Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is anybody in France 'normal'? Part 2

A while ago we wanted to put in a new kitchen. After a lot of looking we hadn't been able to find kitchen cabinets that we both liked & could afford. We got a tip on buyng standard IKEA kitchen cabinets then taking the doors back for a refund. You then could buy custom doors made or have them made. This started a new hunt. The doors you could buy were OK, but the quality wasn't much. Jacques to the rescue!

He had a friend who would make kitchen cabinet doors for us. Enter Gerard! Gerard showed us all kinds of different woods he could use plus a number of door designs. After much thought we choose some light oak as the wood & a fairly traditional design. Gerard then gave us a final 'devis' or quote. A good price & we'd saved a lot of money overall.

True to his word & schedule Gerard started showing up to fit the doors. His level of craftmanship was astoundingly good. As is our practice we gave Gerard lunch while he was with us. (our theory being that if the artisans stay on premises for lunch it will be shorted & more work will get done. In any case its good for our French.) As we got to know him it turns out that Gerard's true love is his falcons & hunting with them. The cabinet making is merely a means to make enough money to live on.

Gerard started bringing us small food presents. One time it was hare pate made from wild hare that his falcons had caught & that Gerard had made. Another time it was squab stuffed with fois gras. The falcons, again, having caught the squabs. Yummy stuff & a good friendship developed.

Just as he was finishing the kitchen (by the way he did a superb job, on time & on budget) he tols us that his male falcon had badly injured one of his talons & that it had become infected. This could have been a real tradegy as without a talon the falcon can't prech properly ot catch prey. Fortunately we had a tube of antiseptic cream from the states that isn't available in France. We gave this to Gerard & it did the trick. The falcon healed quickly & was as good as new.
So, if you want great cabinet making just find your Gerard & you may get a real bonus as well.

By the way we did go to visit the falcons & they are truely beautiful. Gerard's house is so far out into the hills that you need a diving rod to find it. Its nice to meet a truely happy man living the life he wants.

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