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