Le Plombier! The Plumber! 10 April 2013

We love our Paris apartment (even the 119 stairs to reach it) but it has had a small problem since we arrived. The shower was blocked and very slow to drain. If we were both very quick, we could get in two showers before it reached the shower door.

We emailed our hostess re this and she organised le Plombier via her mother who lives in Paris. He was to come yesterday afternoon and as we were in Troyes for the day, we were to leave the key with the concierge.

Hubby did get a missed call on his new Parisian number but did not know who it was from and was hesitant to phone back in case they didn’t speak English. I did say that it might have been le Plombier but was fairly certain that he wouldn’t speak English.

We returned from Troyes at 10pm last night and tackled getting the key back from the concierge. It seemed that she was out and her hubby was babysitting the children who were still up. He spoke no English, had no idea who we were, which apartment we were staying in and knew nothing about le Plombier. He asked if we spoke Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or a couple of other languages but sadly no English. With some miming we managed to convey that we wanted a key. He tried to call his wife while searching for our key and grappling with his toddler. After several keys we all breathed a sigh of relief when he pulled out ours!

We dragged ourselves up the 119 stairs and congratulated ourselves on getting the key back and looked forward to a comfortable shower in the morning. Then we noticed that not only had it not been fixed but it had got worse. This morning’s shower water had not drained at all! Gros probleme!

We checked our email but nothing from our hostess. We emailed both her and her mother updating them.

We checked our email first thing this morning to see if we had a response from them. Pas de reponse.

We thought about it a bit harder and realised that it had been a while since we had received an email so phoned home to make sure that our email programme had not been opened on the home computer.

Sure enough, the 9YO had been bored when talking with us via Skype, so had opened our email and left it open. All of our emails were downloading at home which meant that we were not getting them. My father-in-law went through them and sure enough there was an email from our hostess’ mother from the afternoon saying that le Plombier had tried to phone us but our mobile number was invalid and the concierge was out so he had to return at 8am this morning.

8am this morning! That was 20 minutes away! I don’t know why but my first thought was to have a shower and make myself presentable. I grabbed a coffee cup and started bailing out the shower before mopping the remainder up with a towel. I then jumped in the shower and tried to wash my hair. I was in such a hurry that I confused the shampoo and conditioner and had to start again. By this stage I had to yell for hubby to come and start bailing the water out as it was rising rapidly. He bailed valiantly but I had to give up and get out. We then emptied it enough for him to have a quick shower.

He was just out of the shower when we got the knock at the door. I panicked as I didn’t want le Plombier to go away and I didn’t know how to say that I ‘would be just a minute’. I had half my underwear on and grabbed the biggest thing that I could find – my trench coat! Hubby had only a towel around him by this time so I had to answer the door in half my underwear and a short trench coat! It was a young le Plombier who was beside himself by the time he got past me then found hubby with only a towel around him coming out of the shower. I still didn’t want him to get away though so encouraged him to stay and showed him the problem.

Meanwhile, I grabbed some clothes and headed to the living area and got hubby to stand guard at the door so that I could get dressed. By this time he too was dressed.

After a bit of time le Plombier cautiously emerged and signalled me to come and look so that he could prove that the water was indeed draining now. Merci! That was great. Then he came back out with a handful of hair from the drain and was obviously feeling more comfortable because he tut tutted me. I don’t think that my ‘not me’ covered the fact that we had only been here two days and the problem was obviously caused by the previous guests of which there had been many. He was pleased with himself and departed.

We sat down and contemplated why we hadn’t waited until he had been to start having showers… Hubby also wanted to know why I hadn’t answered the door to him dressed like that…

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