There are two types of people in France, I’ve decided, and this couldn’t have been more clear to me than today. I’m returning to the UK for a brief visit in the near future and it looks as though the weather could become a bit more unsettled than it is now while I’m away. As I lost a couple of ridge tiles in high winds a few weeks ago, it now appears that I need to do the repairs before I go rather than when I return. One of my problems is that everything to do with my roof dates back donkeys years, but I thought that I’d try my luck anyway at the Point P builders’ merchants in Montignac before casting my net further afield for the ridge and roof tiles that I need, as they’ve managed to come up trumps so many times in the past.

When I walked in carrying a sample tile off my roof and the dimensions of the ridge tiles, the lady who usually helps me was tied up with other clients, so she directed me to one of her colleagues. When I showed him the ridge tile dimensions he pursed his lips and said that they had nothing like that, and moreover, they couldn’t do anything until at least September because they’ll soon be closed down for summer holidays for the whole of August. When I showed him the roof tile that I’d taken with me, he was looking at it and was just about to say what a hopeless task it would be getting anything like it, when Mr Can-Do walked in.

He was either the branch rep or manager, and it was like turning on a light switch. When he saw the roof tile, he grabbed a product catalogue, began to look through it and called up someone who he knew specialised in ancient designs. Unfortunately, they weren’t available but he promised to let me know one way or the other by tomorrow morning. While he was talking, the other chap sneaked out of the door and when I then showed Mr Can-Do my ridge tile dimensions that the other guy had said they couldn’t help with until at least September, he said that they had them in stock in the yard and if I gave his colleague the reference that he then wrote down, he’d show them to me.

So what a difference! Sure enough, the ridge tiles were close enough to what I needed and I ended up buying half a dozen for the princely sum of 8€! So now at least I’ll be able to make my roof watertight before I leave for home and the roof tiles can wait until I get back. If only there were more like Mr Can-Do in France, I suspect that their economy would not be the basket-case that it now is.

I checked up on the manufacturer of my roof tiles on the internet when I got home. It would appear that the factory started up during the 19th century and probably closed between the wars, so it shows how old the roof on my house must be. The only references that I could come across were for a museum of ancient industry that’s now on the site, so I guess that I shouldn’t hold my breath hoping that the style of tile that I need will turn up – not new, anyway.

But who knows. Maybe Mr Can-Do will be able to put his hands on a few 😉