A mad start to the day. Furniture, books and ornaments cleared out of the ' snug ' and dumped willy nilly in the dining room. The builders said they'd be with us at nine. Two large white vans carrying four middle aged men finally showed up at ten thirty. Pretty punctual by the standards of most French artisans. The fact that this is an upmarket firm evidenced by the fact that each of them was wearing a monogrammed blue work coat. A definite cut above the bib overall wearing locals. By the time they'd shaken our hands, unloaded the van and worked out what they were going to do it was lunchtime. Off they merrily went.
In the afternoon their boss joined us. Monsieur Opulent. I gave him this name the moment I saw his large, spanking new, Mercedes estate car. How can you get such a sheen on your paintwork ? By charging double the going rate I silently thought to myself.
By eight , when they finally left, the attic boasted two large replacement beams. Substitutes for the rotten ones our surveyor missed during his pre-purchase inspection. With hindsight, Maurice, our supposed surveyor either had a wicked sense of humour, a loathing for foreigners, or a doctorate in charlatanism. His somewhat cavalier attitude to his chosen profession should have alerted us. On his tour of inspection he spent all of two minutes in the attic, announcing that it was ' just fine. Like Wyoming. Vast ,dusty, dry and empty '.
Wilf barked at the workmen for all of twenty seconds then set about the important task of christening the visitors tyres. All four corners of Monsieur Opulents enormous Mercedes estate received close attention. Well done Wilf. Today we start work on removing the staircase.