Well, yes it is worth it – we love it, despite the unexpected. Having a holiday apartment attached to our house has brought us many friends; visitors who return year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We love seeing them again. And we are fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there have been downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.
Such as the two elderly sisters …
I watched Husband walk past the kitchen window and waved. He didn’t wave back. Because of the goggles and the scarf around his nose and mouth I couldn’t tell if he smiled or not. I thought – probably not. He wore a helmet over a balaclava on his head, navy overalls, elbow length gloves and thigh waders. He looked ridiculous but I didn’t dare laugh. This was serious. He was on a mission… a clearing the sewers mission…
Husband in a hole!
The story of the sewers began a fortnight earlier in the shape of the two ladies. They arrived late on the Saturday evening; it was already getting dark. Despite our assurances that it didn’t matter; that we were home anyway, they continued to apologize profusely as we showed them to the apartment. There’d been traffic hold-ups, one of them suffered from car sickness so they’d had to stop often, they’d lost their way; gone off at the wrong junction of the M4 and ended up in Swansea.
We calmed them down, Husband offered to carry their luggage in.
‘No,’ they said, ‘we’ll be fine. You leave us to it. We haven’t much.’
They were ideal guests; the type we’d hoped for when we started this venture.
They were quiet, friendly, pleasant to have around.. Ever ready for a chat they sat with us in the garden a couple of the evenings enjoying a glass of wine, some nibbles. They didn’t go out much; just for one or two hours each day. Most of the time they sat on the guest patio, reading. Aged around eighty, we discovered they were twins; obviously both retired; one an ex school teacher, they other a librarian. They called us Mr and Mrs Barrow and we called them both Miss Smith (obviously not their real name!!) They wore almost identical clothes and shoes, had the same hairstyle, finished one another’s sentences in the same refined tones.
When we asked if everything was all right,did they need anything , we were told all was perfect. On the middle weekend they insisted I hand over the clean bedding and towels and changed the bed themselves.
On the last evening we invited them in for a meal. They only stayed a couple of hours; we were told they had an early start in the morning. Later we heard them hoovering. I knocked on the door and told them not to bother, they had a long day in front of them the following day.. Despite my protestations, they persisted for another hour.
They must have gone very early, they’d left before we got up at seven the next day.
Which I thought was great; it meant I could get on with the cleaning before the next visitors arrived.
It was halfway through the following week when we noticed the problem. Our new visitors complained that the loo wasn’t working properly and the bathroom was smelling. By the end of the day the kitchen sink in the apartment was backing up with unpleasant water and the lavatories in the main part of the house weren’t flushing efficiently. In fact they were overflowing!
At this point I’m wondering if I should have put a health warning on this post. Hmm?
And so to the beginning of this sorry tale…
I watched Husband walk past the kitchen window and waved …
He stopped, came back to the window and motioned (sorry!) for me to open it. ‘I don’t suppose you want to help?’ he shouted through the scarf. I closed the window – the smell was bad. Besides I thought we should have sent for the local drains/ sewage clearing people. Being a ‘careful with money’ man, Husband thought he could “do it himself”
The new visitors went out for the day with a donation from us for meals.
Without going into any more graphic detail all I can say is that the blockage was… cat litter (with the evidence!). Our two little old ladies had apparently
smuggled brought their cat on holiday with them (into our “no smoking, no pets” apartment) and flushed the contents of the litter tray down the loo. Which was washed by the water along the pipes only so far before setting like cement in the drains.
Six hours later – and after much shovelling and swearing – Husband conceded defeat and we sent for the specialists.
I connected the garden hose to the outside tap on the garage and hosed him down. Before he was allowed back into the house, he stripped off.
Which reminds me. Have I told you about the Naturists who came to stay…?