The compound was originally conceived for the other multi-national, most of whose employees come from a land of huge white household appliances with bizarre current/voltage arrangements. To make these folk feel at home, special circuits were installed so that we could enjoy native-to-them washing machines and dryers - ones that could easily accommodate a small elephant, should one be visiting. The top-loading washing machine uses GALLONS of water, no matter how low one sets the water level, and having a central agitator, is great at shredding clothes and said elephant. I have always wanted to replace these monsters with a tidy front-loader that would spin out enough of the water that I could also dispense with the gargantuan dryer. I don't ever use the dryer as it is dry enough in the house for most articles to be bone stiff dry within 24 hours when hung on a clothes horse. That replacement is my next project.
Along with this foreignness, the appliances selected are the most basic and unsophisticated I have ever seen. They are cutting edge design from an era before even I was born.
The fridge was not frost free. It had a cunning arrangement with a fan at the back of the freezer that filled with chunks of ice. Then it would groan and growl and stop working. We were on to our third fridge (in four years!) and frankly, I had enough.
We decided we would buy a small overflow fridge, to put the extra contraband (ie p*rk) in it, from our shopping excursions overseas. We'd looked at a few in the shops and Marius did his research, pronouncing the model we would purchase. Which is why it only took as a few moments to select a completely different one, with side-by-side doors, and a brilliant, non-space wasting interior.
We have pushed the old dinosaur into the back utility room, where it compromises every other use of the space and continues to grumble. The kitchen itself is now quiet, filled only with a gentle hum.
When we moved in, we asked if we could have the appliances removed and we would replace them ourselves (own account in expat-speak) but we were told we would have to store them in the house and we would be responsible for them (so we couldn't leave them outside) which is why we persevered for so long. I have a plan though ...
Marius has signed a contract and has had his new position and promotion approved by all the Boards and Masters, so now it is official that we will stay (groan) here in Exile for another three years. We are hoping to move to a different villa in the middle of the year - which will be bigger (necessary for two adults, three cats and very occasional visits from offspring, I know), have its own small pool so that I will be safe to do my hydrotherapy without risk of being jumped on by uncontrolled children, and thankfully removed from the insane common-wall noise of our neighbours.
When the blessed day arrives and we shift abode (about 400 metres I reckon) I will stand high up on my pedestal and demand the removal of the offending appliances and quietly replace them with decent, 21st century ones.
I have done something irresponsible and possibly foolish this morning: I bowed to Wolfe's incessant demands to go out, after being incarcerated since Sunday. As soon as I released her I abused myself: no, you fool, on your head be it, and so on. She was out for ooh, twenty minutes (yes, long enough to cross the fence and poison herself, I know) and is now back inside. I told her not to eat anything while she was out and to come back quickly. I pray she has not made herself ill.
Macc also took advantage of the open garden door and is still out patrolling his estate - but he is in no danger of poisoning I believe, because he has never climbed out and is too fat and unco-ordinated to start now.
Two of Seams' May kittens seem to have survived the slaughter - so far - and one of hers from the November -ish litter. Black Tom was still well last night although I haven't seen or heard him this morning. On Sunday I managed to catch LG and put her in a cat carrier (all by myself! such strength and dexterity!) and later that evening we caught the little ginger cat 'Tiny Tim' as well. They are both at my friend's house in protective custody. Tim was very sick on Monday and we were ready to take him to the Vet to be put down, but he has recovered. He must have only had a little poison.
The last of LG's kittens was on my doorstep on Monday morning, huddled up and ill; she has since died and is lying on the golf course side of the fence. There are little bodies everywhere but we can't get to them to bury them or remove them because of the wall and fence.
We have tried to find out what poison was used and how long it will persist, to no avail. As we have virtually no rain here, it isn't going to be washed away, is it? When will it be safe to let Wolfe out and to release LG? My friend R is trying to re-house Tiny Tim. He has a reasonable chance as he is still young and cute, whereas LG is a street cat and although she is very sweet and I adore her, most people would not think she is pretty - and that seems to be the deciding factor for finding a home here.
|'Tiny Tim', in November 2011|
|One of Seams' May kittens, 'Helmet' has survived so far, |
but his cute, beret-wearing sister succumbed to the poison
We are trying to give the surviving cats heaps of food in the hope that they won't be interested in the baits. Their lives are in the laps of the gods.
And still no signs of Ratty ....