I think the Pottski family may be getting themselves a reputation with the workmen who service the houses in our compound. This morning when our friendly English-speaking manager called to inform me that after only 1 day our washing machine is now fixed, and that we can have it back tomorrow, I had to break the news to her that I had been going to call her anyway to ask if someone could come out to sort out the plug which was stuck in our bath.
Believe me when I say that I really hadn't wanted to stick my head above the parapet on this one, but the thought of putting the Boys in the shower (in the absence of useable bath) this evening and the carnage and mayhem that would ensue (if social services exist in Russia I have no doubt our neighbours would have been looking up the number on hearing the shrieks that would have been issuing from the shower-room) drove me to it.
I'm not sure that she properly understood what I was telling her however, because shortly after we spoke, yesterday's Mild-Mannered Foreman and 2 of the same workment arrived to deal with the hefty problem of removing the plug from the plug-hole. Yet again, I found myself listening in, in the hope I might understand some of what they were saying. Yet again, my fledgeling vocabularly let me down ('lemon', 'white bread' and 'fork' not featuring in their conversation apparantly), so I was forced to imagine what they were saying...
Mild-Mannered Foreman (looking, I may say, a little less mild-mannered this time): Heavy sigh. "OK. What's she managed to do this time? Let's get it over with."
Workman #1: "You're joking, right? We've been called out here to sort out this piece of crap bath plug? What are they doing using it in the first place, I'ld like to know. Has nobody pointed out the shower over the top of the bath?"
Workman #2: "Don't be silly, comrade. They're western imperialists, remember? Why take an economical shower when a bath using 5 times as much water will do? Somebody pass me a bucket, I need to get rid of some of it so I can sort it out."
Workman #1: "Again with the orders! Do it yourself. I'm going to crack the window so I can have a quick cigarette..."
Mild-Mannered Foreman; "How many times, Ivan? No smoking in the imperialists... I mean client's houses. Never mind that your coat smells enough to stink out the entire upstairs..."
Silence and wheezing...
Workman #2: "Somebody pass me the - oh, don't worry, I'll do it myself. There we go. Sorted. But let's keep talking a bit longer so we can make it sound like a tricky job that really needed the three of us. She's western. She'll never know. And get the manager to tell the silly cow that bathing every day is unhealthy."
Workman #1: "They'll never believe you. Just like that police officer didn't believe me that the vodka in my glove compartment was to use as screen-wash. Do you think her mascara suits, me, by the way? What? Don't look at me like that - we're going already? I just wanted to check out her eyeliner..."
Like I said; I really need to learn this language...