Jan 23

Laurel and Hardy are Out of the Frame

Laurel and Hardy Carpenters

We had ring-side seats to a comedy duo of door-fitters last week. We welcomed them into our home with high expectations, and watched from a distance as they installed a new front door and bumbled and struggled their way through the reinstallation of our bathroom door frame and door using more brute force, than finesse

They swung mallets and hammers dangerously close to our freshly installed floor and wall tile, and Red paced around them like a caged lion on hot coals. Pouncing every now and then to grab their forearms mid-swing. Occasionally baring his teeth and emitting a low growl when their work methods defied all human logic.

Door jam antics from Laurel and Hardy our Turkish Door hangers

Why won’t it fit?

The frame and door they couldn’t make fit, was the exact same door that came out of the same space last week. Now admittedly, the walls aren’t straight … but if it came out, doesn’t it stand to reason that it should go back in?

Laurel and Hardy were a determined pair! They wrestled and shoved in the door jam into the available space .. only to discover that because we’d tiled over the bathroom floor tiles .. there wasn’t enough clearance to have the door open inwards … so they flipped the door around to open outwards.

The merry dance of flipping the frame was like watching a cringe-worthy repeat of a terrible sitcom, and was almost too much for Red to bear. I tried to distract him with a cup of coffee and a mushroom omelette of epic proportions .. but the dining table had ringside seats and a clear view of Laurel and Hardy’s antics. Between mouthfuls .. Red was in and out of his seat like a jack-in-the box with Tourettes.

When the door was finally installed … Red cut-them off at the pass as they reached for the cement and their trowels. They were ushered off the stage and out of them door with a job half-done, before Hardy could mutter “that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into”.

The Inspection

When the coast was clear .. I ventured into the hall to inspect the work. Only to discover that not only did our door open outwards, but it now locked from the outside! Useful if you want to hold your toilet rolls hostage, but not much use for a private moment in the throne room.

We tried switching the handle around, but to no avail. So it was a good excuse for a trip to Turgutreis to buy a new door handle that would enable us to lock the door from the inside … a novel concept. We could only find a silver handle … so it’s the odd one out in the entire house.

Bathroom door with a silver handle Laurel and Hardy builders

A couple of days later, when Red was emotionally ready to face the scene of the crime … he started to mend the damage and gashes that had been inflicted on the door-jam, and he’s doing a much better job than Laurel and Hardy!

When is a House a Home?

A house isn’t a home until it’s filled with memories. And now every time I look at that one silver handle I can think about the comedic performance from Laurel and Hardy …. a duo that aren’t being invited back for a repeat performance.


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  1. Alan

    . . had me rolling in the aisles – typical of so many experiences here over the years. You must instruct Red about controlation, acceptation and Burası Türkiye before he develops apoplexy – either that or take up a really absorbing hobby!
    Alan recently posted..Economic MigrantsMy Profile

    1. Roving Jay

      I think there’s definitely phases of acceptance when you come to live in Turkey … at the moment we’re both swimming upstream against the tide… a couple more months and we’ll be going with the flow! … deep breaths!
      Roving Jay recently posted..The Calm after the Storm in BodrumMy Profile

  2. BacktoBodrum

    Don’t let anyone into your house with a hammer, nail or screwdriver until they have three references from your friends and you have seen their finished work. I disobeyed my own rule in 2012 and had to take a bathroom out a week after it had gone in.
    BacktoBodrum recently posted..Out and AboutMy Profile

    1. Roving Jay

      Ah! that’s where we went wrong .. they only had 2 references!
      Roving Jay recently posted..Packing up and leaving Los AngelesMy Profile

  3. Ken Curtis

    Brilliantly told story about the comedy teams in Turkey masquerading as craftsmen. Just about everyone can relate to this that has ever allowed a Turkish usta into his home without a complete background check, written exam and 15 references from other yabancis.

    Everyone has one of these stories – this is mine:

    My brother had built a house in Camyuva (near Kemer, Antalya) in the mid 1980’s that was in need of a remodel. So, we flew over from the US to do a major refurbish – new paint, roof, furnishings and landscape. While there we had the neighbor 2 doors down from us stop by to offer us some valueable advice. It was to never leave a Turkish workman alone while he does his work if you want it to remotely resemble what you hired him to do. He had learned the hard way by leaving one alone at his house while he ran into Antalya to do some shopping after he had patiently and thouroughly explained the work to be done. The job was to break through the front wall of his house onto the veranda and fill this newly created void with a set of French doors that would give him handy, as well as stylish, access between the kitchen and the veranda. When he returned he found the workman collecting his tools and ready to leave – but no French doors anywhere to be found. Instead there was a single door that was only about 50 cm wide. Wide-eyed he inquired as to where the French doors were and was told by the workman “You wanted a door – you got a door” . He refused to pay for this butchery of his home and had to eventually find a reputable man who replaced the others butchery.

    This was the story he related to warn us about Turkish workers. We were amazed that anyone would ever do this kind of poor work and assured our neighbor that we appreciated the warning and would be ever vigilant.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks and we were informed by the water company that our water meter had been installed too low in the ground – which made it difficult to read the meter and that we’d need to raise it.

    Pretty simple job. Turn the water off. Cut the PVC line to the meter and splice in another small section of PVC making the meter about 30 cm higher. Turn the water back on and you’re done.

    We called a local plumber to come out with the needed PVC to do this little job which should have taken him 10 minutes tops. Too soon old – too late smart – we forgot the neighbors advice and ran off to buy another bucket of house paint – leaving the ‘plumber’ alone on the job. We should have known something was amiss when he showed up on a 75 year old bicycle dragging several 3 meter lengths of PVC behind him.

    When we returned from the paint store we see a geyser gushing in the front garden and the ‘plumber’ on his knees up to his chin in water trying desperately to find the shutoff valve which was now submerged under 50 cm of water which had flooded the entire garden. He was finally able to locate the valve and stem the flow of water. He had simply cut the PVC without turning the water off first.

    Needless to say, neither my brother or I ever allowed any Turkish worker on the property again without an ironclad guarantee that he would/could do the work properly. Someday someone ought publish a coffee-table type photography book with pictures of the most noteworthy workman fails. It would be absolutely hilarious…

  4. Hilary

    We must be the exceptions to the rule.

    Every piece of work we have had done on the house here has been to an extremely high standard, not to mention much cheaper than it would have been back home. Small adjustments have been done free. Our plumber has a great sense of humour (though no English to speak of).

    But controlation and acceptation are the keys! Well those and personal recommendations from people who might want to stay friends with you.

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