Thursday, 14 April 2011

Eyes cast upwards ...

"Leonardo da Vinci was right: 'For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been... and there you will long to return'."

However we were looking up at seagulls and at my new guttering ...

I have a team fitting gutters to the house. Their approach to work is good, their timekeeping somewhere GMT+1

I have been meaning to fit gutters to the house for some time. I have been offered many types over the years and at different prices. Yesterday the quote was quite extortionate, but am well versed at the art of negotiation. It was quite interesting when they said the outside was 40 metres, and i said 25.5 metres.
We measured it using a 1metre galvanised gutter piece. Going 'round' the bougainvillea's it came in at 26 metres even after a recount.

The price was reduced by 50% when i picked up my bucket and walked away, and seems a fair price according to the neighbours. The only people cheesed off are a local expat, who said i should employ one of his mates. "The expats do a better job and are more reliable than the Albanians, Bulgarians, Chinese" etc.

I had news for him, I know from experience, and am no longer waiting for the reliable expat to call round for work. I listened patiently to the alcohol laced lecture, sorely tempted to remind him of the electrician, who nearly burned his friends house down ...

I rather like my approach to competitive tendering, and i cannot afford the expat approach (I have had a drink, am a bit busy at the moment) or stop for tea or beer breaks ...

The usual brief on working at height took place, they seemed surprised, when i wanted them to use a scala (Ladder) to access the roof. They preferred the use of an open window, and a climb over the balcony pergola, and razor sharpe thorns of the bougainvillia.

Similarity between the ex pat and the local (ish) tradesman:

Worker: I need a ladder, lend me yours
Me: I dont have one ...
Worker: How am i getting up there then ?

One expat said i needed to buy some steps, I said I did not need them - they did for their job. If they wanted to get paid, then they better go and get some - They did and i sourced another tradesman ...

So we used a ladder, naturally it was too short for the roof, but it made it onto a vacant neighbours balcony. Then from there across the street onto the roof. Not ideal, but better than the ladder on top of the ground floor pergola which was their first thought ...

I would say the eldest guy is a tinsmith, he was using tin snips to shape the metal, and soldered the joints by hand with a blow lamp torch. I can see he knows his craft.

The youngsters one is a son, both he and father sporting an impressive mop of curly hair. The other clearly a bit of a wide boy, they fetch and carry and manhandle the sections to the upper level. There is a Gypsy type woman around too, this must be the wife and mother ...

My neighbour was interested, and came to see what was going on. When they saw us talking and said they thought she was my wife. She ticked them off, saying we were just good friends and blushed ...

The roar of a blow lamp announced their return from their lunch break, and the downpipes being created from scratch from the sheet metal. Shortly followed by footsteps on terracotta tiles, up on the roof, just as junior went for a nap ...

An afternoon of banging crashing as hammer came into contact with metal ensued. Metal was shaped, crimped, joined and fastened to the wall with hand made metal straps. Not before some fun and games about how the pipes would be finished, and in my mind made aesthetically pleasing to the eye ...

Reinforcements arrived and visions of a 007 movie, where the mob made their influences felt came to the fore. However the work came swiftly to an end with a really good attempt to up the price, and extract some money for beer.

After a couple of minutes they gave up, and we all shook hands and that was it - job done.

I am pleased with the result but will view again with fresh eyes in the morning ...


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