The door leading to the front cabin on the boat has never rolled well so Craig decided to try to fix it today. He popped in the cottage to ask if I wanted to go to the hardware store with him. Home Depot and Lowe’s….with their gardening and housewares departments….hold some interest for me, but French bricos are pretty much warehouses of mundane man-stuff, so I declined and Craig jaunted off on his own.
With the bolts and rollers he wants to replace in hand, he was hopeful when he entered the Brico Depot in nearby Colombiers…..but his hope was short-lived and he moved on to Castorama in Beziers. He showed a helpful clerk the roller he wants to replace…..they didn’t have it…..but perhaps it’s at a nearby window company. The directions were good and the company was close….Craig easily found it….but they didn’t have the sought-after part either. Another business, Baures, was suggested. It was in another part of the city and Craig was given directions on how to get there…..in French, of course.
This time, Craig wasn’t as lucky……he circled about aimlessly until he saw a Baures truck in a repair shop. The shop was closed, but, hoping that this might mean Baures was nearby, Craig turned down each of the intersecting streets…..finding it nearby. It was a specialty supply center. Craig walked in and, ever hopeful, asked a middle-aged man behind the counter, “Parlez-vous Anglais?” “No” was the quick response. Craig showed the gentleman the wheel he needs to replace, saying it was for a window (“fenetre”). “Plastique ou aluminium?” Craig answered “Aluminum.” The charming gentlemen said that his house also had old aluminium windows. He looked through his catalogs saying that it could be any one of thousands of different types of wheels…..perhaps it would be better to put new windows in the house. When Craig told him the window was on a “bateau”, the man jokingly pulled his hair out and suggested that a boat chandlery might have what he needs. How Craig, with his limited French skills, carries on these conversations never ceases to amaze and delight me.
On his way back home, Craig passed a building with colorful nuts and bolts painted on it. Hoping to find the bolts he needs, he pulled in. This building housed a distribution center…..catering to large clients placing large orders. Craig walked in with the bolts in hand. “Oui” he was told…..they had these, “Combien?” Craig said he needed two. Just two? This wasn’t an order! (Uh, oh…..was it an insult?). Craig needn’t have worried, two bolts were placed in his hand…..no charge.
The best things in life, they’re free All of the good things Every one of the better things The best things in life, they’re free……Sam Cooke