A plumber’s smile

Graham’s been away nearly 5 weeks now in the UK working on our house there, so I’ve been busy busy busy with the B&B and changeovers, lots of washing ironing and gardening, mowing and strimming plus exhibitions looming, (and no time to seriously get down to painting in preparation for them……help!)

Anyway without my handyman husband here, I had to call in the plumbers to deal with a disastrous leak from the water heater when the thermostat packed up and the water boiled causing joints to melt. Luckily the renters were very laid back about it.

Coincidentally I learnt the other day that what we call ” a workman’s bum” in the UK , is known as ” a plumber’s smile ” in French. Curiosity about the term in different languages then gripped my inquiring mind so I looked it up and found to my delight that there is a wonderful medical phrase referring to this phenomenum as the intergluteal cleft.

I  read on further and found the term for my Dutch friends the bouwvakkersdecolleté and my German friends the maurerdekolleté, both words appearing to describe it as a cleavage.

This spurred me on to write this, which, by the way, I’ve not yet illustrated!


A plumber’s smile

Greeted as I was by the intergluteal cleft

the plumber smiled as he bent down,

as I coyly averted my eyes to the left,

so he sucked his teeth with a frown.

Left to his work, (I’d ignored his pants,

no doubt chosen with care by his wife,)

I wish they were taught, not only in France

of the problem, but then, that is life.

Leak fixed, now it’s my turn to smile

(though not in the idiom’s sense!)

Chagrin passed,  he stands up for a while,

we return to the dry recompense.


Back to art: I have found time to do a couple of small paintings, what a difference the support makes to the feel,  the first one is so much softer being on paper, and I mixed thicker paint, more like I used to do, the second has a raw quality, which I’d primed white then a wash of pale lemon, the sizes are 24cm x 30cm:


Meggie on the settee. Oil on paper

IMG_6179 - Version 2

Salon Château des Vigiers. Oil on board


11 thoughts on “A plumber’s smile

  1. Wonderful Lizzy–I love it–actually there is a host of humour to be found in language odditities

    One of my favourites is the German for nipple (they are in general an un-romantic lot)—the word is Brustwarze,which translated means Chest Wart.

    Not nearly as charming as your contribution..

    Hope all well.


    • I hesitate to laugh at another language but that’s highly amusing; indeed, the translation is an accurate description, however it kills any romantic notions about the breast! XxL

  2. Well done on getting some painting done with all that going on Liz, wonderful work. I do love the quality of oil on paper, but both images beautifully relaxed and rich and alive

  3. Loving your recent work Liz. Especially the room scene. Hope you’re well? How is summer, busy? Xx

    Sent from my iPhone


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