A problem arose in my new coastal residence as the French windows on the balcony were stuck. In this situation I am more than happy to engage a local tradesman to provide employment to the neighbourhood. I was duly recommended a fellow from a nearby town. He was by birth a Lancastrian and his accent was similar to David Lloyd, the ex-umpire and commentator popularly known as “Bumble”. He seemed to know his business, dismantling the pane and eventually freeing the lock.
He was a pleasant fellow, and inexpensive too, but he simply would not shut up. He took me through every detail of the window, much of which eluded me, then into a dispute with another man nearby, who accused him of doing the same job twice, in which no detail was spared. I explained to him that, in my experience, unless the work was shoddily done, a judge would normally take the worker’s side rather than the aggrieved party and the man was palpably honest, albeit insufferably garrulous.
He is returning to fix some cornerpiece. Having already heard most of his life story, from a blue coat at Pontins to a freelance engineer in double glazing, I shall ensure that someone else is around when this happens.