“It’s making a funny noise again,” shouted my wife over the roar of what seemed like a Boeing 747 landing at Dubrovnik in gale force winds! “I think it’s broken,” she screamed as the noise became louder and louder.
Yes, our washing machine was doing its best impression of an airplane landing and as it hit the spin cycle we almost had take-off. One thing immediately sprung to my mind above the roar, where will we find a craftsman to fix it!
Yes, I know that we know live in a disposable society and it probably would have been cheaper and indeed less stress to ditch the washing machine and buy a new one. But that wasn’t the way I was brought up.
I must have taken this machine, and indeed many other devices in my house, apart and fixed them a million times before. Although, from the noise and smoke that the machine produced as it slowly died this way probably a bridge too far for my basic skills. But as you all know finding a craftsman in Dubrovnik is like finding a unicorn.
“We’ve got all this agricultural land and it’s just sitting there doing nothing. Everyone wants to be a director today,” said a neighbour as we looked out over land mostly covered in grass. He was of course totally correct. Learning a skill, a craft, something practical that you can do with your hands is seen, although wrongly, as something you do if you can’t do anything else.
I have a little black book with all the names and numbers of craftsmen that I have used in the past and those contacts are worth their weight in gold. I’ve got a window fixer, a mechanic, a plumber, an air-conditioning expert and a builder, but that list is getting shorter and shorter as they move into retirement. I’m not sure that I’ve had a craftsman in my home under 60! In more ways than one these are all dying trades.
And finding a good one is also like bumping into the Holy Grail. So of course what happens is that the good ones are too busy to find a spot in their diary’s to fit you in. And I’ve never met a good craftsman who is poor!
Annoying as I opened the washing machine I could see that one part, about the size of a 5 Kuna piece, had exploded. This one piece, the key to the washing machine jigsaw, had ceased up and already I knew that just finding it online would be a nightmare.
And then it would be the old story of feasibility. Would I pay to get a new one delivered (if I could find one) and then fix it, or was it in fact cheaper and less hassle just to buy a new washing machine. In an age when we are supposed to be looking after the planet and thinking green it seemed such a waste to throw it away. Surely fixing in would be the greener option.
“Tourism has made us lazy morons. Nobody knows how to roll up their sleeves and work anymore,” added my neighbour as he recounted how the fields used to be full of fruit, vegetables and flowers a long time ago. And how indeed the whole family lived off the land.
If there is one positive thing to come from the pandemic it could, and I emphasize the word could, force people to learn a trade and more importantly learn how to work.
The lost generation who live from their booking.com earnings and spend the rest of the time driving fancy cars around Lapad or drinking coffee all day might now realise that they were living a life based on very thin ice. For without the tourists, and let’s face it they aren’t coming back in any great numbers for a few years yet, they are left unable to afford to live the same lifestyle. But I would appear that the only thing they know what to do with their hands is to swipe through Instagram. I don’t envy their situation. The lost generation.
“When the banks start calling they’ll be either selling things or relying on hand-outs from their parents, maybe, just maybe some will realise that the answer is to actually work,” concluded my neighbour with a wry smile. Maybe some of them will learn how to fix washing machines!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to