Today was the day that the judge's expert would come and have a meeting with us, our solicitor, the stair man and his solicitor. We also had dear Anne to do translation as required and make sure we knew exactly what was going on.
I was surprised about how nervous I felt about this. Real pre-exam nerves. Lots of cleaning and tidying. Dog decided she would sit in the car and ignore it all.
Our solicitor had charged nearly 500 euros for this morning's work so she had better be worth it. (Fortunately most was paid for by our insurers so the 150 euros we forked out is the first we have had to pay for 2 years of meetings/experts/judges.)
By 9.30 am everyone but our solicitor had arrived so gave them a cup of coffee while we waited and the judge's expert made polite conversation.
For the first time since the stair case was put in, the stairman put in an appearance, his solicitor's office had obviously sent the junior clerk. The expert was a very professional, large 4WD driving, pale suited man and our solicitor arrived with a huge briefcase (she's tiny) and wearing a very fetching, black lace lined with flesh coloured fabric, number.
All sat round the kitchen table but very formal, announcements listing why we were there by the expert. Our solicitor was asked to speak, then stairman's solicitor. Fairly amicable so far but our solicitor was getting her points across and stairman was already floundering. Then off to view the stairs.
We have had two other experts looking at these. Basically they cost a lot of money and are badly fitted. Experts want to know about whether they fit the 'norms' for making staircases.
We had given up on listing all the tiny mistakes - masses of filler, gouges, not square, cut wrongly, endless things - but the expert seemed to want to know, so off we went with measurements and photos of everything. The other guys had said that the fact that the top step wasn't square was the 'dangerous' thing and maybe that the spindles weren't strong enough. BUT this guy just measured the width, said they should be 80cms and they aren't. Triumphant glance from our solicitor whilst he continued with his measuring.
Our solicitor was brilliant, clear summary of what was going on, absolute disdain of the other girl who could only keep muttering that it was 'artisanal' and therefore you should expect some rough edges. Stair man tried to say that we had agreed plans (there are no plans) that we had been to his factory to see the work (we had been to the factory to chase him up because nothing happened for such a long time) that because I had agreed that the bottom step could protrude a bit I had realised that that was because it was the only way it could fit and I had therefore agreed that it should go across the door!
Eventually everyone had had their say and the expert said that there would now be his report in about a week for all our approval and a final decision (possibly) in another 3 months or so.
'How do you think it went Madame'. 'They are not wide enough, that will be all it takes'.