It seems that every conversation I have with our builder ends up in either laughter or confusion. So why should today be any different. He had been doing some welding and being a good employer I took him a drink. As I walked in he was rolling up some electric cable, looping it over his thumb and winding it around his elbow in the same way I remember my mother taking in her washing line. I placed his drink down and the conversation went like this:
Fabrice: Barry, do you have a long one?
Fabrice: I need a longer one.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that.
Me: What are you talking about?
Fabrice: I need a longer one for the electrics.
Me: A longer extension?
Fabrice: Yes, that’s what I said at the start.
Now that in itself could have led to any manner of unfortunate assumptions taking place, add to it the remainder of the conversation and you can understand why foreigners can get into trouble when restoring properties abroad. Now you have to bear in mind that as he’s half French, half Italian and quite a bit of his language is an amalgamation of the two languages, with a smattering of English inserted for good measure. This led to my misinterpreting what he said, and the words causing the confusion were Cavlo (amalgamation of cavo and cablo meaning cable) and Cavallo (horse).
Fabrice: Tomorrow, we need to get a horse
Me: A horse, whatever for?
Fabrice: We need it for the electric.
Me: Why do we need a horse for electric.
Fabrice: To make the electrics work.
Me: But a horse?
Fabrice: Yes, yes a horse.
Me: I don’t understand.
Fabrice: The electric goes around the house because of the work the horse does.
Me: Are you trying to tell me that to power the gadgets in the house we need a horse on a treadmill?
Fabrice: You really are crazy Barry.
Me: I’m crazy. You’re one saying we need a horse.
Fabrice: Tomorrow, I go to shop and buy switches and the horse to put inside the walls.
Me; Fabrice, do you mean, cable.
Fabrice: Yes, yes, tomorrow I fetch the horse.
I walk away shaking my head, as he says, Inglese molto (Italian) crazy man (English) je se (French) English very crazy man I know. No wonder things get confusing here in Casoli.