I am sitting in my cute little flat in Ljubljana. Every time I tell someone Slovenian that I’m living in the area Trnovo, their eyes widen and they “ooh” and “aw”. It is apparently the Beverly Hills of Ljubljana. To me it’s more Farranree than Beverly Hills. It’s a greyish residential area that’s perfectly nice, but isn’t particularly special. Indeed, the Office Manager at the school where I work told me that it’s not a very nice flat. But then, he’s a bit of a Victor Meldrew. I’ve spoken to him three times and in that time, he’s complained about the weather, his job, his boss, his shoes, the students, the teachers, the internet, my computer, his computer, the classrooms and more. He has also complained about people complaining about the classrooms, the computers and the school. He does all of this with a fabulously world-weary voice, intoning the wrongs that have befallen him like a litany of misery that he is doomed to endure for all eternity.
It’s a one-room flat. And it’s exactly like every single other flat I’ve stayed in in Eastern Europe. The bathroom is brown, very brown, and there is no shower curtain. There is an upside down bucket that I think you’re meant to sit on in the bath so that you don’t soak the bathroom every time you have a shower. I refuse to crouch – I’ll live with a wet bathroom. There is also a top-loading washing machine that drains into the bath. Luckily the drain-pipe is fixed to the bath. I can’t tell you how many times I nearly flooded flats in Poland by forgetting to put the drain pipe in the bath, or in one case shove it into the toilet bowl, as the bath was too far away.
My bed is a fold-out-futon-type thingy. Again, this was always the case in Polish flats, except in one case where the landlady had sawn a double bed in half in order to fit in more tenants – this was the same landlay who accused me of making off with her antique silverware. I hasten to add that I didn’t. You wouldn’t steal from Pani Halina either. She was a powerful woman with a giant siver bun in her hair whose husband used to follow her around carrying her handbag. I did make her cry once, when she saw that I had burnt a cigarette hole in her 1970’s fluorescent green corduroy couch.
The flat here is full of stuff. Full! There is a cupboard full of climbing gear and knick-knacks in great number, there are chemistry books, geography books and Spanish books, there are Russian dolls and model ladybirds, there are little seashells and pieces of coral, there are hundreds of jars and pot plants, alive and dead, there is a variety of clocks and a wicker basket full of cables. However, there is no pillow, no frying pan and no kettle. I think a lot about the woman who lives here during the year. Does she make jam to fill her jars with? Did she swim to the bottom of the sea to find the coral? Does she know what the wires in the wicker basket do? And why, oh why did she have a tub of Vaseline in the fridge?
Project Connor is ticking along, but I’m putting down the pedal tomorrow. The massive amounts of exercise I’ve been doing probably mean that my weigh-in on Sunday won’t be bad, but I haven’t been controlling my eating very well. Anne Robinson is on telly as I write saying “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”. My problem at the moment is that food isn’t even getting that moment on the lips. It’s bypassing the lips as I hoover my meals up with abandon. It’s more a matter of “a millisecond on the plate, a millenium of being overweight”.
Anyway, enough ridiculous overstatements! Good night.