This message was originally sent as part of an e-mail to friends in May 2006.
The house came with a pool, which was one of its key attributes for us. C and the girls love swimming and our grandson is like a fish – absolutely no fear of the water. When we viewed the house before purchase it was mid summer and the pool was uncovered and looking great. But the pool had been covered throughout the winter when we moved in, during March. We inherited a horrible looking mess of dark green winter rain water swarming with frogs and heaven only knew what else under the cover. We’d never owned a pool before and hadn’t a first clue about what to do to clean it. The pool hut had been left unfinished so all the power mechanics were exposed and there were tubs of chemicals and pool paraphernalia all over the place. Our dining room looks out onto the pool area so everyday we couldn’t help being reminded of this mess. It didn’t look like this in the brochure….
I was commuting back and forth to the UK each week. To be honest we didn’t get much chance to do a lot in the garden or around the pool area. It was all terribly overgrown so just getting down to the pool was difficult. Most weekends we had visitors from the UK and it was a little difficult to expect them to help us clean out a stinky old pool over their visit. They and we were keen to see the area and take in the Italian lifestyle. But this bloody pool kept gnawing aware at us.
I was heading back one Friday from Stansted to Ancona after four days in London and had called C from the airport to say all was running to schedule and I’d see her at the airport etc. C told me she’d got a surprise for me back in Italy. I couldn’t guess what it was and it intrigued me. We were still waiting for the ASDL broadband line to be connected up but it wasn’t that C said. Bugger. So I just thought it would something like a new kitchen appliance or, hopefully, a surprise visit from the girls and the fellas.
At the airport and throughout the journey home, C kept schtum about the surprise. She did say it wasn’t the girls or any of our friends visiting that weekend. Bugger. As we pulled in the driveway, our daughter R came over excitedly. I left the cases as she encouraged me down the slope to the pool area. And there it was, a shimmering mass of lovely clean blue water, with swifts and bluebirds diving around the whole area. Wow. I was just a bit speechless. C just came over and said that it had cost a fair bit to sort out but she had called the pool guy, Andrea, whose details were left by the vendors, and he and his guys had worked on it over a couple of days to restore it to its pristine glory.
I was just so pleased and asked C what the pool guy was like. Well let’s just say i think C kinda liked him. He sounded charming and not the worst-looking guy in the world apparently. Whatever, just look at that pool. We spent the rest of the afternoon just splashing around to our hearts content.
Next day Andrea turned up – he’d promised C that he’d pop by with some more chemicals etc. He’d already left a list of instructions about how to keep the pool serviced and had shown C what to do. I bet he did. But he was keen to show me too. And I have to tell you he was every bit as well-mannered and charming as C described. And as blokes go I have to admit he was a terrific looking guy. Prematurely grey but it sort of suited him. A bit like Steve McQueen with a sun tan. Some guys have all the luck eh.
The 3 of us had a long chat, he was easy company and good at English which was great. I now know how to look after the pool on a daily basis – in fact I quite enjoy doing it (except the animals – see later). Do you know the chemical composition of the water changes everyday? A lot of sun affects it one way, rain another etc. It’s all very technical don’t you know but surprisingly I’m quite a whizz at getting the chlorine and PH balance right. I can even tell just by looking at it if the water is doing well or is ‘suffering’. It’s a bit like tasting the difference between good and poor sauvignon blancs. You can see I’m applying my learnings widely.