Sunday, May 17, 2009

Return of Genevieve

'Huh! You tell me where in Camberwell I can get a handyman who will do the job properly!'

I'd asked my 80 year old friend why she didn't get her doorbell fixed. She lives in a second floor flat, so getting her attention when I call round involves using a mobile phone.

In a way I don't blame her. I can understand she doesn't want to pay the usual £50 'call-out' fee, for such a straight forward job. She's a widow, with no children, so nobody to call on. It seems easier, no doubt, just to rely on visitors by appointment.

But I thought of her when I saw this bubble-blowing van near Trafalgar Square. At first I thought the vehicle must be on its way to a veteran car rally. It reminded me of the classic 1950s film Genevieve, about old bangers competing in the London to Brighton race, with marvellous John Gregson, and Kay Kendall playing a trumpet solo.

The suggestion of 'Upstairs, Downstairs' service, performed by a tradesman so cheerful he'd be singing, seemed incongruous, to say the least. Either handymen have fallen on hard times or it's a way in these credit-crunch times to provide a service that doesn't require an expensive specialist. High marks for tapping into nostagia.

I don't know what the bubbles are about, though.

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