Well of course it is, it’s June after all and the meteorological summer has arrived in Spain. Even though we’ve been here for almost ten weeks, I can honestly say we haven’t acclimatised too well. Mrs S has taken to a vampiresque lifestyle (minus the bloodsucking) and the evening strolls have veered towards late night walks, when it is much nicer for a stroll or strollete if you prefer. This has tied in nicely with my expanding enthusiasm for photography and currently night photography. From a ten minute slot on the terrace the other night, I’ve learned a couple of things. One, nipping outside in shorts and a t-shirt to try and take some pictures of the stars is cool but it’s even cooler for the biting things. The upside of this was, that I have a sort of map of the stars (only in bites) on my legs mostly. Secondly, I’ve learned that night photography is something you can’t just go into and succeed at but that was in my sub-conscious before, I think. So, last night, armed with long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt and any remaining areas of exposed skin, covered with the Royal Marine’s favourite, Skin So Soft. Mrs S, rigged out in pretty much the same gear only she opted for the industrial strength insect repellent, that has been known to kill the odd small bird and large insects.
Foregoing the black cape with red lining, as it was still not that cool, Mrs S gamely followed me out of the house at half past ten no less. Additional equipment (for those that are interested) tripod, camera, spare battery, different type of lens and plenty of enthusiasm. It was only a short walk but the air was quite muggy and although the clothing was protecting us, it was also doing a good job of keeping us warmer then we’d have liked. The street lighting is very good in Sedella and many lower league football teams would be proud to have as much lighting on their training grounds as we enjoy here. Luckily, the area we were interested in only had one light and it didn’t spread too far, which I hoped wouldn’t affect the pictures. Ok, tripod set up, camera fitted to tripod, look at the viewscreen and see that I couldn’t see the subject I wanted to see, which was an old abandoned car. Using a Mk1 eyeball, I pointed the camera in the direction I thought would work, as it was visible to the naked eye, which although naked, was not coated in Skin So Soft. I took a couple of pictures, which showed that my rough positioning was pretty good and with a small alteration, we were in business. The first few pictures showed the car but they weren’t very good quality, ok, they were awful. Moving on. Making further changed to the camera settings, I managed to get a couple of what I would call decent photos. This is where the maverick in me came out and I tried to get all arty. I set one photo to have the shutter open for 13 seconds and as it began, I tripped over to the side of the car and stood there for the remaining time. When it was over I did the reverse and going back to the camera and tripped over in my excitement. Anyway, the resulting photo, shows a ghostly apparition with a see through body and an old wreck behind. Or is that and old wreck with a car behind? The church bells had already chimed eleven a while back and so, reluctantly, we started off home but not before stopping to try a few photos of the Hermita, which again, turned out not too badly, to my novice eye at least. It was almost twelve by the time we got back and after a quick look at the photos, it was time to sleep. I climbed into bed and Mrs S hung upside down from the ceiling and that was the end of the story. Or was it? as they say in the films.
What else have we been up to? Well, the next matter could be called “Toilet troubles” but before you avert your eyes, it’s not what it sounds like, honestly. The toilet seat has been what I would loosely term as occasionally loose and despite repeated attempts at securing it, the bloody thing will not stay in place. Add to this, the bowl is less than securely fastened at the base, you can see why we had been having toilet troubles. Having said that, it did add a frisson of excitement and dare I say it, danger? This could clearly not go on and so, when visiting the supermarket, we picked up a new one and then quickly put it back, as we couldn’t be sure of the size. Pictures were taken (no tripod) and a week later we returned and bought a seat. This one seemed quite posh and had what was described as a “Softclose” lid, whatever that was, all fixings included but more importantly it was universal and even more importantly ”EASYFIX”. I don’t know if you remember a Kenny Everett character called DIY Reg but I’m marginally better than he was but it’s safe to say I’m not a DIY’er. We get home, bags unpacked and I put off changing the seat until it’s cooler and so opt for the next morning. These things can’t be rushed you know. Morning came, I tried but I couldn’t stop it and so I opened the box. Inside was the softclose lid, attached to what I assumed was a not softclose seat but no fixings. It wasn’t a huge box and after checking three times and handing it to Mrs S, it was confirmed there were no fixings. Feeling pleased I hadn’t actually taken off the old seat, the new seat was repacked and put aside for the next trip “Down the mountain” as folk here say.
The day came and back to the supermarket, with me doing a not too bad job of making myself understood. A very nice lady phoned someone, we waited for a few minutes and the very nice lady spoke to one of her colleagues, who walked off and came back a few minutes later with a packet containing all of the fixings needed. She told us it happened quite a lot, so now, we know to open any box and check the contents, or lack thereof. This is what I mean about DIY, it’s never straightforward and like Lego, you always end up needing one more bit. The following morning, again, unstoppable, I got the seat out, opened up the pack of fixings and took the old seat off, which was distinctly unobliging, obviously knowing it’s days were numbered. I took the plastic inserts, which fix easily into the holes at the back of the toilet bowl, only, these dont fit easily at all, in fact, they are decidedly reluctant to be fitted. Although no DIY’er, I’m nothing if not creative and so I screw one of the bolts a short distance into the insert and then instead of using a hammer, which I didn’t have, I use the next worst alternative I have, which is an axe. Not the sharp side you understand but the flat hammerlike back. A few gentle taps and the insert is fitted and I take the bolt out. Onto the next one, bolt into insert, tap tap and then the sound of porcelain breaking and the sight of a not too small hole at the side of the bowl. Then it’s all quiet, I get up and walk into the kitchen, not quite sure what to do or say, so I do nothing. I hear Mrs S saying, “That didn’t sound good.” To which I had to wholeheartedly agree and I added that it didn’t look good either. We both go into the bathroom and survey the wreckage. The bit that broke of was at the top of the side of the bowl, sorry, no photos of this. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to see if the flush still worked…………….it did. Mrs S went for the mop and bucket, while I went for the lifejackets.
After the clean up and self recrimination, order was restored and a call to the plumber was made. Had I mentioned that it was Saturday morning? I thought not. The answerphone message saying that all people who smash their toilets at the weekend will have to wait until the weekend is over said it all and so, I left a text to say that I’d broken the toilet and could he help as soon as he could. More ingenuity found the gaping hole in the side, plugged with plastic bags until nothing else at all could be squeezed in there. Despite the misgivings of Mrs S, I put the mop bucket at the side and flushed, hey presto, no need for mops or lifejackets, we wouldn’t have to go to the bar to use the loo. One last stab at my DIY skills came, when I saw that despite the bowl having broken away, the inserts were intact and sitting the old seat inserts in, made the seat comparatively sturdy. Monday came and the plumber said he’d be round the following day and asked what kind of toilet it was. I checked and it was a no name brand, so he asked me to take a couple of pictures, ( again, no tripod) and send them to him. He arrived, as planned the next day but without a toilet, our conversation had been lost in translation, as he’d thought the flush mechanism was broken and leaking. To be fair, the photos I sent didn’t show the damage at all. He promised to come back two days later, on the Thursday and we’d be up and running. Well, it got to half past seven or so on the Thursday and no sign of him. I sent a whatsapp to ask what the new plan was and about half an hour later, he replied to say he was almost at our house. He arrived with a helper at ten past eight and had finished the replacement in a little over 30 minutes! That was impressive and he saved me the trouble of having to explain what happened by not asking what happened. Mrs S asked if he was going home afterwards but he said he still had one more job to do.
There you have it, life is never dull it seems but at least, eventually, we do have a new toilet, without softclose lid but with a choice of not one but two flush options. Who knew?
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers