So, it is now official that I do not save my catastrophes for home only. I also manage quite easily to have them in Cambodia too. It is typical of my luck that the loo in my en-suite bedroom got blocked. My stepson and his wife forgot to tell me to be economical with the loo roll. Those closest to me know that loo roll is my one extravagance in life (as if.) We have a problem and no plunger. I suggest asking the landlord. Down we trot only to find he has gone out. I cannot face the thought of a blocked loo all night. Travelling between bedroom and loo is where I get most of my exercise! I suggest asking at the restaurant opposite.
‘They must have to plunge a fair bit,’ I say ‘seeing as they rent out rooms too.’
James agrees but feels less inclined to walk into a restaurant and ask for a plunger. After all he does have to continue living here. However, I don’t speak Khmer. But I agree to have a go. After all I did block the toilet. I walk confidently across and into the restaurant full of dining tourists. Of course, it is at this point I very much want to walk back. How do I explain a blocked toilet in front of all these people who are happily eating? I lean across the bar in the manner of a conspirator. The waitress leans forward expectantly.
‘We have a blocked toilet,’ I whisper.
‘Oh,’ she says.
‘Do you have a plunger?’ I ask while miming the actions of plunging and not very well at that.
I can’t imagine how I look.
‘Oh yes,’ she says and rushes away to return a few minutes later with a large plunger which she diplomatically hands to me behind the counter. I feel like I’m doing a drugs deal.
I walk head held high from the bar swinging the plunger in my hand.
James thrilled that I have obtained one, agrees to do the plunging, except the plunger seems too small. Why am I not surprised? This is me this is happening to after all.
‘It doesn’t seem to have great suction. It’s too small,’ says James.
Too small? Good lord how big does it need to be?
It is then decided, by me. Who else would make such suggestions? That I should hold it over the hole and maybe this will help. James seems unconvinced but searches out some rubber gloves for me. So we try again. It looks rather like we are about to perform an operation and with James being a nurse it all seems quite apt. Still no luck but I spur James on to keep trying as a blocked loo in this heat is too unbearable to even think about. Finally, there is a loud spluttering sound and we are cleared.
I walk across the road to return the plunger to find the restaurant now has more people dining. I look around for someone to hand the plunger to but they are all busy serving. The waitress sees me and smiles. She wanders back behind the bar and holds her hand out. Cringing with embarrassment I hand the plunger across the counter, carefully avoiding the Cointreau bottle.
‘Thanks so much,’ I whisper and hurry back across the road.
Why do I feel this is one of many catastrophes I will have?