Normally I would not consider myself a wimp. I may not be Tarzan or some other he-man, but I consider myself a ‘man’ if you know what I mean.

We had special guests coming. When I say ‘we’, I mean our house partners were having guests and as we share the courtyard and terrace their guests are in part ‘our’ guests.

Therefore we, that is the wife and I, were working on sprucing up the communal areas; you know the normal, cleaning and painting that sort of thing – nothing clever or challenging.

Okay, painting the top of the stairwell, precariously perched on very little, over a three metre plus drop to the concrete, was a bit challenging. I suppose the painting on the roof over the stairs was also a challenge having to step in the right place the forfeit being a rather dramatic descent four plus metres to the concrete below. I did rather well on the roof until I tried to leave the tricky bit for the more substantial roof when the solid, firm, trustworthy substantial roof gave way under my manly weight and my foot plunged through with a violent impact on the less substantial roof which didn’t break. Okay, it was dented and unhappy with me, but it didn’t break unlike the substantial roof, the edge of which was clearly broken. The paint in my hand had a nice flight and landed on the substantial roof – well, it needed painting anyway.

I walked on the substantial roof with far more delicacy and respect – if it let me down once, it could do it again. Maybe tip-toeing on the substantial roof wasn’t very manly – and although crashing through the roof with splintered roofing material and paint flying every which way may have looked a manly thing to do, I wished to refrain.

Some of the painting required standing on a… well the Turkish word is ‘eşek’ which means ‘donkey’, but I wasn’t standing on a donkey per se, it was a large (and heavy) plank of wood. At one end it rested on our tall ladder, near the top, and at the other at the top of our number two ladder. The plank is long and in the middle, in its former life in the house, there were two large nails driven into it, now there are only holes – splintered and gaping holes. Not the most comforting thing when you are standing in the middle, two meters off the cement floor, painting and the action of painting is causing a bouncing motion.

“Hmm,” says I, “will this action encourage the eşek to part company in the middle….”

Everything was going well. I painted. I plastered. I fitted a light and a switch in the wood store and another one under the opposite stairs.

The problem came with the cleaning. Now I am not saying this to get out of cleaning. Cleaning is good – there is a certain satisfaction of starting with a mess and cluttered area and ending with a clean and orderly space. The problem is you need to use the broom.

Now it doesn’t sound like a challenge does it?

Only a wimp would have trouble with a wee broom.

But there you have it. I grabbed the broom to commence sweeping and the pain was immediately apparent. I thought it would pass. It didn’t. I wanted to let go of the broom. I did.

The broom is not special. It is a normal, cheap, standard broom with a plastic head and plastic bristles. The handle is made up of a light weight, hollow metal tube. It was left in the courtyard – awaiting the time I would use it.

Lying there, minding it’s own business, doing nothing clever, enjoying the sun, soaking up the rays, tanning if you will.

It was the ‘soaking up of the rays’ that was causing my discomfort. The handle was, well, too hot to handle. I didn’t think I was a wimp, but I can’t hold a broom!


So I decided to move the ladder so as to be ready to clean under where it stood when the broom, now sequestered in the shade should cool off somewhat and the handle become handleable. I walk over to the tall ladder – and it is tall. I grasp the ladder in two hands. Or should I say, I grasp the aluminium ladder that has been basking in the sun with my two hands.

I didn’t take it far. It, too, had been ‘soaking up the rays’. It, too, had a way of communicating with my hands that was hard to ignore. Very hard to ignore. It too was too hot to handle.

Okay, maybe I am a wimp.

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