We arrived in Breb, our little medieval village, tucked on the end of the Carpathian mountains in Northern Transylvania on May 12th 2009.
“Daddy” Claudia said “ Will there be any water in the house when you arrive?”
“ washing machine”
Um sort of Claudia”
Claudia smiled that ‘ only my dad can say things like that’ smile “What do you mean sort of Dad?”
There is a toilet in the garden, you know, the ones that have a whole cut in a plank of wood and…
“Daddy, how long will it take for you to put a toilet and shower in the house?”
Um… can me and Angus go and visit Grandma for… three weeks whilst you sort it all out?” followed by the big big ‘ please daddy’ smile.
I woke up in the middle of the first night needing the service of a clean, polished normal toilet. “ Oh shit” I said out loud as I remembered where we were putting my shoes on. I crept out into the garden and followed the path the neighbor had cut with his ‘ grim reaper’ scythe to show me the way. I lifted the rusting latch using the light from my mobile phone. There was a huge black spider around head height in the crease of the doorway. I shone the light down into the black hole, but like the one in the sky, no light penetrated it.
‘If a big black spider lives up there’, I thought as I turned around to sit down ‘What lives down there?’. I dropped my crown jewels into the unknown and thought of Claudia in her own en suit at Grandma’s.
The next day, I had to pay another visit, I couldn’t find a stick to get rid of the spider so I grabbed a hammer lying on the kitchen table. I started off on the walk down the track to the ancient wooden shed at the bottom of the garden and noticed the neighbor watching my every move. Being a ‘foreigner’ in Breb you are often looked at with interests you are different and do things in a different way. Going for a shit and why you would need to take a hammer with you would obviously be the subject of conversation at breakfast with his wife.
I smiled and waved, stupidly with the hand holding the hammer and went in.
The spider had gone, not a trace.
I looked down into the black hole, you could see the forming of a galaxy in there now with specs of white paper appearing a good few feet down. I again said good bye to my lunch box and hoped for the best.
I’m imaging things… there is nothing touching me down there, but id does feel like SOMETHING is down there. I polished and added my newly created star, only to find it hovering a few inches under the plank
The entire seat was covered in a spider web, except were I had manage to puncture it. I replaced the feeling of needing to go for a crap with one of feeling sick. There is something living down there; its that’s spider or, maybe loads of them.
Getting a toilet up and running in the house went from, “We’ll do that in the first week” to “Penny get in the car we’re going to Baia Mare, now, to buy a toilet”.
I told penny of my concern about the Willie monster and she thought it was rather amusing. “ Its all right for you” I said ”You don’t have as much to loose as I do when you go”
Bill, we’ll get the new toilet in and everything will be fine.
On our return, again nature called. I went in with the relief of knowing it was daylight and I could see into what was becoming the milky way clearing. I cleared the spiders web away with the hammer that had been left in there and went about my business.
“Shit, theres a bee in here” I looked up at were the spider used to live, and all around me. I broke into a bit of cold sweat “ Its down there”. I tried to levitate whilst the boule movements flowed but it was not easy. I was wearing wellies, and well weary wellies that are higher than the toilet plank present a problem for where you can drop your trousers to, I struggled away and thought of going on a hunger strike till the toilet was in.
Claudia and Angus arrived to the sound of a flushing loo and hot water coming out of the shower “ Dad, you even put in a washing mashing, I’m impressed I have spent most of my life in a house without a washing machine, progress!”
After five years of set backs with one thing or another, tsunamis and Croatian bureaucracy and Ramadan we were finally in a position where we could easy build a house this summer. We know what were doing now, we have a good team of five guys, that.. sort of know how to build a house. The odds were finally not against us… well you should know us by now. To do things the easy way, well that’s boring , so we spiced up our plan for our four months stay in Maramures and have decided to build 5 houses, not one.
That was then. It’s the end of July now. Sasha has joined us having finished school and is loving her first job of working with the builders during the day and spending an equal amount of time down the bar in the evenings with them. We are about half way through our fairly ambitious scope of works and are hoping to finish before the end of September when we, like the migrating birds, fly south once again for the winter.