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Sunday, June 5, 2011


There I was, washing my hair in the shower, turning the handle from the wall unit to the hand-held, when the metal handle just came away in my hand.  As usual, my co-ordination skills were not at their best, and instead of turning off the main tap, I struggled to screw the small bar back into place.  Once I had achieved the task, I started to giggle.  Once again, I started to reminisce, and when I reminisce, I can very rarely tell the story without a period of uncontrollable laughter. 
Several years ago, my sister and her family went to an apartment in Bournemouth, England.  The apartment was owned by her mother-in-law's sister, and it was beautiful.  Set in the more exclusive area of Southbanks, it led directly out on to the beach, and had its own indoor swimming pool, should the weather be less than 'clement'.  My sister was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to use the apartment at various times during the year.  Mum and dad had spent the weekend with them, and I arrived late Sunday afternoon.  Dad was very concerned.  Memories of how Elise and I used to 'draw blood', I think was the phrase he used, haunted him, and he left making us promise we would call to let him know that everything was okay, every hour, on the hour!  We agreed that a call a couple of times during the week would have to suffice. 

After unpacking, I went into the bathroom and noticed that the toilet was not working properly.  It would not stop 'filling in'.  Despite our layman efforts to correct the problem, we were unable to stop the flow and ebb of the cistern tide.  Fortunately, there was a number of a plumber on the emergency list.  He would come in the morning, and explained how to turn off the water.  I went back to my room and decided to get ready for bed.  It was late and there was a slight storm brewing, so I thought it advisable to pull the window in, just a touch, to stop the wind from blowing through.  As I reached up to adjust the covering, I heard Elise shout, 'don't touch the blind in your room', and then as she entered, exclaimed, with horror, 'it is broken'.  There I stood, half on the bed, half on the bedside cabinet, balancing one end of the blind, as the other end threatened to jump from its hinge. 

Children generally manage to win the prize for stating the obvious, and this occasion each one came in joint first.  'That looks like it's broken', was one remark, followed by, 'you shouldn't have touched that'.  We decided it was preferable to take the blind down and replace it again, at the end of the week.  

The next morning was very busy.  Before we could enjoy the beach, we had to go shopping, to get some groceries.  The trip itself was uneventful.  However, no one told me, upon our return, not to use the top drawer of the freezer.  'It came off in my hand!', I was just about to say, as Elise called from the hallway, 'don't touch the top drawer of the freezer'.  Again, the award winning remarks came forth.  'You broke it!' was a favourite, and, 'didn't mummy tell you not to touch the top drawer', came in a close second.  I was enjoying this break (no pun intended) more and more.  Fortunately, the afternoon at the beach was much more pleasurable. Richard and Jason, my nephew, spent most of the afternoon devising how to get a better look at some rather scantily clad females, whilst Samantha and Emma took delight in their lack of success. 

'What do you mean, you are going to the laundry, what is wrong with the washing machine!', was the question asked when my brother-in-law called, the following day, and asked, 'what are you doing today?' Elise had to explain that all the lights on the washer-dryer had just gone out.  We put the washing in, pressed the button and 'click', the machine died. 

We left on the Friday, leaving a list of repairs that we thought would have to be accomplished before the next guests arrived.  Fortunately, the reports of the weeks events to the owner, were met with amusement.  It appeared that the toilet and the washing machine were prone to periods of uncooperative behaviour, and the other items were replaceable.  The sweet dish handle had been stuck on so many times it was probably more glue than dish.
I have been known for committing more than my fair share of breakages.  My dad bought me a beautiful cut glass fruit bowl many years ago, which my grandmother made me promise I would never touch.  Each time I so much as placed an apple in the crystal container, I felt guilty.  It is not that I am not careful, it is normally the opposite.  When I don't think, or pay attention, I don't have a problem.  However, I think it is when I am over cautious that the problems arise.  It does not help when someone says, 'Be careful, you know what you are like with breakables'.  Immediately, I become nervous, over cautious, and my hands become like ice cubes; not cold, but slippery. 

When Richard was seven, we went to the Roman site of Verulamium and the museum in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, as part of a school trip.  It is an amazing place, and the Roman antiquities were some of the best preserved relics I have seen.  The curator was very proud of his artifacts, and showed us several items, which they had found in the surrounding area.  To have such history virtually on our doorstep, was very exciting to me.  He passed around many things that dated back nearly two thousand years, all of which I avoided touching.  It was when he showed us a bowl, with just the tiniest chip, and announced that they had never unearthed such a perfectly preserved item, that I almost left the room.  As an adult, I was meant to show the children how truly exhilarating this find was, and although I felt his elation, I was not going to be the one who broke his prize possession.  Taking out my tissue at the crucial moment did the trick.  Giving the bowl to me would have been a bad idea.  Giving it to seven year old boys, who found being out of school a more thrilling experience than looking at old pieces of pottery, was disastrous.  'This bowl is the most perfect....', he started, as the sound of smashing porcelain echoed around the room.  '....Was the most perfect....', he completed, holding back the tears.  Each parent who accompanied the children on the trip, sat is abject horror, praying it was not their child who dropped the bowl.  The shrieks from the little girls of 'Jaime!', allowed each one of us to breath again.  I held in my laughter until I got back to the school, and the Headteacher asked the accompanying parents, 'which part did you find the most interesting?'
My collection of handle-less cups is extensive. They make wonderful recepticles for beating eggs, or storing .... things.  I have a wonderful collection of 'egg' utensils, which are all plastic.  My best crockery is on show in a cabinet and it stays there unless someone else is brave enough to remove it, use it, clean it and replace it.  Shops that carry the sign 'we break we cry, you break you buy', are out of bounds for me.  I become the proverbial bull in a china shop.  No sign, and I am fine!  Samantha knows that 'get me a pair of shoes', means that there are fragments on the floor.
The shower was not very difficult to fix and the experience brought back some happy memories.  Perhaps not the most exciting blog, but it made me smile!  This week has been very busy and slightly uneventful in comparison.  Next week, I hope, will be...another story.

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