‘You ready, Pammy?’ Gideon could barely contain himself. It had taken 4 years, three years salaries and a Lake Baikal’s amount of tea to keep the builders on track, but their dream home was finished.
Pammy, Gideon’s long suffering girlfriend was also hopping from foot to foot, but for different reasons, although a surfeit of tea was part of it. ‘I need a pee.’
‘Let’s start with the hall and…’
‘I NEED TO PEE.’
‘Yes, light of my existence, but first…’
‘LISTEN, SUGAR PLUM. IF I DON’T PEE LIKE NOW, ALL YOU’LL HAVE TO SHOW ME IS AN INFORMAL SWIMMING POOL AND MUSTARD COLOURED FURNISHINGS…’
Gideon tried to hide his sigh. He had the whole thing planned, down to the last detail. There were two toilets, the small one down st…
Pammy’s face appeared in his line of sight. ‘It does have a loo, doesn’t it?’
Pammy spun round and stomped to the front door. It may look like a suburban semi on the outside, but she knew her bloke. He was diligent and thoughtful, obsessed with history and fitted the nice but dim category of boyfriends to a tee. ‘Keys.’ She held out a hand as Gideon hurried to catch up.
As rapidly as his imagination allowed, Gideon had revised his itinerary. It would need him to be firm, not something he was either physically or emotionally designed to achieve. ‘Pammy, sparkling orb in my firmament, if you’d cover your eyes…’
The hissing sounded to Gideon much like he imagined an overwrought Python might sound. ‘Just give me the sodding keys, or so help me I’ll…’
Pammy stopped, shocked into silence as her normally absorbent boyfriend spun her round and wrapped a (hopefully) clean handkerchief across her eyes. ‘Humour me, sugar icing on my donuts.’
Pammy was still processing this unexpected but not unpleasant sensation as well as the curiously inapt descriptor. It hinted at a more positive if not especially masculine Gideon; maybe, given time and training this could be transferred into their sexual couplings which to date had tended to be concentrated in the limp and moist chapters of the rumpty-tumpty playbook.. Before she had time to consider how that might be achieved she heard the locks on the door being released and she was walking inside, up some stairs…
‘Ready?’ Gideon was doing a poor job of suppressing his excitement.
‘Please can I just pee and then…’
Pamela Sideparting thought of herself as level headed, a rationalist and not one to give into nonsense like magic and witchcraft. But at that very moment, her faith in the strength of her character and, indeed the wisdom of choosing Gideon as a boyfriend were being severely tested. Had she given much thought to the design of the main bathroom in their new home, she might have speculated on the colour of the suite, the chances of a double flush to minimise water usage and what sort of over bath shower Gideon had chosen (she preferred a drenching to a handheld). What she hadn’t anticipated was something that reminded her of a school trip to the Roman Baths in Bath.
Gideon skipped into view. ‘It wasn’t easy…’
‘I bet. It’s… huge.’
‘Not really.’ He reached across to where Pammy’s eyes told her there was an almost infinite open vista, beyond the stone pool and tapped on the sky. ‘Smoke and mirrors, but without the smoke.’ He sniggered. ‘It’s good, isn’t it. Accurate to the millionth pixel.’
Pammy had begun to regain a little confidence. Tentatively she reached out and touched the side of the bath. It felt like old damp stone.
‘I found that on eBay. Belonged to a Peloponnesian Count.’
‘There aren’t any taps. Or a shower.’
Gideon couldn’t look more smug. He stood back and clapped. As he did so, Pammy jumped. Three dark haired young women clad in diaphanous white dresses floated into the bathroom, making things a trifle snug. Each balanced a tall earthenware jug on their hip, from which lines of scented steam rose. ‘Grecian water maidens…’ he announced, before adding, ‘though really at the moment there’s a bit of a dearth of qualified water bearers so we’ll have to make do with a couple of Sharons and a Doreen from the local tech.’
The three women nodded, uncertainly. The one nearest the bath asked, ‘Can we pour now. My bum’s cramping.’
Gideon waved irritably at her, before turning back to Pammy. ‘What do you think?’
Pammy didn’t know where to start. ‘I think I still need the loo.’
Gideon’s expression which has become uncertain as the bathroom filled with people brightened. ‘Over here.’
Pammy followed Gideon the three steps to another stone box, this with a square wooden lid. Gideon lifted it and they peered inside. Pammy was the first to speak. ‘It’s a hole.’
Gideon frowned. ‘Technically it’s a medieval long drop, which was the state of the art in castle effluvient disposal, circa 1470. If you look closely there’s a small midden. It’s next to the recycling bin.’
‘It doesn’t flush, does it? And where do I wash my hands?’
Gideon looked over his shoulder at an uncertain looking water bearers. ‘One of the Sharons…’
The nearest woman’s expression turned to horror. ‘You never said I’d be a bog washer. Stuff this.’ She dumped her urn and left, followed quickly by the other two.
‘Don’t worry, properly qualified staff will be available when we move in. Now, let’s have a look at the bedrooms. I took inspiration from Versailles for them.’
Pammy groaned. ‘What about the kitchen?’
‘Of you’ll love it. When I saw Downton Abbey I knew exactly…’
Pammy pushed Gideon out into the hall and shut the door. ‘I’ll have my pee and when I’ve finished we’re going to my mother’s. You go and get the car…’
‘You didn’t sell the car to pay for this?’
‘No, I traded it…’
‘You didn’t get a motorbike. I hate motorbikes…’
‘No, of course not, delectable essence. I’ve a chariot.’
‘Yes, it’s very swish though removing the blades from the wheel hubs was a challenge. And finding an acquiescent pony isn’t easy in Bromley…’
Pammy stood and looked around for some toilet paper. Nothing. That was it, the final straw. She could cope with this house of horrors, sharing her bathroom with three water bearers and even a ridiculous form of transport. But an absence of super soft three ply was too much… There are some modern innovations that cannot be ignored….