This message was originally sent to friends as an e-mail in May 2006.
If you’ve read the ‘dizionari’ message you’ll know about our early problems with light fittings ie not having many. We’d bought a sensor to check for hidden wiring etc before I’d started drilling in to walls. Well the sensor had just two controls; on and off but could I get it to work correctly? Nope. My son-in-law on a visit to us, reckoned the cabling was sunk fairly deep into the plaster work so it was still difficult to judge where to drill the fixing points. Bugger. So I had to call up a local electrician, Emilio and attempted to ask him to come and help us out. He didn’t parli Inglese and my Italian was improving poco a poco (slower than snail’s pace). I think we agreed he’d come on Wednesday at 1pm.
Well bang on the button at 1pm Emilio turned up, and on Wednesday too. Woo hoo, I wonder if the UN need any new translators? C was back in the UK for a flying visit so I was keen to surprise her with the work completed by the time she’d returned. C was later to surprise me with a real treat (behave) after one of my regular commutes to the UK. But back to Emilio. I showed him all the lighting points (mostly bare wires) and the boxes of fittings from IKEA. Don’t think he was impressed by my choice of English (?) units but what the heck. We chatted away as only two guys who can’t understand each other’s language can do. He obviously knew the previous vendors; we were coming to realise that most people in our region knew them. To be fair to them, they had left us Emilio’s phone number.
I tried to explain the problem I was experiencing trying to pinpoint the hidden wiring with the sensor. He smiled at me and put the sensor in a drawer. He then opened up a junction box attached some spare wires he had and pulled the new cabling through for the light fittings. Genius. He could track the direction of the hidden wiring by doing this and the first light fitting went up in 15 minutes. And then there was light. 11 to go.
I was little more than a distraction so I went to make a cup of tea. Emilio declined – it was a really hot day. I offered him a glass water or a beer and he just said ‘dopo, grazie’ – when we’re finished effectively. 3 hours later he’d done all the fittings – wired them, fitted them, tested them for power loading (we have a ridiculously low power supply – if the washing machine, hair drier and dishwasher are on simultaneously, everything trips). He went outside for a fag then came in to show me round his work – I was chuffed, mille grazie Emilio. He wasn’t up for a drink of any type but he was clearly warm from the work and I exlained that to share a beer was a very English blokey thing. He laughed and joined me. Mates.
So, it came for me to sort out the money stuff. I hadn’t really discussed a price earlier (like I could) and tried to guess what a call out fee and 3 hours electrical work, without tea, would be in England. £80 – £100 maybe? I had around 100 euros on me which might not be enough I realised. Anyway ‘quanto costa emilio?’. I thought he said 50 euros which, at £35, I thought was great. I was peeling off 3 x 20 euro notes to include a tip. But he shook his head and handed me 2 of them back and 5 euros of his own. He was charging 15 euros for his efforts. How good is that? What a place. I gave him a bit more of course and another beer or two. That’s what I call service and is typical of the place. No rip offs, no sharp intakes of breath just solid work done at a reasonable price and now I’m his free marketing agency!