Long, long ago in a town not very far from where I now sit I was involved in an intense yet quite chaste friendship with an attractive blond who, like me, was happily married to someone else. But these things happen. It’s life.
“Yes, I know what you want, but I’d rather keep you as a friend” she would say. Often.
“I want more,” I would tell her, selfish, shallow and careless to the consequences as I was.
“You’ve put me on a pedestal,” she’d reply, the foxy little minx. “I couldn’t live up to your expectations. And anyway, you only want to get into my pants.” She let me cop the odd feel and returned the favour a few times but that was about as far as the whole thing went.
“No, it’s what’s inside your pants that I want to get into,” I’d tell her. It all came to nothing in the end, helped by a bit of an ultimatum by a third party. Regrets, I have a few.
But this story isn’t about that sort of pedestal. It’s about the porcelain pedestal that we find in a supporting and decorative role beneath the hand basin in our bathroom.
I’ve just finished revamping our bathroom. I’ve put in a new ceiling, complete with trim, re-clad the two walls which needed attention; the other two walls I tiled a decade ago with a ceramic design which vaguely brings to mind a Paris metro station circa 1897 and they still look good. I’ve replaced the bath panel and boxing, renewed the listello around the bath and laid a lovely new floor. All this I did myself.
However, being crap at waterworks, I called in Tone the Plumber to install the new taps on the bath and the new handbasin and associated plumbing bits. Because I hadn’t had a chance to lay the floor before he did the plumbing, he left a carefully measured space beneath the pedestal to accommodate the floor boards and top covering, a sandstone-grey marble effect job.
So on Sunday just gone, I finished laying the floor and it was good. All fitted perfectly and the edges were all sealed. There were no bumps and no gaps. Then I went to re-install the pedestal. The measurements were spot on.
Unfortunately, there was a slight rise in the glaze at a crucial spot.
“Oh dear”, I said.
“Why are you oh dearing?” asked my beloved wife Anita.
“No problem,” I replied. “I’ve just got to be very careful with this bit.” As I gently tilted, twisted and eased the stubborn, delicate porcelain whiteware into its final resting place, I don’t mind admitting that I was sweating it.
“Oh no,” she said, with the world weary air of one who expects a disaster to occur very very soon and quite close to hand. Support, confidence and encouragement. Sometimes they’re in short supply in our house.
“It’ll be alright oh fuck!” I exclaimed as a large jagged shard of translucent glazed hurtled through the air across the newly beautified bathroom.
“I’ve broken it.”
“You’ve broken it,” agreed Anita in a breathtaking display of redundant marital agreement.
“I know I’ve fucking broken it. You don’t need to fucking tell me.” That was the first and the second time that I’ve sworn at my wife in thirty three and a quarter years of marriage. She told me to piss off. That was about the ten thousand and forty eighth time she’s sworn at me this year. I went and phoned Tone the Plumber.
“Ouch” he said. “I’ll come round next Wednesday and I’ll replace it. Is she not happy then?”
I’m looking forward to next Wednesday. All will be well, I’m sure.