Today Jean Pierre, the plumber, arrived to install a new hot water tank. Sometimes you hear horror stories of French artisans who never arrive when they say they will or leave a job half finished. Fortunately, in our experience, they have always turned up promptly and carried out the work in a very efficient manner.
The water tank is replacing the enormous old one installed about 25 years ago. It lives in the downstairs utility area (at the bottom of the pigeonnier that may have once housed a pig) and is accessed through a hobbit door; unless you are under four feet tall you have to duck. Paul and I do this automatically but I was very worried about the safety of Jean Pierre, perhaps I should have made him wear a hard hat.
Poor chap almost had a heart attack when he inadvertently set the fire alarm off whilst soldering the pipes. Apart from that the installation was carried out without mishap.
Philippe, our neighbour, came round to investigate the activity. He rubbed his hands with glee and asked Paul if he could have the old tank. “Bien sûr,” Paul replied. That will save us the cost of the plumber having to dispose of it.
Philippe never throws anything away. There is a veritable scrap yard at the side of his garden. I suspect he has plans to build himself a still. In fact he has shown Paul the printed plans of such a project. At the moment he takes his plums and pears to a local distillery to undergo that magical alchemy that transforms them into a very potent eau de vie.