Friday, 5 February 2010

taking time in St Jean de Luz

The main street in St Jean de Luz is called Rue Gambetta. It runs parallel to the beach for about a kilometre; from the commercial Boulevard Thiers to the picturesque Place Louis XIV. It is a pedestrianised street filled with quaint Basque home above a myriad of shops (butchers, bakers, Basque linen makers etc.). It is one of the key destinations for the many visitors the town receives each day.

In November 2008 they began to dig up the road to install cabling of various sorts. Workers would dig up vast tracks of street from Monday to Thursday and then fill them in again on Friday before the weekend. The noise and mess has been totally disruptive. Rather than focus on getting a bit done at a time whoever was boss was adamant that they do the whole street at the same time. For a crew of twenty this was no small undertaking. As such progress was achingly slow. It has been truly painful to watch. Each morning shopkeepers stand horror-struck that yet another month has passed with no advancement. It really didn't look like a difficult job but they were doing their very best to make it so.

Before summer came last year they downed tools, patching the holes as best they could. Summer obviously lasts longer wherever the workers are from, they didn't start back until mid December, just in time to ruin Christmas trade for the shopkeepers. However, the magical construction pixie has clearly been up to his old tricks recently. The street is finally being completed. It is beginning to look like it did fourteen months ago. Rumour is that it will be finished by Easter. I wouldn't wager any chocolate eggs on this. I've seen bigger jobs completed in a fortnight but fair play to these guys for milking out a project for so long, what are the bets they're paid by the hour?

Basque of the day:- time :: denbora