You’d have to be very handy at DIY never to need a tradesman of some sort on Mallorca. Although The Boss has surprised me many times by his ability to turn his former-office-worker’s hands to a variety of tasks around our country finca, we’ve had our share of visits from plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and various ‘técnicos’ coming to install or fix things. And, in case you’re thinking I’m being sexist here, not one of these workers has ever been a woman.
We’ve noticed one major difference between workmen on Mallorca here and those in the UK: the locals don’t seem to need to be fuelled by hot drinks to get going.
I’d opt for the coffee if I were you
When I lived in the UK, I always offered any visiting tradesman a tea or coffee. Nobody ever refused, although those spending any length of time in the property rarely wanted a second mug of my tea; someone once told me I was the only person they knew who was capable of making grey tea. And it wasn’t Earl Grey!
My first memory of a hot-drink-fuelled tradesman was Bob, who – on several occasions – laid carpet or flooring in my home. The first time I opened the door to him, he said good morning and, before he’d even stepped over the threshold, asked: “What comes from Brazil?” Slightly taken aback by this strange question, I mulled for a moment: “Coffee?” “Thanks,” said Bob. “Milk and three sugars please.” Our Bob turned out to be a constant joker, as well as an excellent carpet fitter.
A painter and decorator called Alan used to do a few jobs for me. He was a salt-of-the-earth character, good at his job (he loved decorating), and was super-trustworthy. Hearing his three-wheeled Reliant Robin roaring up the lane was my cue to switch on the kettle. Although I don’t drink tea (see above for the reason), I always had a large box of tea bags in the cupboard when Alan was due to start a decorating project. I’d make him the first one of the day and (for the aforementioned reason) he was happy to put the kettle on and make any subsequent cuppas he wanted. In volume terms he probably shifted more tea than emulsion.
Beware the Brits and their brews
It’s different here on Mallorca: we always ask tradesmen if they’d like a tea or coffee during their visit. And, without fail over the years, every single one has declined our offer. Could it be because they fear that Brits are going to serve revoltingly weak instant coffee, instead of the gutsy brew they’re more accustomed to in Spain? Or perhaps my reputation for making barely drinkable tea has spread…