2 August 2008

The Stigma of a Cloudy Pool ……

It’s a disaster. An absolute disaster. My pool has gone cloudy and has been doing a good impression of a cup of coffee into which a whole load of Crème de Menthe has been poured. It doesn’t smell quite as bad as that concoction I just mentioned but for my pool to go a dirty, greeny, brown colour at the height of the swimming season is an appalling social tragedy.

It started about two weeks ago and suspiciously happened just as Tan and Angie’s pool next door became crystal clear after a period of being a bit greenish around the sides. Now their pool glistens and gleams and draws admiring glances whilst people who visit my place express their deepest sympathy and don’t let their kids near it. When people phone up to ask if they can ‘pop round’ we have to tell them that the pool is unwell and more often than not, they don’t ‘pop round’. It’s like having a kid with chicken pox – they avoid you like the plague.

Now for those of you who have not had the mind numbing responsibility of looking after a pool it is a fairly easy matter. You continue to throw in bucket-fulls of chlorine powder or blocks until the children start to come out with whiter skin than when they went in. If you’ve really overdone it, their swimming costumes will have dissolved. So getting a nice balance is critical. I use the cats for this purpose. Don’t give them any milk or access to water and so they are forced to drink from the pool. If they have a few licks and leave contentedly you have a good balance but if they start rolling about with their legs in the air, their hair standing on end and with their eyes wide and staring (see picture above) then you are almost at the point where children, not just their costumes would start dissolving.

So getting a clear pool is easy – it just costs a fortune in chlorine. However, once it goes dirty then it’s a whole new ball game trying to clear it as there can be several possible causes;

1. Angie next door has thrown a load of sand in my pool so that her’s looks cleaner
2. All the dogs in the neighbourhood come during the night for a swim
3. The pipe for our septic tank has mysteriously re-routed itself and is leaking into the pool
4. Julie is having a wee every time she goes for a swim – this counteracts the chlorine and so algae grows faster
5. The local pool cleaning company is sabotaging my pool so that they get a lucrative contract to clean it up.

It sounds a bit pretentious to say that the situation is so bad that it is difficult to stand on the terrace with one’s Gin and Tonic and look at the pool…...but it is. When the lights are switched on it looks like an illuminated sewage farm. I’ve had nightmares about it – when I wake up from one of these awful dreams where my pool is a stinking, algae-green mass, I initially think it must’ve been a movie I was watching last night (Psycho - where the villain pushes a car into a green swamp) but then I notice my ‘pool owners encyclopaedia’ ( all 691 pages of it) by my bedside and then I know it’s true. It wasn’t a dream.

So today I have thrown another ton and a half of chlorine powder into the pool. They say that having a boat is like throwing pound notes (should be euro notes really) into the sea. Well as far as I am concerned having a pool is like throwing money into a hole in the ground that’s full of (green) water.

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