Friday, 17 May 2013

Fork Handles

There's a classic BBC TV comedy sketch by "the Two Ronnies" in which a customer (Ronnie Barker) goes into a hardware (ironmongery - ferragens) shop and asks for four candles.

The bloke behind the counter (Ronnie Corbett) goes off, up a ladder, and eventually returns and says "There you are - four candles."

To which the customer replies "Nah, fork handles"

That sort of thing caused ratings busting gales of mirth in the early 1970s but is dated nowadays. I only mention it because I had a fork handles moment with Victor the plumber yesterday.

Victor was installing a new autoclismo - which sounds like a Woody Allen orgasmotron but is nothing so banal as a toilet cistern - in a house that doesn't belong to us but we manage for its owners. But Victor ran into problems when he discovered the seal supplied with the cistern wouldn't fit the sanita - that's the bit you sit on (or stand in front of according to gender and function to be performed). What was needed, said Victor, was an abraçadeira but he didn't have any of the right size with him.

Worry not, said I, I have an abraçadeira of the right dimensions in the house, I'll go and fetch it. Off I went in the car, returned 15 minutes later, brandished it triumphantly and Victor said, in true Ronnie Barker style:-

"Não, abraçadeira"

What I had thought was required and had brought was a jubilee clip:-

But what Victor actually meant was a cable tie:-

For once, however, this was not me being a nincompoop - Portuguese appears to have only one word - abraçadeira - for items as diverse as jubilee clips and cable ties: "Well if you'd meant an abraçadeira why didn't you say abraçadeira!"

The point was reinforced when today I went into Avila, Fraga & Filhos - the best hardware shop in the whole world and which just happens to be in Sta Cruz das Flores - to get some cable clips:-

I asked Edgar in AF&F - who speaks immaculate English - what's the Portuguese word for these? He replied:- abraçadeiras.

As it happens, AF&F is self service but if it wasn't, I'd been that close to a multiple fork handle moment, sending Edgar back and forth, Ronnie Corbett style, potentially three times until he eventually brought me the exact type of abraçadeira I was looking for!

In fact Edgar had the last laugh when I asked him what the Portuguese for these was:-

He said he didn't know but reckoned it would be a bucha. Except bucha is to buchas what abraçadeira is to abraçadeiras so I wasn't going to let him off with that. But I didn't know what the English for one of these is either except for "that thing for attaching things to plasterboard that you didn't realise you'd need until you've drilled a hole the size of a South African diamond mine and covered yourself in dust ..."

Edgar checked the computer and discovered it's called a bucha molly. I still don't know the English word for them. It could be fork handle for all I know. It would be about as useful for hanging that blind from plasterboard ...

South African diamond mine


antares said...

Very funny clip. And amusing personal story.

BTW that thing for "attaching things to plasterboard" is called a molly bolt. So bucha molly makes perfect sense.


Kathie said...

Hope you're having a great summer, with lots of lovely vacationers. Looking forward to further blog posts from you re your adventures in FG!

Anonymous said...

I think "molly bolt" is an American term. In the UK, "hollow wall anchor" is the term I've heard.