The night of my birthday, exhausted but happy, I really wanted a bath. A deep relaxing soak with lots and lots of bubbles. I had been a little disappointed on the first night in our apartment when I couldn't find the plug to the bath - a problem not common in France where the type of plugs that are usually used are not actually removable, but powered by a special knob or handle on the bath itself. But while searching the apartment for something else, I found, in the back cupboard, the plug.
Now one would assume, that being as someone had actually gone to some effort to put the plug in a "safe place" that I would have thought more deeply about it other than the general glee that I was going to get my bath. But no, as I popped it in and ran the extra deep bath, all I could think about was soaking away my troubles. And as we ate chocolate mousse from the jar (bought on the way home from our favourite little greengrocer) soaking until fingertips pruned and skin was waterlogged I gave very little thought to the bath plug.
It was not until later, wrapped in a huge white towel and brushing my teeth that I went to empty the bath and realised something important. Plugs in Australia have a little handle, so that you can reach in to the tepid and soapy water and fish it out. Occasionally this will be slippery and aggravating, and invariably my sleeve gets soaked, but in the scheme of things, I don't think much about plugs.
Except, as I went to reach my hand into the cold water, I remembered something pertinent - there was no little handle. There was also no little lip. The way my French plug had fitted, was like a cork, deeply into the drain with a smooth, shiny top. A smooth shiny top now covered in about 100kg of water. I finished brushing my teeth and stared at the bath. I tried to turn the knob that usually releases the plug, hoping that miraculously that the reason why the plug had been hidden in the first place was not because of a malfunctioning plug knob thing. But of course, this was ridiculous.
So I did the only sensible thing that one can do in the circumstances, and went to bed, hoping that somehow overnight the plug would have magically removed itself, perhaps sitting on the bench courtesy of the French Plumbing Fairy that takes pity on stupid tourists on their birthday.
Sunday morning, I woke up late and headed to the bathroom, averting my eyes from the bath. Finally peeking to realise that no, the bitch French Plumbing Fairy had not come, and the bath was as full as ever. Except the water was now freezing cold. I fiddled some more, I opened the secret door under the bath to the plumbing, and cocked my head in a knowledgeable way coming up with the pertinent finding that we were fucked. Because I'm sure that finding a plumber on a Sunday morning in Paris would be an easy and inexpensive task.
I got back into bed, curled up into Bingley, and decided to go back to sleep, because surely it would be better when I woke up. Dreaming of MacGuyver like ingenious methods to remove the plug including superglue or a plunger.
Bingley however, appraised of the plug situation, and being an Engineer, whose sole purpose in life is to "fix things" got out of bed. I could hear him circling the bathtub much as I had done, gaining the general understanding of the lay of the land, and of the way that things which are supposed to work that were not working. And I wondered when he too would come round to my superglue method. I heard occasional swishing noises, then splashing noises, and then, gratifyingly, the sound of the plug being ceremoniously removed.
And when I went into the bathroom a little later to brush my teeth it was sitting there, on the bench, just as I'd hoped, with a mysteriously mangled coke bottle and a slightly smug expression on Bingley's face, at the conquered plug which had not foiled him! The knight who had bested the plug and saved the damsel in distress, while I hid it back in it's corner cupboard and didn't have another bath while we were in France...