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Some years ago, the European Parliament in its wisdom decided that window cleaners weren't allowed to clean windows from a certain height without specialist protective gear and equipment anywhere in its territory anymore. Apparently, that worked out fine for all the other countries, except for The Netherlands where the windows on properties open outward. As soon as the law became effective, people who lived on the second floor and up found that they could no longer get their windows cleaned, because in order to make good on their investment for the special equipment they now needed to ply their trade window cleaners deserted the private sector in droves and concentrated on the more lucrative business contracts. Besides, you can't very well hang one of those basket-like contraptions and winch cables from ordinary 70 year old houses and the like. The roofs aren't designed for them.

I live on the second floor (3rd if you count them the American way). From one day to the next, the man who'd done my windows for years refused to climb the ladder one more storey up, on the grounds that he'd be risking his livelihood. At first, there was nothing to be done, but after about a year, our MEPs succeeded in having the law amended. Window cleaners in The Netherlands could go back to work...but in the meantime, many small companies had gone bust, or gone into other activities, and finding someone to do my (and my neighbours's) windows proved immensely difficult for the next year and a half...until last night: someone rang the doorbell while I was preparing my evening meal. I didn't expect anyone so I leaned over the balcony railing and shouted down. The answer I received was the most welcome I have had in years: "Good evening, madam. I am a window cleaner and I was wondering..."

So I invited him up for coffee and a chat, and managed to alert some of my neighbours to this momentous occasion as well, and the long and short of it is that as from this coming March, Brian and his business partner Thomas will be doing all our windows twice monthly at a price of 6 euros per flat.

This morning, when my neighbours and I left for work, we were all smiling.

Comments

( 3 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
spiralleds
Feb. 25th, 2004 10:04 pm (UTC)
Hip, hip horray for Brian and Thomas. It's the little things that make the sun shine brighter, isn't it? (Or maybe it's just the clean windows letting it shine in!)
gamiila
Feb. 25th, 2004 11:29 pm (UTC)
It's the little things that make the sun shine brighter, isn't it? (Or maybe it's just the clean windows letting it shine in!)

LOL! It certainly is! Esp. in this case as the sole reason I fell in love with my flat and had</i> to have it when I went a-buyin', was that it had these great big windows in both the living room and the bedroom. The windows in both these rooms reach across from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling, flooding the place with light and giving it a feel of infinite space, also because I live on the top floor in an otherwise low-rise area, which means I look out over the rooftops and into nothing but acres of sky.

The livingroom window is 'naked', i.e. no curtains, so after two years of wind and rain and bird droppings, you can imagine that my view of the sky of late has been kinda misty!
spiralleds
Feb. 26th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
You're gonna feel like you are living in a whole new home!
( 3 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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