Well work on the house is going well. Tomorrow we have the pool guys coming to hopefully get the pool lining re-attached to the pool walls and in preparation for this we have to empty the deep end following the recent rainfall and to clean the remainder of the pool. We have no plug as such in the pool so it all has to be pumped out. It’s too much to do by bailing out with buckets so I was hoping to use the technique Ronato showed me when he came down with the tractor; the old syphon trick.

The idea is to take a long hose (we were using the pool cleaning hose which is 1.5” in diameter so quite large) and fill it full of water. As it’s about 50′ long this takes a bit of filling. Then both ends have to be cupped with your hands (obviously this takes two people) to form a seal. Then one person clambers down the 9-10′ bank beyond the pool, still cupping the end of the hose (tricky) to get that end in a lower position than the end which is going in the pool, in order to create fall. Meanwhile the person at the other end has to lower the still-cupped hose into the pool water without letting any air in or the vaccuum effect fails. If it works the water gets syphoned out without the aid of any pumps or tractors etc. And because this hose is wide it flows at quite a rate too.

It sounds straightforward if a little tricky, but I thought C and I could manage it. So on Sunday evening we tried it and after 4 or 5 attempts we failed abysmally. Once the hose it inserted in the water it has a tendency to float up and break the surface which immediately lets in air and destroys the vaccuum effect and the pipe just empties of water. It’s also impossible to do it solo.

So yesterday morning when the builder’s assistant Pietro, who is a great guy, turned up first thing I asked him in my mangled Italglish if he would help me try it. He said of course and then went off to fix up a mesh arrangement over one end, to stop leaves and crud from getting sucked in. This was from things he found around the pool. Neat, I thought. Then he showed me how to fill the hose pipe holding both ends up to create balanced levels of water (is this capilliary effect? I seem to remember something from chemistry/physics lessons from the distant past). Then we gave it the first try – I was doing the pool end whilst Pietro did the down-the-bank run. Well it all went well and I could hear the water flowing up the pipe but after a second or two I could see the hose-end rising up to the surface and made a grab for it to stay under. But I was on the slope of the deep end and, you’re probably ahead of me now, I slid down it headlong into the gloopy water. It’s only about 4ft deep but I was thrashing around a bit to try and get some footing. Pietro had heard the splash and, bless him, had come running up and over the bank to see if I was OK. I was, of course, though pretty soaked and, rather heroically I thought, still holding the hose under the surface. Pietro laughed a bit then went and got a couple of stones which he passed me to put over the end to hold it down. More good thinking. However I was reaching a bit doing this and didn’t fancy another ducking but I managed to get the hose was partly weighted down, so I thought it’d do.

So, much shaking of hands and thanks from me and a few more laughs about my drenched condition. Pietro returns to his work cementing the crack on the house and I go and tell C that a) mission accomplished, the pool’s emptying and b) the secret to the technique is all about being stupid enough to fall into the water. C called R over to look at dad and we had another laugh at my drenched appearance.

Well I couldn’t let it lie could I? I was a bit bothered about the stone not being fully on top of the hose end. So with C and R off doing something and Pietro up his scaffolding busy cementing away, I went back down to the pool to see if I could put some more bricks on the hose -just to make sure it would continue to syphon the water out. Well as I tried to reach down to lump another stone onto the hose the bloody thing became dislodged from under the first stone (which was doing its job just fine until I started meddling) and floated up, broke the surface and the water just drained out of it. I’d buggered it up. Mumbling quite a few expletives I wandered back up to the house to check if Pietro’s boss Gr was around. He’d popped out to get some supplies so I meekly asked Pietro if a) he’d like a beer (yes please) and b) would he mind helping me again with the pool. He gave me that he’s-a-prat-but-I-quite-like-him sort of look and off we went down to the pool again. However he stops off to pick up a flattish stone, chisels off two indents on each side of it with his pick, and attaches it with a piece of wire he’d produced from out of nowhere to the hose end. Lo a weighted end. These guys are just so practical and a little ingenious. I proceeded to fill up the hose from the mains supply although I inadvertently soaked Pietro’s clothing in the process, and off we toddled cupping the ends to our respective positions; me waterside and Pietro down the bank. When he shouted OK I plunged the weighted end into water and sort of forgot to let go. For f*cks sake. I’m splashing around in the gloop again trying to scramble out off the deep end. Pietro’s shouting Paulo, you ok? Si Si I say as climb up the slippery slope like a near drowned rat. He’s poolside now looking down on me. Obviously pleased that I’m ok because he had a huge smile on his face, in fact he was so pleased he was laughing a bit too.

We check the water flow from the hose end and it’s pouring water down the road. Success. I thank P profusely again and go and get him that beer. It’s so hot he’s dried off now – though I’m sopping wet again. I trudge back to the house and tell C that we’ve definitely sorted the water this time and admit to falling in a second time. C too is happy for me, I can tell this from the look of joy and the peels of laughter from her. It is rewarding bringing joy into people’s lives.

Anyway I had to admit to feeling less than fresh. That rain water is full of cack and frogs and lizards who’ve been pissing in it for several weeks now. So I head upstairs to shower and change before we head out shopping, pleased that my water-boarding ordeal has left me unscarred. I freshen up and head downstairs, the girls are ready and eager to get off. We have parcels to despatch and it’s market day and we need to get going as everything closes at 1pm. Where are my glasses? I must have put them down somewhere. Well I look high and low but couldn’t find them anywhere. So I called in C’s help. C can locate something in a desk or drawer just like that, even if I’ve checked it 10 times and still not found the thing. It’s an uncanny knack that women have. Men may be hunter-gatherers but we (well I at least) are useless finder-lookers. But even C cannot find them. However she does say that the only place they could be is in the bottom of the pool, and asks whether I was wearing them before taking up pearl-diving. Of course not. Do I look stupid?

But I slink down to the pool. They’re nowhere to be found poolside. I wander down the steps to the rapidly -diminuishing water and there in the gloop I can see the distinctive blue and white markings on the rim of the specs. Bugger me. How does C know these things? I must have been wearing them when I went in. Stupid. Fortunately I’m able to fish them out with the pool net. Pietro spots what I’m doing from the balcony and we have another laugh. Honestly it’s been a riot all morning. I’m sure he goes home at night and tells his wife I bet you can’t guess what the crazy Inglesi guy did today… Ah well.

I return to the welcome of my family and express my appreciation yet again to my amazing wife. We have a few more moments of merriment before being instructed to clean the things thoroughly before putting them on. Welcome home glasses. Quite a morning.



2 thoughts on “splash

  1. I am quite sure C and R were watching your attempts at scuba diving from a distance, I have just become entertainments manager at work by providing details of your escapades on the staff notice board.

    Didn’t do physics at school, but the inevitable bucket loads of common sense and the overload of health and safety over in fun less England would have stopped your antics here. It would also have been an icerink the way the good old british weather is.

    What about the good looking pool guy? When does he visit again?

  2. hi p

    delighted to know i’m bringing pleasure to even more folk. were you here when i had a crowd of ladies in the local post office here laughing at my lot? ah well.

    we have had 4 guys from the pool company here over the last two days – all super-tanned and fit – but no sign of good-looking Andrea since you were here. he’ll be back though I’m sure…

    take care p


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