Sunday, 19 February 2012
Paddy the Drains
At the risk of sounding like Peter Mayle of "Year in Provence" fame, Mum and Dad are experiencing a bit of culture shock and don't know whether to find it exasperating or to laugh hysterically. The mad laughing gets my vote. The local workers and tradesmen are all very friendly, easy-going, ready with a laugh or a joke and are, so far, brilliant hard workers who always give excellent value for money. BUT!!! You try to get them to talk money, quote you an actual price or tie themselves down to anything like an agreement on cost or time deadline and you are a braver dog than me!
Bloke A will do his job and chat away to you, find out that you need something else doing and will tell you he knows just the bloke - best plasterer, carpenter, drains engineer or whatever in the County. He will send the guy round or bring him round and the three or four of you will walk round describing what you want doing. You will be re-assured that the job is no problem and he'll sort you out "one of the days". He won't say which day. He won't give you contact details. Ask him for any idea of the price and he'll smile vaguely, make eye contact with his mate but never you, and say "Ah Sure, we'll not rob you!" They will then wander round some more reminiscing about the house, jobs they've done for our previous owners (TK Min and TK Max), hop back into the van. Press them for a price and they'll say "Sure - we'll get back to you, so we will".
Thus it was that our dealings with the Poetic Plumber while we got mains water connected, led to us finding out about his mate, Paddy who handles the drainage gulleys and water-removal pipework side of things. Paddy the Drains comes equipped with JCB and appropriate skills, plus another fine line in the strolling around, re-assuring you the job would happen whilst in no way tying himself down to date, price or even the need to talk to you any more. PP brought PtD round a couple weeks back and as far as we knew we were waiting for PtD to phone and offer us a price, where-upon we'd scratch our chins for a while, say yes, and agree a date.
By last Friday afternoon we were about to leave site for the weekend, headed for the Silverwoods. Dad was beginning to wonder where this had all gone. We'd heard no more from Paddy. Had he decided a price and date? Was he even interested? Had he gone on extended leave? Dad was just about to phone the Poetic Plumber when the bloke rang to say they'd be round tomorrow (Saturday) to do the drains. Dad tried a bit of meek half-hearted protest (But... but... but We were waiting for a price.... We're not here tomorrow... etc) but it was all batted away. We'll know the price when we pay for the pipes. You don't need to be here. 5 minutes later a truck pulled up to deliver half a dozen lengths of drain pipe and all the junctions and fittings. This suggested to Dad, at least, that maybe they had already bought the materials and probably did know the price.
Ah well. No harm done. We left site finally knowing the price. We'd agreed to it even though we felt slightly out-manoeuvred. We are trusting the pair of them to do the drains on Saturday (yesterday) as per the yellow lines painted onto the ground by Sparks, gulleys all in the right place and so on. We will then also trust them to turn up and eventually collect the agreed money. We won't demand that we ever see Paddy again or that he talks to us so we can thank him and congratulate him on a beautiful, professional job.