Slightly Bemused writes:
So I have no bathroom.
I went to bed all nice and cosy on Thursday last with a bathroom. Then Friday morning a very nice man turned up, and by lunchtime a new, clean, blank canvas was there, waiting for whatever was to come. At least they left me the toilet for the weekend. That was nice.
And then Tuesday morning happened. By 8:30, that was gone, and this could get awkward (and possibly messy)! At least until Friday.
This made me realise something I have known, but pushed to the back of my head. It is the little things that are important, like access to a bathroom. Amid all this talk about shared accommodation recently, this is surely one of the most basic issues. Not to mention for the homeless.
It also reminded me of a family story. When I was doing my Inter Cert (yes, I am that old) my father decided to renovate our heating system. Out came the old anthracite boiler and in went a brand spanking new range, which would not only heat but roast, cook, and I think may have been able to juggle too from all my Dad said about it.
As part of this, the hot press was moved from our bathroom into the kitchen. In the space freed up, my Dad intended to put in a shower. He even bought the tray. This was a job he would do himself, being an engineer and a consummate DIYer.
Ten years later I returned from my first overseas posting. Still no shower installation. After a chat with my Mum, we headed down to the local hardware shop and bought one of those units that you fit onto the taps of the bath. Voila! Instant shower. Just had to be careful with the spray not to wet the floor too much.
When my Dad got home and saw this, he was really quite irate and turned to my Mum and said “Stop rushing me!”
I came home the next evening to find that a set-up had been rigged to hang the showerhead, shower curtain had been installed, and all was right between him and my Mum. But roll on another ten years and they moved out to a house designed for those with special mobility issues, and still no shower installed.
In fairness, he had been doing quite a lot of other work, including in the community, and it was not laziness. It turns out that there was not enough height under the floorboards for the correct fall to allow proper drainage, and the bathtub was in the way if he raised the tray enough. As the issue was not critical, it was put on the back burner. I heard the new owners just ripped everything out and started from scratch, so no worries. Kind of like my own bathroom now.
Anyway, back to Friday. Shortly after my bathroom started appearing on the grass as it awaited the skip, my next door neighbour pops his head in: “I see the plumber has arrived” and proffers a set of keys. His spare set, and the invitation to make use of his facilities for the duration. Messy avoided.
A short while later, the neighbour on the other side popped in, and showed me where the spare key was kept, with a similar invitation. And an admonishment to close the porch door before I open the inner, or the little Jackie would get out.
I have two great neighbours, and I would not trade them for a hundred new bathrooms.
Slightly Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.