Wednesday, 19 March 2008

19th March 2008

Builder Trouble


Well, not exactly a new trouble, but the same old problem. Last Monday the builders returned in strength (3 of them, if you count an old part-timer who does almost nothing and a brand-new apprentice). They came to finish the ceilings, fit the shower doors (although one door is still on order) and do the kitchen.

On Tuesday only one came back - good old Jean-Luc. On Wednesday Virondeau himself (the big cheese) returned after lunch with J-L to fit the new door (of course, I had no idea they were going to do that). With the door off on a cold day, I had no option but to quit the house, so went to Edward and Pat's for the afternoon, asking the builders to let me know when they had finished. When I came back at 5.30 they were still there, but now there was a pile of stones on the doorstep (the house is made of these stones). They left, explaining that Virondeau would be back on the Thursday to re-build the portion of wall he had dismantled to get the door frame in. This he did, but J-L was not there on Thursday (he had told me he was taking his son to hospital to have his wisdom teeth extracted).
On Friday morning both turned up again - Virondeau continued with the door and J-L put a plaque in the chimney over the wood-burner. When I returned in the afternoon, no-one was there. At 4pm J-L returned to do a little more on the door. Jean-Luc said he would not be here first thing on Monday as he had another small job, but would come as soon as that was finished - either later in the morning or in the afternoon.

On Monday he did not turn up at all; on Tuesday he did not turn up - same old story.... this has happened before ... so I went down to the office in Mezieres and asked Mme Virondeau if he would be back this week or not. She, of course, said she would have to ask her husband at lunchtime and ring me back. I told her I was not happy with the way things had been going - the shower door that was not there and so on, and asked why thing were not ordered when J-L had said he had done it. She said he had only told her last week and that the door, the kitchen sink and worktop were now ordered...BUT... they would be ready towards the end of April (as if this was good news!) I asked why J-L would say they were on order when they were not and she just shrugged. So I was not a happy bunny. In fact I was so frustrated I thought of driving to Paris, or Montauban, or England, but I in fact saw reason and just went to Bellac and had a coffee and calmed down.

But overnight I thought about it and decided enough really was enough and decided to finish the job with Virondeau ASAP as he just seemed to be stringing me along - each time saying work would commence and then taking the workman away for another job, and spinning out the time overall - initially he had said the whole job would be finished before Christmas! So, I got the services of a translator, who was waiting when Jean-Luc came over this afternoon. Between us we explained the situation. J-L was unhappy only at the fact that he was halfway through plastering the ceilings and didn't want to leave the job in that condition as he was proud of his work. I agreed (since that part was paid for anyway) and he said he would be the rest of this week) and next doing that. He agreed to fit a hot tap (everything was in place except the tap itself) if I bought the tap, and to cancel the order for the work surface and sink, and stop the work after the ceilings. So off I went to buy the tap.

On my return I found he had left the back door totally unlocked, my brooms outside the front door and everything in the kitchen moved around. I know he only did this to get to the ceiling for the plastering, but I found it rather annoying - especially with the unlocked door - as I had left it locked, and he had unlocked it to put a sack outside.

As he has taken all his tools, I am now not sure if he will be back tomorrow at all - although there is still some plaster etc in the dependances, and a stepladder and dust sheet. Hopefully he will return.

On the good news front (maybe) the wood man has rung to say the wood will be delivered tomorrow afternoon - although it is not the best time, as I have a French lesson in Le Dorat, and will not be here! I think I'll have to cancel the lesson, as 2 cordes of wood takes a couple of days to move, and it may rain.

If anybody else tells me that it is "all good fun" I will probably throttle them!

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