Plans for the beach were scrapped this morning when the phone rang and the electrician said he could come at 3 pm today to look at the work we want doing around the outside of the house . There are two key people in your life in Puglia that are essential to easy living. One is an electrician and the other is a plumber. Both are rare endangered species and good ones are like gold dust. There are many impersonators who claim to be experts but when you find one of the real things you know it immediiately. These are guys that walk into the house listen to what the problem is and fix it instantly.
When we first arrived we made the mistake most Brits make, we turned to the British plumbers and electricians who haunt the various expat forums and play on the language issues and years of ” proper” electrical or plumbing experience back in Blighty. But quite quickly we realised that Italian electrics and plumbing requires Italians to fix it. They know their way around and know how it went together to start with. They are also in the main cheaper than the English stand ins, more reliable and harder working so there is really no contest except they speak not a word of English . It is therefore up to you to learn enough terminology to be able to have them understand what you want and more importantly to understand what it is they are going to do to fix it.
Once you get a good one you hang on to them for grim death and you tell no one of their existence. They become like the Pimpernel !
So the phone call this morning changed our day and we waited for the arrival of the man I dare not name. Nor dare I photograph him as others down here reading this post might try to find him and steal him away. That is how rare the good ones are. Our previous one was magic but decided to leave the job and open a restaurant. We were almost desperate after a few months and spent hours in his restaurant in the hope he would at least visit us on his day off but he refused. Luckily the daughter of a friend around the corner started to date a guy whose father was a brilliant electrician and the son was happily following in his fathers footsteps. Dad still comes along and sits on the wall and offers advice to the son while he works. The dating is leading next month to a wedding. Whoops that is almost too much information !
Our plumber is also great. His mobile is on all the time and he and his guys work hard and effectively .
We had house guests last summer and they found the Italian driving aggressive nor were they happy about the lack of English in the shops, restaurants and bars. They had never come across it before in ” civilised ” Europe and had assumed we were exaggerating so the holiday was not going as they planned . The husband and I had been for an early Sunday morning walk and he had again been bemoaning the inability of these “wretched Italians” to not have bothered learning an ounce of English . Damn it Mike don’t they want our business” he shouted as he stomped off to his shower room. Fish and house guests I was unkindly thinking as I went to my shower room . So two minutes later when the pump bringing the water up from the rainwater gathered tank stopped working I waited in some trepidation for the explosion which came quickly . It appeared he had soaped up and got the shampoo into his hair just as it stopped. I went to my phone realising it was 8.50 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I phoned the plumber and got through straight away. I explained briefly the problem and he said you won’t believe it but I am just going past your house see you in two. And with that I saw his white car come down the driveway. The house guest sitting in his towel with soapsuds looked incredulous. He had been loudly expressing doubt of any Italian turning to on a Sunday etc and here was the plumber four mins after his shower stopped . I could have hugged our man. He removed the vacuum tank on the top of the pump borrowed a bike pump and pumped some air into it. Screwed it back on and said his guy would be with us at 11 to do a proper job with the right pressure etc. The pump roared onto life and the house guest dived into the shower.
Over drinks later he asked me how much was the call out fee over here ? In the UK he paid £300 on a Sunday but mainly no plumber would turn to on a Sunday for any fee. No fee, I said, nor will I get a bill for such a small job. I’ll buy him a beer this week in the bar and that is exactly what happened. As I said when you find one you hang on to him and before you ask I am sorry but I have just forgotten our plumber’s name !!