Friday, 19 October
Our bathroom is finished, more or less. The ceiling, once barely above our heads, is now 11 or 12 feet high. The whole room is tiled up to 2 meters and painted white above that. The tiles are all large, white, and oblong except the shower walls, the base of the shower, and a column in the back corner of the room, which are all done in tiny (1/2 inch?) tiles, very glittery shades of cobalt with some silver tiles mixed in. Yes, it’s as pretty as we had hoped it would be. Hard to believe, at last we have a bathroom that is both functional and truly beautiful!
A woman (the sister of Petros, the contractor) came and gave it (and the whole house) a thorough cleaning and now the bathroom sparkles, literally. It all looks very clean and tidy; there’s more room to move around and more room in the shower. There are three elegant lights hanging down from above.
I only had to spend one night in the Queen Olga Hotel and Demetrios toughed it out at home even that night, with a totally empty bathroom except for the freshly-laid tiles. Not I. Thirty-two Euros were, I say, well worth the single room with no view of the sea and Mt. Olympus, but with a working toilet (Hallelujah!) a tiny but real shower (Praise the Lord!), air conditioning (Glory to God!) a single bed, a TV, telephone, and clean towels. Those were all I needed (desperately ).
We still don’t have a washing machine because it broke after 4 loads of laundry. That’s a long story and part of it has to do with the fact that the instructions came in Romanian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Czech, Polish, Croatian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, and Estonian – but not English. Or French or German, which I could perhaps have deciphered. Greek, yes, but Demetrios was exhausted and, well, it wasn’t his fault, or mine either. But between us we made some sort of horrible mistake, still aren’t sure what, and when at last we were able to open the lid of the washer, we found the drum absolutely mangled. We had to buy a whole new machine (why is another long story) which we did today. Different brand, same brand I used to have before all this began but in a small version. English instructions. To be delivered Thursday afternoon. Hope our clothes supply can hold out until then. I’ve been doing some things by hand – as most of the world’s women have done throughout most of human history, I remind myself. (Nausicaa, the mythical princess in Corfu who met Odysseus, had been doing the palace laundry at the time. She and her maidens had brought it down to the sea and spread it out over the rocks in the shallows and they danced over the laundry until they were tired and it was clean. Who but the Greeks would think of that? I wish I could dance over mine.)
The other unfinished business is, the bathroom still has no door! And that’s because what started out as just a bathroom door – you know, plain, pre-fab, off-white door minus any decoration – somehow turned into a Work of Art.
It began because the space for the door isn’t a standard height or width. (This is an old building.) We needed a custom door. (That’s “bespoke” for you Brits.)
And then Demetrios noticed that the man selling plain doors didn’t seem to have any of very good quality.
So we went to a store near Mena’s house that we’ve noticed for years. There you can see a downright confusing array of doors with panels, swirls, squares, diamonds, lines, whatever, in dozens of different colors and quite a range of sizes. You can even have a photograph enlarged and worked into your door. We still wanted just a plain, off-white door to match all our other interior doors, just better quality than we had seen so far. And custom fitted.
And then the man showed us the glass doors. Glass, for a bathroom door? Well, not glass you can see through, but frosted glass, textured glass, solid-colored glass – and fusion glass. It’s highly textured, colored art glass, and we fell in love with it, specifically with some containing our cobalt blue, plus splashes of other colors.
We couldn’t afford to have a whole door in it, and that might have looked odd anyway. But we are having this glass put in what would be the top panel of the door if it had three panels. Which it hasn’t because it’s still, otherwise, a plain, off-white door. To be delivered – ouch! – the first week in November.
Until then, the doorless bathroom is slightly awkward, but then, there are only two of us. We manage rather easily to give one another all the privacy we need, if not all we’d like.
Anyway, for now everything’s done that can be, and we are free at last to start having some fun! We have been, mind you; here and then; I just haven’t had time to write about it yet. I shall soon. But for now, we’re off to Kastoria tomorrow and Sunday with Mena, Renna, and Theodosios.
St. Demetrios Day will soon be here (October 26) and we need to start planning that, as well. And two days after that, Ochi Day, which after last year’s events on that day, ought to be very interesting indeed, no matter what happens or doesn’t.