Monday, April 30, 2007

Pole to Pole

The three Poles stand in a line in my bathroom. By this I do not mean that I am installing telegraph wires; I mean that there are three men from Poland standing next to each other. I was just making a pun on their nationality. Bob Monkhouse used to claim that he could make a pun on any nationality.

“Japanese?” someone not at all planted in the audience would shout out.

“Give a chap-an-easy one”, Bob would reply.

OK, so the Pole/pole one is not quite up there with Bob’s best, but no Japanese builders contacted us, so I have to work with what I’m given. The EU might like to consider pun-ability when it next votes on accepting new members. I could do something great with Turkey. If I were Hungary I would be Russian to get some. If Hungary were not already members.

The bathroom is tiny, and with me in there as well there is not a lot of room. It would have been better if they were just poles. If poles could tile and drink coffee with four sugars in.

ME: We were thinking of putting a concealed cistern in here.

POLE 1: Kjkćź kw łńkwzwv z ńżćczś.

(Note that this is probably not actual Polish – I am just pointing out the funny way that foreigners all speak.)

POLE 2: Vzwjkćtczćź kw łńkjlw v zńżś.

POLE 1: That is OK.

ME: And, er, perhaps put the shower here?

POLE 1: Wjkćtczć kjwl zńkpżś wćźt.

POLE 2: Złńkwzwv kz ńżćczś zjlk.

POLE 1: That is OK.

ME: Tile along this bit.

POLE 1: Zńkćź kwś łzjkwv z ńżćwcz.

POLE 2: Vkzjk wś łwvćcz zjk żćw.

POLE 1: That is OK.

ME: And perhaps a cupboard here?

POLE 1: Zkżćwv kz ńżćcz wz kwżćc.

POLE 2: Zkżćwv kz ńżćcz wz kwżćc?

POLE 1: Vzź kw łńkjlw wjkćtczć jkćź kw kwzwv złń.

POLE 2: Wjltnzć kjwl zńkpżś jkćtcz?

POLE 1: Wćwv żćkz ńż wz kw kwzw.

POLE 2: Zwjkćtcz jltnzć kjwl ńżśkp jkćtcz zćt kwzw zwjkćtczćź kw łńkjlw v zńżś kwś łzjkwv z ńżćwcz ćczćtcz jkćź kw kwzwv złńćcwjltnzć kwcz kw łńkwzwv z ńżćczś.

POLE 1: That is OK.

What was wrong with my choice of cupboard location? Does Pole 1 actually speak English, or does he just know the phrase “That is OK”? More to the point, where does Pole 3 fit in?

Just to reassure myself that there can be no actual problem with hiring builders on the basis of price alone I watch the episode of Fawlty Towers where O’Reilly’s men block off the wrong door, put a door in in the wrong place, then use a wooden lintel on a supporting wall.

Yes, it will all be fine. At least they were not Israeli. To make a pun about them is-really impossible.