Sometimes, life on an island isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or so you can’t help but thinking when things get a little out of control…
MONDAY MORNING: Everything seems normal until I enter the bathroom where something like a tropical rainforest scene plays out before my weary
eyes. The hot water boiler has leaked and dripplets of water seep
through the ceiling. The boiler is housed in a small compartment
directly above the bathroom which happens to be our only real storage
place. So before breakfast, IRS and I are up and down that ladder saving
backpacks, spare furniture and the like from the floods. Rest of day is
spent finding out who can do plumbing jobs here on the island – there is
no such thing as “looking it up in the Yellow Pages” – then locating the
man at a building site where he is labouring as a builder’s hand and
making a date for the afternoon. No hot shower till Tue.
MON AFTERNOON: While the Bulgarian electrician come plumber come builder fixes the pipes, I somehow manage to upload a snippet of my short film and send it to the composer who’s been waiting for nearly three weeks
already. I get the feeling, the snippet will premiere on his
collaborators page before the rest of the film.
TUE MORN: Water comes out of tap at boiling temperature and boiler
doesn’t switch off automatically, so plumber has to be re-called.
Promises to come asap – meaning afternoon. Manage to put in two hours of
proper work on English subtitles and Czech and Esperanto language
version until – just before I hit Save for the final time – power cuts
out again. Not to worry, plumber on the doorstep anyway, brings his
wife, too, for coffee. So instead of afternoon walk I serve biscuits and
tea and wait with Bulgarian couple for boiler to follow directions –
which, surprisingly, in the end it does. Problem solved. Day over.
WED MORN: No special occurances until I try and turn on the stove.
Doesn’t work. Instead lights flicker, disco-like. As soon as stove is
turned off, lights keep flickering, slightly brighter. No boiler, no
water kettle, no stove – no PC! Electrician comes, reluctantly. (“This
is not my job. I work for the power company only, you have to get some
freelance electrician.” – The only freelance electrician unfortunately
doesn’t permanently live on the island …) Electrician casts one look
at power supply cable that comes out of post in front of the house and
gets hysteric fit. Cable has been rubbing against corner of the roof for
the last decade or so. Now it’s had it. Electrician fixes cable and
instructs on security measures (pole, insulation etc.) for the future.
Fight with landlord to be expected. While electrician works, I sit in
the courtyard in the sun and watch the cats at their lunch. Yes, alternative power solutions are definitely in order! This not being
our property but a rental home, solar and wind energy – as sound as they
are – aren’t really an option: too expensive to install and maintain
(esp. if you don’t have any idea about how they work and what maintenance
they need, so can’t do it yourself) and no company around to do the job
for us anyway.
But, thank god, there is something called UPS which has nothing to do
with parcels and transport but means: uninterrupted power supply. It’s
like a battery in between your power wall socket and the electronic
appliances and comes in its “deluxe” version even with a protection
against sudden power surges – which can wipe everything on your hard
drive and are apparently quite common in old electric lines / systems.
The whole fun comes at 120 € (incl. the surge protection) and
I can plug in eight different things (PC, printer, camera, hard drive
etc.) so no question that I pulled out my credit card and ordered one
straight away. Supposed to arrive on Mon.
THUR: Power, water, phone, all in order – sort of. Put in an extra load
of work on new postcard images (work on laptop is relatively safe due to
battery, only the hard drive with the video data is at stake, so film
work has to wait until UPS arrives). Ignore my backbone’s constant
reminder that I haven’t had a proper walk for some time and keep
selecting, trimming, arranging photos. Pure bliss. Very happy at night.
Watch a movie as icing on the cake.
FRI MORNING: Wake up with massive migraine and neck-shoulder pain. Too
fuzzy to even attempt any work. Back to bed. Outside beautiful spring
day. Head throbbing like jackhammer into temple. Feel thoroughly sorry
for myself. As that doesn’t improve things, go back to sleep and stay
there (at sleep) for most of the day. At night, migraine sort of gone.
Back still sore – from all the lying in bed. Read travel guide about
Australia and realise how many places in the world I haven’t seen yet.
Go to sleep curious about the next calamity.
SAT MORNING: Migraine back but mild (as usual on the second day).
Outside still spring. Have an invitation to a barbecue for today’s lunch
or to visit a friend on Chalki (next island down the road) anytime till
30th of the month. Love to go but spend my last 120 € on UPS. Might go
anyway. Life happens only once. Not today, though. Still kind of shaky…