A few months ago the building opposite our apartment was demolished. It was the ugliest building on our street and no-one was unduly disappointed. Now our street is home only to turn of the century immeubles and it’s character is all the better for it.
But not for the workman’s head!
As one can imagine, having a building site at the end of the street is not without it’s problems.
A month ago a group of workmen turned up and stood huddled just on the other side of the archway that leads to our carpark. They didn’t seem to be in any hurry to disperse but being deep in discussion lit a few Gauloises and began gesticulating wildly.
By lunchtime several had disappeared down the manhole to the side of our gate whilst the others gave advice, and I was delighted to think that at long last the nasty cabbage smell in our toilet was going to be rectified by a general clear out of the drains.
By the end of the day two 100mm bore tubes snaked their way out of the manhole spewing water onto the street whilst a smelly diesel generator coughed fumes. The building site had pierced the mains water pipe. It was touching 30° when we finally decided to close the windows.
Today, almost a month on, the green slime usually more at home on a rocky mountain stream has begun to grow on the edge of the paving slabs. We have come to love our inner city stream with it’s gurgling and splashing as it makes it way unhindered down the street. Yesterday, in the sweltering heat I was very tempted to go paddling!
In idle moments I try to calculate the quantity of water that has made up out stream. 2 x100mm bore pipes on full mains pressure, 24 hours a day for month. I remember the day I received a bill for 2,400€ for an underground water leak in my back garden, and wonder who will be paying this bill. But then I remember that I was let off my bill after a ‘nod’ and a ‘wink’ from one of my contacts at the water-board….
No one has been unduly concerned, and no-one has rushed to fix it, but that’s just the way of things in France. If you need a workman urgently, one will probably amble by in a month’s time. And just like the builder without the hard-hat, there are no health and safety issues about a river for a pavement growing slippery green slime.
It’s September, the rentrée, and a works van has pulled up. I imagine the pressure is on to get it fixed before the first big freeze. Anywhere else, and there’d be a lawsuit.
But until then we’ll enjoy it for what it is!