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Translation progress and Luxembourg Welders

Not much to write about of late. I got an extension to the end of the month for my translation. Lorraine started proofreading after she got back from her visit to the UK and some of it was really rather poor. It seems that I had overestimated the quality of the first draft, so that on my second read through I was only really looking at the original if I thought the English sounded funny or didn’t read well. So, from Chapter 6 on, my second read through became more thorough.

By the time I’d completed the conclusion, Lorraine was almost finished Chapter 1, so I went back to Chapter 2 to do a third read through, so that Lorraine’s proofreading would be quicker. It seems to have worked and I know that, after completing my third read through, I’ll be ready to send it off at a push and we’ll see how far Lorraine can get in the time that’s left.

I’m now on about half-way through the third read through of Chapter 4, so only Chapter 5 to go after this and then back to Chapter 1 to start looking at Lorraine’s revisions.

Other news – we had a run in with the landlord yesterday. He’s such an arsehole. Part of the mechanism on the ladders up to the attic broke before new year. After hunting high and low for a new part (which, in Luxembourg, is so frustrating a task as almost to be worth not even attempting), we came clean with the landlord and asked him to get it repaired. So, he got one of his cowboys to do a little bit of spot welding and we put it all back together again. It held for a couple of days before the weld fell apart, as we suspected it would.

So, we decided to find a proper welder ourselves. And here’s some Luxembourgishness for you: we called the welder on Friday to ask what was taking so long (he’d had the piece since Monday). He said he’d finished it the day before and would call later. Of course he didn’t call later, so I figured we’d get it sorted out on Saturday (his shop is a mere 5 km away). Lorraine called on Saturday morning, only to discover that, true to Luxembourgish tradition, he didn’t open on Saturdays (the shops here tend to close whenever people are not at work, e.g. the bakery, which sells sandwiches, pastries, salads, etc. closes at lunch time – you get the picture). He was also closed on Monday morning (another Luxembourgish tradition) but agreed to pop round with the piece when he could. He arrived around lunch time with the piece and handed us a bill for 120 euros. You could’ve knocked us down with a feather. It turns out his hourly rate is much higher than mine and Lorraine’s, so all that post-grad education we got was obviously a waste of time when we could simply have bought some welding gear and moved to Luxembourg much earlier than we did. Silly us.

So we tried to get the landlord to pay and he was for none of it. Apparently, the piece broke because we’d used the ladders too much. Huh? So the building is what, 17 years old, but it’s falling to pieces only because there are people living it and using it. I see; we should stay sitting in the middle of the living room floor, not using any doors or plumbing or gas or electricity and pray that our weight on the floor doesn’t cause any unnecessary wear.

We finally got him to agree to pay half, but think of blood and stones and you’ll get an idea of what it was like.

This has been the straw that has really got us determined to leave this sad, sad country. We’ll see how it works out.

Oh yes, and on Monday we got a call from the DIY shop to tell us that they had just ordered the replacement piece that we asked them to order TWO WEEKS AGO and will be here by the end of the week. Cost? About 25 euros.