About six weeks ago I posted a piece on SFN asking if here were any roofers out there available at short notice to undertake our crazy project of removing 350 sq metres of tiles from the roof of our house in Provence, waiting while the team of insulators did their work and then replacing all the tiles and reinstalling seven velux windows. I was amazed to get even one reply.. although ultimately that team pulled out. But someone else on SFN saw the post and showed it to a young englishman who learned the building trade here in France and now runs his own building company north of Clermont Ferrand.
When David, Paul and Danny arrived that first evening, my heart dropped... they were all so young. But there was no going back on this giant leap of faith and my other half had no doubts that they would do a good job. We accomodated them and fed them breakfast and lunch, letting them make barbecues in the evenings if they wished to and of course the swimming pool was available for midday dips. Bit by bit our lovely house became a chantier with debris everywhere. The insulators came and sprayed their special insulating mousse and then the boys continued by attaching multi couche thermic insulation before beginning to replace the tiles.
The two round areas of roof caused many problems, but the boys were not to be beaten. As the project began to overun, I and several friends took a decision to start clearing up the debris, taking what we could to the local decheterie.(My other half conveniently had decided to go to England at this time so escaped all the manual work here!)Three stressful weeks and six boxes of PG Tips later, the job was finally finished and the boys returned home exhausted. For the most part it was a harmonious chantier apart from two hiccups... a problem between the French team and the English team, and the moment of delicate negotiation when David decided he had to ask for an increase in the price which we did not hesitate to agree to in view of the unforseen technical problems of round roofs.
I ask myself, where would we have found French team willing to work from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, willing to work until the job was finished even though it overran the 10 day estimate by 7 days.
The boys were brilliant and proud of their work and proud to be British builders. I know I can't advertise, but if anyone out there needs a good team for a building project, contact me and I will pass on their contact details