with murder and make things worse.
    My uncle is an electrician and he has so much work you literally have to nag and chase him to be able to have him stick to his diary! Same thing for builders… they see no problem in promising to come on one day and then only turn up a week later than the planned date (a week later is actually lucky!!)

    Oh well, it seems we were pretty lucky the job was finished so ‘quickly’ then!

  11. millie garfield Says:

    That’s the way it is in the USA too. They say they are coming at
    9:00am – don’t show up – don’t call – you wait and wait!!

    You are lucky if they show up a week later!! Oh and when they do show up – they need a part that they will have to order.

    It seem, it’s the same no matter where you live.

    Goodness, Millie, I thought things would be better organised over the pond. It obviously seems to be a way of life for tradesmen everywhere.

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