Relinquishing our seaside scenery for comfort of indoors

Torbay Weekly

I found myself standing over our family bathroom sink, plunger in hand, one recent Sunday.

What had led me to this remarkable moment? It had been an enjoyable weekend up to that point, quietly busy.

Early Saturday saw the usual coffee quest with my husband but, as we hopped into the car and began to discuss which of our preferred viewpoints to visit, I was suddenly struck by the realisation that we were no longer limited to lolling around in our car at some pretty vista, takeaway coffee in hand and binoculars trained on any majestic boats in the Bay - no!

We could actually sit inside a cafe and drink from a china receptacle!

It was, in truth, rather an overwhelming revelation; were we ready to relinquish our seaside scenery for the comfortable ambience of the indoors?

It swiftly turned out we were, but a tricky dilemma was simultaneously invoked: upon which of our historically favourite haunts should we confer our custom?

My husband made a suggestion, I responded with a counter offer, and we compromised.

With my choice. It was delightful to sit and chat, once again surrounded by socially distanced like-minded people, sipping expertly-crafted cappuccinos from ceramic cups; such are the small pleasures we once took for granted.

We were due at church later that day. At 2pm, 20 young people and their family bubbles gathered for the parish Sacrament of Confirmation service, a significant occasion that saw the Bishop of the Diocese confirm them in their faith and confer upon them the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

It was a moving celebration, and the presence of so many people in the church, albeit in a safe and carefully managed way, was gladdening to the eye.

The ceremony was followed up for my family by a meal with the grandparents - a rarity these days, but a fine way to spend the evening.

Sunday was filled with the habitual household practices my husband and I share: laundry, ironing, cooking the roast, changing linen.

Late in the afternoon, I put the kettle on and summoned the family for tea.

While it brewed, I resolved to tackle a task that had reared its ugly head a few days previously.

I shone my torch in the hopelessly muddled cupboard under the sink to arm myself with the implement required - avoiding eye contact with any eight-legged fiends that might lurk within - and trotted upstairs to the bathroom.

Which is where I found myself standing over the sink, plunger in hand, primed and ready to go.

I ran the tap and set to work, relishing the gadget's noisy suction, although slightly less enthralled by the water it was spraying all over the bathroom floor.

Our plunger, although merely a basic model, has consistently impressed me with its robust effectiveness in the past, yet I was having little luck with shifting whatever was causing the blockage on this occasion.

I applied myself yet more diligently, pushing down with rapid rigour and hoisting up with a flourish, determined to release the beast.

Aha! My persistence finally paid off as the sink gave up its secrets and foreign objects began to appear, floating into view in the gathering pool of water, or sticking up through the plughole and demanding my intervention with a pair of tweezers for extraction.

By the time the water was swiftly draining 79 away once more, I had harvested, among sundry unidentifiable detritus, a motley crew of alien artefacts: one slender plastic straw; one broken paintbrush; one spongy tube of unknown origin and one chunky piece of Lego.

I couldn't help but smile - teeth only marginally gritted - as I imagined the mischievous glee with which one or more of the children had fed the items through the overflow aperture or the plughole grill.

Apart from being slightly dampened through my enthusiastic exertions, I was none the worse for wear; moreover, the issue had been resolved.

Feeling rather pleased with myself, I headed downstairs for a (well brewed) cuppa and cake.

But I think I'll leave the plunger in the corner of the bathroom from now on, just in case.