Jaysus lads I have so much to tell ye I don't know where to start, so I thought I would start from the very beginning as I have heard from more than one source that it is a very good place to start.
Well, another year is unfolding in Pavia; the fog has already rolled in for the winter, the birdies have flown south to warmer climes, oul wans are getting out their fur coats again. After work the icy wind reddens my cheeks and the dense fog envelops me as I trudge home, but I don't mind, because I know that after I turn my key in that familiar lock, I will be warmly welcomed by my flatmate's skid marks smiling up at me from the toilet bowl.
Ah yes, Skid Mark Sue. The messiest shitter in the west.
When I moved into this apartment it was just myself and The Flatmate and The Dog, who are both scrumptious. Just to be clear, The Dog is actually a dog. Here she is:
We were getting along swimmingly in our lovely little house, just as happy as can be, until Skid Mark Sue came along and shat all over everything. In a manner of speaking.
I just don't know where to begin. I simply do not know. Perhaps if I show you a picture of something you can begin to understand. For example, here is a picture of an item that belongs to her:
Were Skid Mark an eighty four year old crone bent ninety with arthritis, this would be an acceptable item to own. Skid Mark, however, is not eighty four. She is, in fact, nineteen. And at the rate she is going in awakening the inner murdresses in myself and The Flatmate, she may never live to see twenty.
I won't go into too much detail here, lest I explode in rabid fury, but I will tell you this much: in her nineteen years of existence I can tell you that a toilet brush has never crossed her path. Domestos? She probably thinks it's an island in the Caribbean. Toilet Duck? The national sport of Turkmenistan.
We had a very polite word in her ear though; something along the lines of "Would you mind not leaving your big streals of shite all down the toilet bowl, please and thanks?" And she said "Grand". Grand like. She didn't even have the common decency to throw herself off the balcony in mortification. Anyway that seemed to solve the problem. Until...
The other morning, I went innocently into the bathroom to do my morning tinkle. A gut feeling told me to look into the watery depths - and lo! There it lay. Skid Mark Sue had struck again - but this time it was personal.
Yes people, not only had she marked her territory in the manner that is customary for her, but there, lurking quietly under the surface of the water, was a giant poo. A large turd. A Cleveland Steamer. A log. Whatever you want to call it - there it was. Waiting. In silence. For some poor unsuspecting person to go along and have a wee, only to launch itself from the water and purse its squelchy lips together to kiss the previously unmarred arse of the tinkler.
Horrified, I turned the handle of the flusher. Our flusher is such that, when you turn it the toilet starts to flush, and it doesn't stop flushing until you turn it back to the start position. I left it run for a good thirty seconds and then turned it off. The bowl was clear. Or so I thought...
Within seconds, with all the glory of Christ rising from the tomb, it resurrected. My natural reaction was to turn the flusher again, this time for a good minute.
That should do it, I thought.
I thought wrong.
And then I thought wrong another two times.
Clearly I was dealing with the Chuck Norris of excrement.
I threw down three litres of Domestos and flushed it for a good five minutes.
In the end I had to enlist the help of Flatmate.
We boiled up a saucepan or two of the kitchen tap's finest water and threw it down there with gusto.
But by then we had both been reduced to peeing in the bidet, which only reinforced my love for it even more. Oh bidet, always there in my hour of need.
Ok lads, that's all I care to divulge for the moment, mainly because Skid Mark just came in. I will fill you in on the other details of my dramatically changed life in subsequent posts. Sorry I went AWOL for so long, I'm starting afresh from Week One of year three of my Italian adventure, and this time I'm back for realsies.
That's right, I just said "realsies".