A Tale of Two Tradesmen

Newly painted wall by tradesman Iesus

Having a tradesman working in one’s home isn’t always an easy experience. The carpenter who came to our finca in rural Mallorca not long after we moved here was a case in point. Grumpy doesn’t begin to describe this man, who came to fit some internal doors we’d bought.

I acknowledge it didn’t help that we had no electricity at the time for his carpentry power tools. This meant he had to use our portable generator – an unreliable piece of kit (it came with the finca) requiring frequent glugs of fuel to keep it running.

When the generator stopped working for the umpteenth time that morning, the man downed tools and stormed out of the house, spouting unfamiliar Spanish words. We heard his van door slam before the vehicle roared off, spraying gravel in its wake. He wasn’t a chipper chippy.

‘Will he come back, do you think?’ The Boss was worried he’d have to finish the job himself. He wasn’t the only one.

I glanced at my watch. ‘Well, he has left his tools, so my guess is he’s only gone out for lunch.’

Señor Carpenter came back after a couple of hours and his improved mood and cheerful whistling suggested he’d eaten well and had a good siesta. Perhaps he hadn’t spent his siesta alone.

We saw a return later to his morning mood. Sure that he’d want to sweep up the wood shavings that had curled on the floor around his feet, I brought him a broom and left it leaning against the wall, without saying anything.

He, however, did have something to say. ‘Sweeping is a woman’s work,’ he huffily informed me in Spanish.

A Very Different Experience

Our most recent experience of having someone working at the finca couldn’t have been more different. Iesus – the ‘husband to rent’ – not only did a superb job painting our dining and sitting rooms but also tackled some necessary plastering and external painting.

He worked quietly, tidily, and meticulously. In short, he was a pleasure to have around. Other than occasional brief breaks for a cigarette (he brought his own portable ashtray and smoked away from the house) and a cup of coffee when I made a pot, he worked throughout the traditional Spanish lunchtime. Impressed? So were we.

And as he tidied up at the end of one day, he asked me for a broom so he could sweep up the remnants of old plaster he’d removed from a wall.

No prizes for guessing which of these two tradesmen we’d happily employ again.

Looking for a Palma Bolthole?

If rural life isn’t for you but Mallorca’s capital, Palma, appeals as a place to have a second home, you may like to check out this apartment. Friends are selling it as they live in Mallorca full time and now want a home with a garden. Their apartment could be the perfect Palma bolthole for someone, so I thought I’d share this link.


©Jan Edwards 2022

5 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tradesmen

  1. Jan, this post really made me laugh as we always used Spanish tradesmen and it was hit and miss! I’ll let you know how French tradesmen are…. we finally move Friday! x

    • Hi there! Sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve been out and about for two days and only now catching up with the computer stuff. Sadly, I don’t. Back in 2003, we used an English guy called Andy to do some stone walling for us, but I believe he went back to the UK. If you’re on Facebook, I would suggest you join the group Mallorca Gardeners, where you could ask this and any other questions you may have. In the event you may not be on Facebook, I’m going to pose the question now and shall let you know if I get a response. Have a good weekend. Best wishes, Jan

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