Concrete & rubbish – tales from my balcony

Haven’t blogged in a while but then that is because half way through August I decided, as most Sicilians do, that it was too hot to do anything. So hot, in fact, that I also decided to go on holiday to cooler climes.

Since I have been back, I have been too busy re-adapting and overcoming post-holiday blues to post anything here. There has been plenty going on to occupy my day. For one, I have had to clean more than usual due to the fact that they have been digging up the car park where we live and it is way too hot to keep the doors closed.

We live in a condominium. When I was younger I used to think living in a ‘condo’ was exotic as I had only ever heard the word condo mentioned when an American on a tv show referred to their ‘condo’ in the Bahamas. Little did I realise that it was just a group of apartments behind a fence – a gated community. Well, it is here anyway. We have a car park with some garages underneath (about 6). Water has started leaking into the garages so everyone has had to cough up to have the car park resurfaced and made watertight. Unbelievable when you consider that the apartment  building we are living in isn’t exactly watertight and bits of it are falling apart. But in this crazy world we live in the garages have been deemed more important. So for the past few weeks I have been amusing myself by watching two men, using one little concrete mixer, resurface the car park with a little trowel. One or two residents have gone up and told the men that they aren’t doing the job correctly and that it isn’t going to work, to which they replied ‘It’s too hot’. More men came and pointed a lot, I guess giving them instructions, to which the builder replied ‘I am not going to do that’. So the reality is that we will be left with an uneven car park that still leaks water into the garages below (when it does rain that is!) and the two builders will walk away with a massive sum of money which they obviously are not going to invest in new equipment so that they can do the job better next time they are called to do it.

Apparently, we live in a ‘really nice area’. This is what I am told when I tell people where I live, followed by ‘you lucky thing’.  Hmmm, well…. people in nice areas don’t always tend to be nice. We have a ‘portiere’ or caretaker who ‘takes care’ of people’s business ; he knows and sees everything. Dangerous! He also takes care of our post which is why we get most things sent to the in-laws. I try and avoid the other residents because I usually just get scowled at and I hate that. Most of them have cleaners even though they don’t work and I have heard a few racist comments that I don’t care for.

Our apartment has a great  view of the sea which means that we overlook the fact that the every time the wind catches and slams the door shut, a bit of the wall comes away. Not really sure anymore what is holding the door-frame in place. We also discovered that the gas boiler and the oven hood are connected which is obviously very dangerous. The plumber was so concerned about this that he forgot to come back and fix the problem. He just scared the hell out of us instead. I no longer use the oven extractor fan.

The other thing about where we live is that it can be incredibly noisy when it shouldn’t be. Every morning a rubbish truck parks in the car park outside the complex and makes the most horrific screeching noise. You see, they don’t collect rubbish here, they wait for you to bring it to them. We once suggested that they added a bit of oil to which they replied ‘We don’t have the money’. When they are not there they have a standard wheelie bin, that in the UK one household would have, to collect the rubbish for 100 households. Actually, there are four of them, but one is for paper, one for plastic etc etc. The recycling thing is for show but we try and fool ourselves that it actually happens. The one thing I am surprised and somewhat concerned about, since the car park it is in is for a nursery school, is that they have a really little bin that always stays in the car park where people can dispose of unused medicines, needles etc. We found it open once or twice. I wouldn’t park in that car park either. Smaller lorries go around other car parks and bring the rubbish back to the one near us. Therefore, it is more like a rubbish tip than a car park. They then tip the rubbish from the smaller truck into the larger one. In the meantime, we are told to throw our rubbish in as they are doing this. You wouldn’t dare question if this is safe or not. Once one of the bin men went off to do his shopping for a couple of hours instead of manning the truck, cue big argument with his colleague on his return. The guilty one didn’t seem to think he had done anything wrong. He justified it by saying ‘I have a family, my wife keeps breaking my balls, what should I do?’ Umm, your job?

So you see, there is always some free entertainment on offer where we live. It involves concrete and rubbish which must be what makes the area a ‘really nice area to live in, you lucky thing’.

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