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

Mercury Still High in Mallorca

It’s been a while since I put my fingers on the keyboard to write a post about our life here in rural Mallorca. We had visitors staying for a chunk of September and the first nine days of October, which meant we were spending precious time with friends and family we hadn’t seen for a long time.

When I last wrote, the weather was extremely hot. Guess what? For mid-October, it’s still pretty hot in Mallorca, with highs in the mid-to-upper twenties, and lows around twenty Celsius. When we have a night-time minimum of twenty or more here, it’s called a ‘tropical night’, and several places in Mallorca have recently had a few of these. No electric blanket yet for us.

Ladder or Laptop?

The fine weather is welcome because we have a decorator in at the moment: doors and windows can be left open to allow the aroma of fresh paint to escape. Our sitting room and the dining room were both well overdue for painting – mainly because neither The Boss nor I relished the prospect of climbing a ladder to reach the high ceilings. I’m not revealing any secret when I tell you that The Boss also loathes decorating. And although I find painting (walls not canvases) quite relaxing, I have an unfortunate history with ladders.

Our solution? A husband to rent. At least, that’s how Iesus describes himself. He’s not going to bring my early-morning cuppa to my bedside or listen to me cursing the dodgy thermostat on our oven (I have The Boss for those), but he’s available to carry out those household and outdoor tasks that we are unable or unwilling to do. In our case right now, that’s painting.

So, as Iesus (who is usefully tall) wields his roller on our bumpy, lounge walls and soaring ceiling, I am reacquainting myself with the laptop and bashing out some long-overdue words – intending to make some more progress on the sequel to my novel Daughter of Deià.

©Jan Edwards 2022

Brushing Up on DIY Skills

Painting persianas – the world’s most boring job?

I was concentrating so hard on my mission to remove seven years’ worth of built-up cal from a loo we’d never actually used (Mallorcan water is notoriously hard), that I didn’t hear The Boss come into The Den’s tiny shower room behind me.

“Er . . . I thought we were supposed to be painting the persianas?” He stood with his hands on his hips, wearing a quizzical frown – and a fine head-to-toe veil of dust, resulting from his labours with the electric sander and our exterior shutters.

Dividing the chores

When it comes to decorating, The Boss is head of sanding (the dust makes me sneeze and, besides, he’d never let me play with – sorry, use – the electric sander.  I’m the ‘lucky’ person who gets to wield the brush with bristle alopecia, and the treacle-like Spanish gloss paint.

Well, I’d finished painting the back door shutters and had been waiting for him to finish sanding the next set. With my brush sitting in a jar of white spirit, I’d decided to fill the time usefully and make some progress in the annexe we were trying to turn back into the third en suite bedroom it had been for the previous owners.

A word of warning if you’re thinking of living in an old finca: every job completed results in a new one (or more) for the everlasting To Do list. Not only did we discover that the door into the shower room was peppered with woodworm holes, but, on first flush of the newly gleaming loo, we also realised there was a problem with some of the twiddly bits in the cistern, and the water wouldn’t stop running. Twiddly bits were removed and the loo was once again out of commission for the foreseeable future.

A pair of newly-sanded shutters, moulting brush and can of gloopy gloss beckoned; plumbing and woodworm problems would have to wait.

A slightly different version of the above was posted on my previous blog.

Jan Edwards ©2009