Taussat

203 – The Pool

Cleaning the swimming pool here at the villa has become more than a mere menial chore. It’s become an obsession. Or more to the point, a war.

A war against the rotting Beech leaves that lie at the bottom like dead soldiers floating silently among the filamentous algae and strands of spirogyra.

It’s a natural pool that’s cleaned by a series of separate filtration beds containing lily, sedge, water hyacinth and lotus that purify the water. Like this.

pool-filtration-diagram

I remember going on package holidays as a kid to Benidorm and such places, lying in bed in the evenings furiously scratching my eyes out after a day swimming in the hotel pool that had been disinfected with biological weapon grade chlorine. Looking in the mirror in the morning to see a pair of eyes so bloodshot it looked like I’d been out all night snorting cocaine cut with asbestos.

This industrial level chlorination was probably necessary to stop the pool turning yellow from all the dumb English kids like me peeing into it after drinking four gallons of Coca-cola every lunchtime and dinner. And then later on in the evening when all the adults came back from the bars smashed out of their heads. Diving in for a midnight dip and while they were there pushing out a barrel or two of San Miguel into the lovely chemical broth that was their hotel pool.

There’s no problem of itchy eyes with this pool. Although if you pee in it, it goes yellow as there’s no chlorine or other chemicals to mask it. But that doesn’t happen here. This is Arcachon innit, not facking Benidorm!

swimming pool

The only drawback of this natural pool system is that it needs to be maintained properly. It shouldn’t need any maintenance at all in theory, being natural. But rarely does trying to replicate nature truly work. So like a garden, there’s always work to be done. Namely in the form of me, Philip ‘Oggers’ Ogley, removing leaves and algae.

This is what I use in my war:

 

 

None have been particularly effective. The Pool Robot has a mind of its own and simply stays underwater in the far corner sulking. The Underwater Hoover, while incredibly powerful (it’s German) tends to churn up the algae from the bottom the minute you turn it on, making it almost impossible to see what you’re doing. The Pool Net, while at first glance appears the most sensible option, is actually the most tedious. Especially when the tiny sodden leaves appear to swim away the minute I bring the net near them.

Yesterday however, after a long day, I thought I’d nailed it. Cleaned it of leaves. Rid it of algae once and for all. But alas, when I looked into it this morning, the bottom of the pool looked the same as the day I arrived. Filthy. Like a mattress in a brothel after a busy night.

I charged into the shed, woke up the Underwater Hoover, the Pool Robot and the Pool Net from their slumber and gave them a bollocking like they had never heard. So much so that the depressed Pool Robot even peed its pool nappy (as I call it) – it’s an underwater hoover bag that’s meant to collect all the leaves and algae off the bottom. But doesn’t.

I accepted their apologies and we got back to work. We have until the end of March to make it look as clear and as inviting as a freshly poured glass of vodka. The battle continues.

This is a short video of me talking about it all:

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Taussat

202 – The Gallo-Roman Villa at Andernos And Other Attractions

It was Sunday and with nothing better to do other than look out of the window wondering whether it was going to rain, I decided to risk it and go for a walk.

I had planned to do it during the week, but with so many unpredictable downpours, as though the entire climatic system of the area had been plumbed into a faulty shower, I kept postponing it.

Until today. When it looked fine (ish). Continue reading

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Taussat

201 – What do you actually do, Blogley?

My main profession – if you can call it a profession – is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, commonly known as TEFL – a horrible word for a horrible profession.

The result of a five week course I did in Nottingham in 2000 paid for by money I earnt testing anticoagulant drugs for AstraZeneca. £1800 for 9 days in hospital where I was injected with drugs and then bled to see how long it took to clot. Continue reading

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Taussat

200 – Blogley at 200

When I started this blog I thought it would stretch to twenty or so posts about my year in Lyon. Then I would return to the UK and forget about it. Consign it to the digital graveyard.

Three and a half years later and I’m still writing it. Twenty posts has ended up as two hundred. Two hundred posts on 21st century France with plenty of my ill-thought-out wisdom thrown in for good measure. Continue reading

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Taussat

199 – The Pool Boy

When I left Lyon and my teaching job in July 2013, I had no idea I would end up as a Pool Boy a year and a half later.

It’s not my full job title, of course. My full title is le gardiennage, which translates as warden, housekeeper, caretaker, or security guard depending on what dictionary you use. I’m all of those things and none of them, as the translation doesn’t tell the whole picture. Odd job maintenance man is better, or as I prefer, general lackey with pool duties. (I just like the word lackey for some reason.) Continue reading

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Taussat

198 – JG Ballard and the Madness of the Arcachon Basin

I’ve never lived on a beach before. Not that living on a beach is any better than anywhere else. It was just a thought as I wandered down to the sea this morning to breathe in the ion-charged air that blows off the bay and was purported in the 19th century to cure madness. Continue reading

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Taussat

197 – The Lanton Pancake Run

After five days here, I’ve realised that I don’t live in Andernos-Les-Bains at all. I live in Taussat-Les-Bains, which is the next village up.

And to add to the confusion, I was just about to change the title of the Blog, when I noticed on a letter that my official address is actually in Lanton, another village 4 km down the coast. So I left it as it was. For now… Continue reading

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196 – Blogley on the Arcachon Bay

The Blogley Roadshow has moved on. Or to put it slightly less dramatically, I simply shoved a few pants into a bag and drove down the D106 to my new home in Andernos-Les-Bains on the Arcachon Basin. Famous for seafood, gentle weather and the setting for countless French films depicting well-heeled Parisiennes sitting around eating oysters, arguing and drinking wine. Continue reading

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