There’s something very satisfying about a new tool. It’s a very Man thing, I know but a new tool elicits an urge to be constructive, to do useful things occasioning the adulation of wives, girlfriends and others hopelessly inept when it comes to fixing things.
If ever you are stuck for a gift idea for a man (or a woman who wears sensible shoes), nip down to Halfords and buy a tool, any tool, so long as it is heavy and can be fondled. If it has ‘Chrome Vanadium’ embossed along its length, so much the better, Chrome Vanadium is to men as Agarwood massage oil is to women. No man could resist owning a 10" Chrome Vanadium adjustable King Dick, and a lot of women are impressed with what a man can do with one.The shop boy tapped on the door the night before last (finally, he has learnt to fear the consequences of just walking in) and explained that the locals were upset because they had no water.
‘Tough’, I said and parked the door sharply back in its frame.
Marcia had been incensed to learn the locals had bust yet another tap, meaning we had to cut the power to the pump and, in so doing, cut our own water supply in order to avoid a flood. I had been all for fixing it immediately.‘Marcia, it’s not their fault,’ I said unexpectedly diseased with a very rare form of compassion, ‘the taps are made in China so are designed to be opened once in their lifetime and only closed again at the end of it. The tap the locals use must have been opened and closed hundreds of times a day, no wonder it failed!’ And off I went to fix it.
I had a brand new replacement tap, my plumber’s tape and a positive mental attitude. What I did not have was my 32mm open ended spanner. Nor could I find my monkey wrench, or even my pipe pliers. I trudged back to the house and asked Marcia if she knew where they might be.
‘I lent them to the plumber last time he was here to do a job on the cottages,’ she said and then, seeing my expression and confirming what I already suspected, ‘he hasn’t brought them back?’ I figured it was a rhetorical question. Of course he hadn’t brought them back, he’d just been paid by Marcia to do a job and had then helped himself to a bonus worth several times as much in the form of my tools.Well, bollocks, I thought, fuck the lot of you thieving bastards, you’re either thick, dishonest or generally both! Fuck the locals and their bleeding water, fuck plumbers, fuck carpenters, fuck bricklayers. I was still only thinking all this, you understand, I have given up reasoning with Marcia in this way, she just gets annoyed.
So that was why the water was still off when the shop boy came to pass on the disquiet of the locals and why I banged the door in his face. I could have done something to ensure a supply at least to the cottage but I was buggered if I should do the ‘African’ thing of never maintaining, never fixing, just waiting until something breaks and then bodging it. They nicked my tools or, in Marcia’s case, just gave them away so fuck 'em, let 'em go thirsty, and dirty. I don’t mind washing out of a bucket hauled from the well and I can survive days on jammy Swiss rolls (no pots to wash up afterwards). Besides, I dug the well, I put up the stand pipe, I replaced pumps as they burnt out and refitted countless new taps and not once has anyone lifted a finger to help.
This morning França interrupted my morning tea to tell me some locals wanted to see me about the water.‘If they want permission to haul water out of the well,’ I said, ‘tell ‘em to bugger off.’ Times like this I really wish I hadn’t trained Charlie not to bite.
‘No, they want to see you,’ he said.‘About water?’
‘Yes. You should come, they want to give you a papagaio.’‘They want to give me a parrot?’ I echoed.
While enjoying drafts of tea I had been splicing manila rope for Alex’s swing, an activity for which shirts are not de rigueur so I pulled a clean one on and followed the lad out to the shop.
An hour later I had the new tap fitted and once again, water flowed out of the desert.
|My present from the locals. They call it a 'parrot' here. |
I guess in this environment it is a little less politically incorrect than Monkey Wrench.