Thursday, 27 October 2011
I was chatting to the horribly young Valerio after he had delivered our wood for the winter when he happened to point out that he and his brother were responsible for clearing the snow from our roads (see above, that is him last winter). "Lordy" I said, "what a wonderful job, all that power and effect, master of all that you see, clearing a path for us humble peasants" in effect the usual nonsense.
"Don't you believe it" he said, "it's a bag of shit" and this from an utterly charming young man to whom you would only be too glad to introduce your panting, hormone-crazed daughter.
"So what's the problem Valerio?" I asked tentatively, expecting another volley of foul language.
"It's the others" he replied, looking over his shoulder. "It's dog eat dog in this business. We get €24 for every kilometer we clear. There are 28 kilometers in your parish and that sounds a lot but if we hit an obstacle, given that half the time we can't see where the road is, that can damage the blade. It's all hydraulics you see. Expensive stuff. Chains for our tractor tyres cost a fortune and we have to have them because the hills are so steep. Then there are the other bastards, one evening last year I tried to start the tractor but it wouldn't go because someone had poured a load of sand into the fuel tank. They want to steal our business you see. I'll swing before anyone takes this work off me. Bastards, all of them"
By then his lip had started to quiver. I paid him for the wood and wished him well.
Serious stuff, being a snowplough driver.