Thursday, August 27, 2009

Minor inconveniences

My current living arrangements are, most certainly, only suitable for the summer season. A lack of any real cooking facilities and a shower which has hot water for a maximum of four minutes at a time are just about bearable whilst it is warm and sunny outside but when the weather turns cold and the nights get longer I’m sure I will be craving some creature comforts. Another downside to this setup is, as I mentioned before, the loo being located outside the apartment. Before I moved in Soraya arranged with Emily and the other residents on the floor to have a lock fitted to the outside of the door and provided everyone with a key because, apparently, a homeless man had been spending the night in there. This will no doubt come as a shock to you but I am in some doubt about the truth of this story as the building isn’t in a bad area, is perfectly safe as far as I can see and, truthfully, the street is probably preferable to being cramped up in the tiny, dirty little loo.

The room is approximately one metre squared, is finished with rough cement that was once painted a salmon pink colour and has a long funnel in the ceiling leading up to a skylight where no doubt all manner of bugs and insects live. The chain has broken off so in order to flush it one has to stand on the loo itself and reach blindly inside the cistern and grope about for a little tube which, when pulled, releases the mechanism and starts the flush. The walls are filthy and smeared with all kinds of questionable dirt and there is always a strong smell of rubber as a result of the big mat Soraya put down a couple of weeks ago. One of the biggest inconveniences is the lighting. The light is on the same timer as the lights on the stairs and this lasts a maximum of 45 seconds. Too many beers and too much rich, French food meant I had to pay an unexpected visit to the loo one night last week when I got home after a night out. I unlocked the door, ran back to the stairs to re-activate the timer on the lights and ran back to the loo. Despite my best efforts I was still plunged into darkness before long with the knowledge that anything might drop on to me from the skylight above or crawl over my feet. Reaching my hand into the cistern was particularly harrowing, being unable to see anything, and I was glad to get back to the bright lights of my cheerful little apartment.

It is, generally, a cheerful little apartment and I could have done a lot worse. However, in the first month or so I had a big problem with cockroaches. I had never experienced these creatures before and would come home after an evening out to find four or five adults and several babies running around the floor and the surfaces. As a rule I don’t mind creepy crawlies, except spiders, obviously, but these would suddenly appear from nowhere and skitter past me before running for cover under the sink and I was certainly not a fan of their speed or intelligence. As soon as I would get in it was as though an alarm signal would go off and I could imagine the leader of the pack calling to the others ‘alright lads, he’s back! Scarper!’ (although, come to think of it they’re French cockroaches so they would probably have been communicating in French). This would be followed by a mad dash as they all ran, full pelt, for the nearest crevice of safety. They are so fast it is almost impossible to catch them under a glass, for instance, and on several occasions I squashed a couple with the rim which made me feel rather guilty. However, my guilt lessened as the infestation worsened and in the end I had to invest in same traps together with a powerful spray which I would blast round the apartment before going out for the evening. Whether this, or the increasing heat in August has deterred them, I’m not sure but they are certainly under control now and I rarely see any.

No comments:

Post a Comment