Saturday, 22 August 2009

One oil-stain too many

Posted by Simon

Some English friends have asked if I can help them out filling in a large old pond in their garden. The previous owner had built it and - to put it politely - it was an interesting form of construction. A plastic liner was used, so were corrugated sheets plus various bits of brick and metal to keep the liner in place. Landscaped in the style of Steptoe and Son, I believe. So yesterday I arrived armed with the mini digger and made great inroads into filling in this pond. This morning I arrived and continued work, then BANG. The Hydraulic Ram which had failed a couple of weeks ago failed again. Rosie and I rushed back to the place where we'd had it repaired but with a Gallic shrug we were told that it was beyond repair now and we would have to get a new part. Can you order one for us? 'Non. C'est une pi├Ęce anglaise'. Great, this I really needed.

Anyway, Pierre, the neighbour of the people I was helping, kindly said he would look at the part and check if it all needed replacing or just the internal parts. Having nothing to lose, this afternoon I took the Ram over to him and he stripped it down. Well it was obvious that it had been repaired before, albeit in the style of Steptoe and Son. You see I had bought the digger from the man who had previously owned the house where I was filling in the pond. Anyway, these "repairs" didn't deter Pierre and having stripped it down to reveal the problem he set about fixing it. Did he succeed? Yes he did!! Would he accept any payment for this work? No he wouldn't.

So now the digger can continue to fill the pond that, thinking about now, it probably once dug out. I've got my toy back in working order but I do believe the T-shirt I was wearing today may have to be consigned to the rag-bin once and for all. For a recently mended washing machine that is one oil-stain too many.


  1. Ah, a sign of good honest work, a t-shirt that looks like that. But yes, be kind and lay it to rest now...x

  2. oh oh, what out France I'M COMING! Leave Ireland tomorrow for your shores; Brittany and Normandy you have been warned xx

  3. Have a great holiday Carrie - and if you are anywhere near us do pop in for a cup of tea and that slice or two of cake.

  4. Of all the things I've learnt in six and a half years here with considerably less money than I had before it is that things are seldom truly beyond repair! Well done for getting it nursed through once again.


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