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Problems with pools (Lost in space Agen..)

Updated: Jan 1


London, Tripoli, the cares of the “real” world all melt away in the heat… After a week or so you adapt, to the new rhythms, of space and time and fresh air: days merge, sweet sweaty nights roll together like naked bodies beneath damp sheets, new situations (“problems” would be to overstate the issue) arise and are swatted aside like the sleepy old flies on the tiled patio.

Swimming pools, for instance: who could ever imagine that swimming pools have complications? Each morning the bottom is lined with leaves which must be disturbed by the scoop, a basketball net attached to a ten-foot pole, so the scum rises (hey-ho) and is sucked into the filters.

The filters themselves must be regularly emptied, and once a week you drop two chlorine pills into the water, where they refuse to fizzle like vast Alka-Seltzers and instead sit at the bottom like sunk UFOs. All the instructions are in French and google refuses to translate so we have no idea whether or not it is safe to swim.

It’s forty in the shade so I dive: my eyes don’t sizzle and my skin doesn’t weep, it seems we are safe. I find my wedding ring, which disappeared on Wednesday and which I assumed lost forever, at the pool’s bottom in a nest of leaves. Emma has learned to swim and Sean has learned that he can’t; not yet. The other night the pool alarm was triggered at 4.30 am by a floating ball. These are just some of the problems with pools.

My wife says I will need to find new things to write about: no more dole offices, no more squats, from now on all must be pools and decadence.

As in: “emptiness”.

Maybe it’s the fact that cold beer and Bordeaux reds at three euro a bottle blur your judgement but navigating round this keyboard (even swearing goes all lower-case, as in: “@%&#!"is almost as hazardous as negotiating Agen’s little back streets with their fiendish foreign signs in a left hand drive: at first your left hand keeps flailing for the gear stick and thumps the window while your right flicks the wipers instead of the indicator but you soon adapt, to the heat, to the flies and the lizards, even to problems with pools…

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