A few days ago, I was surprised to see a sign in our little street indicating that it would be blocked at one end of the crescent, because of a construction project.
Further investigation provided the details. And the exercise reminded me of two interesting facts of life here: the difficulty of replacing a roof on one of Daglan’s old buildings, and the bizarre French habit of providing immense detail on certain kinds of projects.
I’ll start with the roofing project itself, which consisted of removing an old tile roof, replacing the wooden supports below it, and then placing new tiles on top. Here’s a view of the work:
I’ve written about this kind of work before, in a posting more than five years ago: “Our restaurant gets a new top,” on January 21, 2014. Here’s some of what I wrote:
A roofing job in this part of the world is quite different from what I remember from our days in Toronto. As far as I can recall, the last time my wife Jan and I had a new roof put on our two-storey house in Toronto, the job took just a couple of days.
The workers scrambled up ladders onto the roof; ripped off the old shingles; stapled down some new heavy paper; and then proceeded to nail on the new asphalt shingles. Okay, it’s not easy or glamorous work, but it moves quickly.
Here in Daglan, with our heavy tile roofs, the job often becomes a fairly substantial construction project. Usually, new wooden slats need to be put in place, to support the tiles. Sometimes, main beams have to be replaced before the tiles can be added.
Now, mercifully, the roofing project near us has been completed, so our street is wide open at both ends.
But that brings me to the subject of signage. Funnily enough, there is a noticeable shortage of signage (in this part of France, at least) for some construction projects — leaving you to wonder if a new building will be an auto dealership, a restaurant, or a movie theatre. Similarly, hotels and campgrounds and restaurants that have closed for the winter season generally don’t have signs saying when they will re-open.
However, for certain events (the temporary closing of a public park, perhaps for a festival) and for certain construction projects, the amount of information provided is, well, over the top.
In Toronto, a road closure might have a sign saying something like “Road closed for re-surfacing. — Office of the Roads Commissioner.” And that would be that. But not here.
Have a look at what was posted on a board at the end of our street (and no, you don’t have to read it):
Among the information provided is the source of the permission (our Mayor, with postal code yet!); the date of the contractor’s request; the company doing the work; the type of work; the place of the work; and the dates to start and finish the project.
Then come five Articles, which state, among other things, that one end of the street will be blocked completely; and how local residents can enter the street (from the end that isn’t blocked!). It then concludes with the stern statement that “This authorization is issued on a personal basis and cannot be assigned.”
So there — we have been duly notified!