Mr Cretino’s Family Tree

Last year I introduced you to Mr Cretino; he was the wonderful character who exchanged my UK driving licence for an Italian one and it only took him 8 months!!! Not bad for Italy. I have forgiven and almost forgotten about him.

However, yesterday when I went into the local plumbers’ to buy a replacement part for the toilet in our new house, the horrors of the driving licence fiasco came flooding back and flooding is an appropriate word.

It would appear Mr Cretino has a son; we shall call him Mr Cretino Jr.

Mr Cretino’s Family Tree

I met him when I drove down to the local plumbing merchants to buy a new plastic widget for the flush of the toilet. The beginning of my troubles started when I turned on the water at the new house and created a minor tsunami in the upstairs bathroom. Nobody panicked when it happened, mainly because Mrs Sensible wasn’t there to watch the water cascade down the staircase and I was in the cellar turning on the water main and deciding how much wine I could store down there and would Mrs Sensible bother venture down the cold, dark, damp staircase to keep a tally of my wine stash the bottles of wine I planned on keeping solely for when guests arrive.

There was just a bit more water than this

There was just a bit more water than this

Anyway, after running around the house like a headless chicken, and mopping the bathroom and stairs I drove down to the Plumbing merchants to buy a replacement widget. Had I known the assistant was the son of Mr Cretino, I would have simply stuck an out of order sign on the bathroom door and told Mrs Sensible it was beyond repair and she would have to use the other bathroom.


Do not enter, minor flooding possible.

Do not enter, minor flooding possible.

So using my bestest Italian, it went something like this:

PN: Ciao

Mr C Jr: Yeah yeah, wait a moment.

PN: Ok no problem.

Mr C Jr: What do you want?

PN: OK, That broken, erh, not function good, change for new please.

Mr C Jr: What?

PN: Look, No stop water. This broken!!! Change for new, please.

Without this plastic widget, I would never have met the wonderful Mr Cretuno JR

Without this plastic widget, I would never have met the wonderful Mr Cretino JR

Mr Cretino Jr, picked up my little plastic widget and turned it around in his hands, he made a lot of sighing noises and said “Nope sorry, we don’t sell these”

I was devastated, Casale is a small town and this was the biggest plumbing merchants in the town. They had shelves and shelves of taps, tools, bits of plastic, kitchen sinks and to be honest I am sure they had one of my widgets or at the very least a set of seals for my widget. So I tried again.

PN: OK, This black, you have? I said as I pointed to one of the little black seals.


Please tell me you have these little black seals... Please

Please tell me you have these little black seals… Please

Mr C Jr: Nope, we don’t sell them either.

It was at this point that I realised whom I was dealing with. It wasn’t that he looked like Mr Cretino; for a start Mr Cretino was bald and this guy not only had a full head of hair, he also had a beard, maybe he got his looks from his mother.

Did Mr Cretino Jr get his looks from his mum?

Did Mr Cretino Jr get his looks from his mum?

While Mr Cretino Jr watched me reassemble my widget, I was suddenly struck by a great idea.

PN: (Holding the little plastic widget up in front of Mr Cretino Jr’s nose) You have similar, but a bit different?

Mr Cretino Jr: Of course we do!

He walked off down the corridor of shelves and returned with a shiny metal widget.

When he handed me the widget, I was wondering whether to give Mr Cretino Jnr a gift of my old plastic widget, maybe not in his hand but somewhere that would require a gifted surgeon to remove it.

Nurse stop  sniggering.

Nurse stop sniggering.

51 thoughts on “Mr Cretino’s Family Tree

  1. Hahaha I actually looked up in google translate to ensure cretino in Italian is the very same word as it is in Spanish (of course it is). Sorry about the bathroom flooding (even though you had me in giggles) and at least you got the widget at the end! 🙂


      • You’re so handy 😉 When my washing machine broke i.e. my knickers exploded it, and it flooded the whole apartment, I called my ‘house manager’. He made me hold the washing machine in the air, while he looked underneath it. My arms buckling a bit, I said ‘Oskar, you must really trust me to hold this thing over your skull’. He came back out again, declared he had no idea what the problem was. I asked what the next steps were. Latvian shrug. The nightmare continues 😉


  2. Mind you it’s no better here – I cannot persaude facilities to fix the broekn loo in the office. They seem incapable of understanding that it is an intermittent fault… also excellent use of powerpoint graph there..


  3. I’ve been here 10 years and, based on extensive research, I can advise you that the Cretino family have a strong tendency to get work as Post Office clerks or to work in the Comune or in the public services.


    • It is amazing isn’t it. DO you think it is on the application form?

      Can you be unhelpful?
      Can you pretend not to understand Italian or English?
      Are you a member of the Cretino family?
      Can you loose paperwork?
      Can you interpret the rules differently each day?


  4. P.N’s back! (MM hops around kitchen with big grin slopping her glass of water everywhere. Yes, water. It’s lunchtime.) This was great fun to read – I was starting to miss your usual inimitable style.
    So Mr Cretino Jr sounds like a typical example of the lesser spotted lazy git, a species that is rife in the South of France and has no doubt emigrated to more wineful (-nice word, huh? I just invented it-) climes. When you ask for something, males simply grunt “no”, whilst females have a more complex response which involves physical response (rolling eyes) before looking at French manicure and sighing: “everything we have is on the shelf”.
    The more successful members of this species acquire civil servant status and work at the reception of the local Préfecture to guard the evil Queen Cerfa’s tribe of rubber stamp-wielding minions.


    • 2 questions for you MM..

      1) Water at lunch time? Are you ill?
      2) Why do the Europeans (I exclude the British) love rubber stamps. it must be some type of rubber fetish. Thanks for the nice welcome back, I have been a little busy lately. Oh by the way, this was my 97th post. I am working on the next two posts and then maybe something different for my 100th. Will I get a telegram from the queen? I wonder.


      • MM drinks water at lunchtime because she would like to hang on to the clients who entrust her with their documents. Although being squiffy would admittedly give copyediting a little “je ne sais quoi”… could be risky business.
        Gosh, exciting. We will have to produce a 100th anniversary rubber stamp for the occasion. We could ask James Bond to walk you through your house with Scooby Doo and Gilda the dog. Hmm. Must find you a little A line dress and a grey permed wig.


        • I had forgot about the scabby cat. We have weened him off the garage and we will see what happens on the day of the move.

          I have the legs for a nice A line dress 😉 lol

          A loooooong time ago I got very drunk at a party and allowed an equally drunk hairdresser to perm my hair, never never again.


  5. I can confirm that there is definitely a geometra or two in the Cretino family, and definitely a few builders too. In fact, if they weren’t such *insert appropriate swearword here* they would probably be quite a useful family to know!


    • They seem to stretch all across Italy and reading the comments he seems to have family across the whole of the world. I understand the English part of his family found jobs as traffic wardens.


  6. I will tell you that at least one member of the extended Cretino family works for the personnel department for the state of Washington, USA. Nearly five months since I retired and I’m still fighting for one of my benefits.
    Yes, it’s good preparation for my eventual move to Italy.
    So good to have you back Signor P.N.!


  7. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    I think they changed their surname when they emigrated so that they blended in with the ‘normal’ population, but you will recognise them as soon as you meet them.


  8. They are indeed everywhere. The ones I’ve been dealing with are the wives and they go by various names. I’m sure we have all of us met a few of them in our lives….with or without rubber stamps.

    Here’s hoping Scooby does well with the move. I think I’m growing cats as I have a few that are sleeping in the flower pots on my patio ….the ones that don’t have flowers yet. At least they are prettier than dirt. And luckily…most of them are mostly black.


    • Hi,
      They do like their rubber stamps don’t they. I don’t think Italy could function if rubber stamps were abolished.

      Scooby was attacked by a tick. We managed to get rid of it but poor Scooby now has a small bald patch on his head, he now looks a bit like Prince Charles. Can cats have a hair transplant? Maybe we could ask Gilda the short legged but incredibly fat dog to donate a tuft or two.


      • That would be an interesting color combination from what I’ve seen of the pictures of Gilda. I think Scooby’s fur will grow back. Wonder if HRH would appreciate the comparison?


        • I thunk Scooby would look cool with a brown or black mohican, the feline punk rocker. I am not sure HRH would approve of the comparison. I will try to pin Scooby down and take a picture of his poor bald spot.


  9. He he he he he, this was really funny to read about. Of course it was not so much fun for you, when the water created a river, but anyway…. 😀
    Here in Spain you also need to be creative, when you ask for something to buy of small parts.
    I think this family is enormous.


  10. Sorry, but it seems to me that this situation was entirely of your own making. Not the water problem – you cannot be held responsible for that, but the fact that you didn’t clearly explain to Mr Cretino from the outset that you would be satisfied with a part similar to but a little different from the broken one. As it was you traumatised and belittled him by asking him for a part he didn’t stock. A salutary lesson for future dealings with Cretini.wherever they may be.

    Very funny story to read about. 🙂


    • Sorry for the late reply, but my internet is a bit poor at the moment. (Just a small problem of living in Italy) I know it was all my fault, I should of known better, next time I will send Mrs Sensible.


  11. This had me literally howling out loud with laughter! Did you know Cretino is a very common surname in Sicily? There are some whole villages where over 70% of hte population are Cretinos. And lots and lots of them are in politics.


      • Oh, I htink the Cretino family breed like rabbits because you find them just about everywhere.
        I had a conversation with a Mrs Cretino at a baker’s in greenwixh, England last summer which went like this:
        Me: Can I have a loaf of bread please?
        Mrs. Cretino of Greenwich: Would you like brown or white?
        Me: (not really bothered) Oh, I’ll have brown please.
        Mrs. Cretino: No you can’t have brown. We’ve only got white left.


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