Sunday, 16 August 2009

Tales from the Bathroom

I don't have a lot of luck with bathrooms.

Bathrooms in Turkey come in all shapes and sizes and the facilities vary enormously.

They are often large because it's normal practise to have plumbing for washing machines in them, as well as sockets for electric plugs. The Turks have no concept of the danger of mixing electricity with water, and think nothing of plugging in an electric heater to keep them warm whilst they are splashing about in the shower. And the showers don't normally have screens or curtains either...and often no shower base...usually a hole in the floor for the water to drain away.

There was the bathroom in Gumusluk... with just a shower and no hot water. The one in Turgutreis springs to mind because of the problems with the lavatory cistern. It leaked every time you flushed. We got a man in to fix it (I am reluctant to call him a plumber) who fixed the leak, but an hour after he left the leak was back, plus another one. The second "plumber" fixed the leaks, but soon after he left it wouldn't flush at all. I know nothing about plumbing, but in desperation, I dismantled the entire cistern...laid all the pieces out on the floor, then proceeded to put them back together again. More by extreme good luck than solved the problem. Although don't ask me how...and I'd never attempt it again.

One of the apartments we rented in Side used to be a pansiyon (B & B), so every room had an adjoining bathroom (including the sitting room). As we had more than enough bathrooms for our needs, I used this one as a kind of store cupboard and I also put my washing machine in there. There wasn't plumbing for a washing machine in this particular one, so I attached the inlet hoses to the washbasin taps, and I just stuck the outlet hose into the lavatory. Always remembering, of course, to close the lavatory seat when the washing machine was in use, to prevent the outlet hose leaping out and splashing soapy water everywhere.

Oh and how could I forget the bathroom in our temporary accommodation in Ceyhan (those of you who have followed my journey may remember this one)...a tap coming out of the wall...very rarely any water...and a squat toilet that had no flushing mechanism.

Our apartment in Avanos had an enormous bathroom. I should have been a little suspicious about the fact that when the landlord was showing us around, for some reason he couldn't unlock the bathroom door. We just took his word for it that the bathroom was good. However, when we moved in we discovered that the only fixtures in this huge bathroom were a washbasin and a tap coming out of the wall...oh and plumbing for the washing machine. No shower or lavatory.

In our house in Goreme, the previous tenant had replaced the squat toilet with a normal one. The problem being that it wasn't facing forward in the small narrow room, but sideways on facing the there was absolutely no room to sit on it except sideways on. Two "plumbers" later and a lot of mess...and the toilet was facing the right way. The shower room was separate in the house, and extremely cold. The pipes froze up in the cold Cappadocian winter, and even when they thawed out, the shower room walls and ceiling were covered with at least an inch of ice, which I had to break with the broom handle. Needless to say we didn't have many showers during the winter.

A couple of days after we moved into the second of our apartments in Selcuk, I had problems with the bathroom door handle. It was the round type that you locked on the inside by pushing a button in the centre of the handle. I noticed it was a little stiff and difficult to open and close, so I didn't close it whilst I was using the bathroom. Mr Ayak returned from work that day, hot and sweaty, and set off to have a shower. I warned him..twice as I recall...about the door handle and advised him not to close it. So what did he do? Yes...he closed it, and when he'd finished he couldn't get out...the lock had jammed. There were no windows in there, no other way out. So we spent the next hour on either side of the door, me armed with the toolbox, and Mr Ayak armed with anything he could lay his hands on...toothbrush, razor, cotton buds, etc....trying to remove the handle.

After a great deal of effort (and a fit of giggles on my part which didn't go down well) we removed the handle, which left a hole in the door about an inch in diameter...but it still wouldn't open. So I passed the tiniest screwdrivers and other tools through the hole to enable Mr Ayak to remove the locking mechanism...bit by very small bit...until at last the door was open. ...with Mr Ayak sweating so profusely that he had to have another shower.

In our current house, I noticed shortly after I moved in that there was a very small leak from one of the shower taps. It got a little worse, and I stupidly mentioned it to Mr Ayak...who armed with his favourite tool...the hammer...set about fixing it. Not only did he break the tiles surrounding the taps, but he also damaged the taps. New ones purchased and a man to fix them and all was well. Sure enough a while later the leak appeared again....and again Mr Ayak "fixed" it with the hammer.

Well now, of course, Mr Ayak is away working, and the leak has got steadily worse. To such an extent that I have now had to switch the water off at the mains. I spoke to Mr Ayak on the phone and much as he would like to get home to fix it, I'm relieved to say that he can't get away. He has however promised to phone around to try and find a "plumber" to fix it as soon as this space.

As I said...I don't have a great deal of luck with bathrooms.


My neighbour arrived a short time ago with a man in tow...who had been telephoned by Mr Ayak this afternoon. He has just repaired the took him 5 minutes! Now I'm really beginning to wonder if it was necessary for Mr Ayak to break the tiles and the previous taps with his hammer after all? It's a good job he's away at the moment or he would really get a piece of my mind!


  1. At last I have hit one of your blog posts the same day that you actually posted - r e s u l t!

    First of all I love your new header picture - I've got the sweetest tooth in the world and even looking at pictures of sweet things makes me happy.

    All your bathroom stories sound more catastrophic than the proceeding one.I would not have been able to cope! You are made of stern stuff, Mrs A

    (Mr FF is in bed now - it's his turn to have the bad back)

  2. did you spot my deliberate mistake? It should of course have been preceeding not proceeding

    Blogger - give us an Edit button!

  3. FF: Yes I knew it was a deliberate mistake...just to keep me on my toes haha!

    I think I am probably made of stern stuff...I never gave it much thought really. But remembering all these incidents makes me realise I have put up with a great deal since I moved here.

    I heard Mr FF had injured his back. Oh can be so "difficult" when they're poorly!

    (I'm just about to add an edit to my post)

  4. Gosh, Ayak - I'm a bit ashamed to say that I actually laughed out loud at some of your bathroom misadvantures... I'm sorry, but the way that you describe them... some end up sounding quite funny, really.
    I remember at some point when we were looking for an apartment in Lisbon, when I was expecting my second baby, we were shown one that had a toilet in the kitchen. I'm serious. I always thought that I lived in a relatively modern city - it's the nation's CAPITAL, for goodness sake! A toilet in the kitchen...
    Needless to say, we bought another apartment.

  5. In the kitchen?? Good grief Astro. No wonder you didn't buy it.

    Oh and don't worry about laughing...I laugh at my misadventures..particularly when Mr Ayak locked himself in...he wasn't laughing I hasten to add!

  6. I have seen my share of lavatory´s in toilet so I have a mental picture of what you have been through.

    Water on the floor....I just can´t stand it.

    Even in the hotels there always seems to be issue´s and everything looks half done.

    But I really do like the little tap at the back. Brilliant invention, wish we had it here.

  7. Oh yes. the built in bidet tap in the toilet. An excellent invention. I forgot to mention that I have had a fair few problems with that little gadget too!!


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