Costa Rica Rural Design Exhibition. Exhibit Number One…And Only.


Here are the judges in the local – very local – rural design exhibition.

One is clearly unimpressed…the other curious.

Personally I embodied both views, mixed with incandescent rage of an intensity rarely experienced since leaving la belle France and the crew of overpriced bodgers more politely known as ‘les artisans francais’.

It was, of course, my own fault.

The combination of a cataract and a dodgy  ankle had sent me base over apex while – rashly – clearing the piles of books on the bedside table. Books were scattered in all directions while a despairing grab at the table led to catching my hand in the flex of the bedside lamp which fell to its doom on the tiled floor.

Much untoward language used while hauling my self up and messing off for broom and dustpan to avoid any ceramic splinters being left on the floor to the hazard of passing paws. Needless to say the disaster had attracted a canine audience, though Higher Authority had the good sense to remain at a distance. A muttering woman with a broom is best left well alone…..

I went shopping for a replacement that afternoon in the local Chinese tat emporium, as being the only place in this small town likely to have a bedside lamp.

You can buy a saddle easily enough, change your car tyres or buy clumpy furniture on the never-never, but a bedside lamp is another matter.

It did indeed stock bedside lamps.

One style stood about a foot high with a gold coloured twisted stem and shade in imperial red. Too big – and too red.

Another was miniscule.

One alternative was a ceramic monstrosity in the shape of a boat. It weighed a ton and to say it was kitsch would have been an understatement, but the major factor in determining its rejection was that it reminded me of Captain Pugwash’s ship, the Black Pig, and there was no  way in which I was going to bed every night with the Pugwash theme tune running through my head.

You see what I mean? Once heard never forgotten – and for those of you who think there is a touch of Jimmy Shand in there, you are right.

.For the uninitiated, Captain Pugwash was a children’s programme on the BBC, using cardboard cut outs operated by levers and recounting the adventures – and disasters – of that most pusillanimous of pirates, Captain Pugwash, and his faithful crew who sailed the seven seas in the hopes of avoiding their dastardly enemy Cut-throat Jake, master of the Flying Dustman.

It was one of a series of programmes which would be played in my time as a ritual in student union bars to an adoring public…Noggin the Nog… Bagpuss…The Clangers, all had their day and if you take a look at The Clangers it may go some way to understanding how we turned out…

However, the kitsch boat rejected, there was one chance left….a monolithic lighthouse, obviously a product of the same tormented mind. It too weighed a ton and it too was rejected as its associations would not be conducive to slumber…


Ys, of course it is a spoof…but it still makes me laugh and laughter brings me back to wakefulness.

The first night without a bedside light was not a success. Trying to find the mobile ‘phone to provide light when going to the loo was  an enterprise fraught with disaster, but there seemed to be little alternative until the Chinese tat shop changed its stock.

I had reckoned, however, without The Men…Leo and Danilo.

I had had to go out and left them busily building a low fence from left over wood to keep the dogs off the garden. Fat chance, the dogs can jump and turned out to regard it rather in the light of an Irish hunter facing a double bank…a challenge to be overcome.

On my return I was told to take a look in the bedroom.

I looked.

I found the item in the rather poor photograph heading this post placed beside the bed. Between the bed and the bedside table which was no longer at the bedside as the plinth of the monstrosity was too large to fit underneath it, nor could it be turned to fit under the bed as the light was on the other side of the post

That I was not enchanted could be told from my expression.

Nor were matters improved by learning that they had had some wood left over from the fence and had come across the lamp they had intended to use in the chicken house so decided to make me a bedside lamp.

Lamp! More like a blasted lamp post….except in one respect which was to become apparent on going to bed that night.

I would have needed the arm of an orang utan to reach the bedside table…so no glass of water in case of accidents.

The light was so powerful and at such an angle that it could have been used to good effect in interrogations by the Gestapo.

And, the crowning glory, the height was such that every time I sat up in bed I hit my head on the blasted thing.

My mood by the morning was murderous.

The Men approached me rather in the manner of Agag King of the Amalekites approaching Samuel and with some reason. It was a case of light the blue touchpaper and retire to Worthing.

The dogs enjoyed jumping the fence into the garden.

The friend staying with us, who had followed the whole thing from start to finish, put things in perspective over a quiet women only coffee.

Yes, they meant well, but it just goes to show why we don’t castrate men….they would have nowhere to keep their brains.





35 thoughts on “Costa Rica Rural Design Exhibition. Exhibit Number One…And Only.”

  1. If I switch on the full lights in he bedroom it rouses the cockerels which, like the small birds in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, ‘slepen al the nyght with open ye.’

    There was rather a mess when I took the photograph…Leo had been repotting plants and I was too enraged to bother about how tidy things were…the two pooches are the sisters, Auntie in the foreground, Sophie behind.

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

        1. Fingers, paws, toes, eyes, crossing anything that might help (and at this stage in the game I’m opening to anything that won’t do harm) return some sanity to our little sector of the mad world. Big hug to you and thank you tor the brilliant writing and levity you bring to my life. ❤

  2. . . your last is nasty, sexist, and, I would have added misogynistic, except I can’t. Plus castration makes our eyes water which would certainly result in excessive use of nails in such future devices conceived and constructed for your future (dis)pleasure like your very own ‘Stations of the Cross’!

  3. Misandrist would be the word….
    Let me say that my reaction to the lamp post would be the same nomatter which sex had constructed it, but never underestimate the depth of feeling of those who grew up in an era when male superiority was regarded as the norm.

  4. That was so funny!
    My neighbour is wondering why I laugh so loud at 7:15 in the cold morning.
    Ingenuity such as this made Stone Age man build huge Barrows or long Cursors. Consideration for others, especially the ‘weaker sex’ always to the front of the mind. How ungrateful womankind can be when such talent is abused.
    I suppose you just wanted to ‘knock their lights out?’

      1. If a male friend mentions he needs a new shim-nozzle for the watblazz in his office, and a woman surprises him by placing there a jury-rigged one she has made herself, with zero input from him as to his tastes or what he had in mind–did she really do something nice for him? I am confident that neither he nor any other chromosomally-asymmetrical creatures on the planet would think so.

        Glad to have crawled out from my hidden corner and stopped here tonight. That last paragraph is too perfect! I’d quote it, from here on out, if I only had a…

        –O. Babe

        1. Glad to hear from you again!
          Nice that they thought of a solution…yes.
          Since coming to live in Costa Rica I have become in the words of Burns ‘Content wi’ little an’ cantie wi’ mair’…but there are limits.
          The Men were treated to a strop worthy of my time in France. I was glad to find that the art had not deserted me.

  5. I think my last “home-improvement” project consisted of cutting down a broken hockey stick to use in a closet to hang clothes on. It went over like a lead balloon.

    I can fix things, just not the way a professional would do it.

    1. Given the fix ups that I have seen here, you could make a good living as a DIY instructor on that basis.
      A friend says that DIY means Do not Involve Yourself…..sound advice.

    1. All sorted. The Chinese tat shop had a new delivery and i am now the relieved owner of a normal bedside lamp in muted tones of grey and brown.
      I quite surprised myself by the level of fury the Thing aroused in me…almost like the old days in France when the blood pressure was regularly off the scale.

  6. From the evidence presented it seems safe to surmise that there are no IKEA stores nearby since even one of those Scandinavian build-it-yourself abominations would have been an upgrade over the offerings of the Chinese tat emporium. I have to tell you that the guys’ efforts were not all that bad. The Eternal Oath of the Brotherhood (also known as the Bro Code) means I have to fully support my gender especially against the many estrogen-fueled criticisms posted here. I’d also remind you that scientists recently proved beyond a doubt that dolphins are the second smartest species after man. That mean women are now in third place. So, keep a civil tongue. 🙂

    1. My tongue is always civil…..well, generally…..and especially in foreign languages where you have the lurking suspicion that you may not have fully appreciated all the nuances of the word that you have proudly produced…

      Raving in broad Scots is enough to make strong men quail – unless they are fellow Scots and understand that you are in fact giving directions from the centre of Glasgow to Milngavie via Rutherglen.

      I can only suppose that male scientists were responsible for the findings quoted above…remember, set the agenda and you have the answer you require… but next time I’ll ask a dolphin to do the job.

  7. A fine bit of woodwork as yet to be polished?
    The Pugwash tune is annoying but the ship’s crew’s names are a hoot! The Pugwash Conferences having the same name give them no credance.
    Great read thanks, do hope that Leo fares well.

    1. Yes, mere mention of the Pugwash Conferences would conjour up inappropriate visions!
      I remember one of the rugby thugs being slung out of the SU bar for shouting ‘Roger the cabin boy’ during an emission of Pugwash…
      Leo is not too well, unfortunately, but, as evidenced by the post is still able to stir up mischief…

  8. Ah, bedside lamps. We’ve demolished a few in our time and had to replace them. Fortunately we have the ubiquitous B & Q quite near us and they have a splendid selection of bedside lamps. It sounds as if all you can find are lamps disguised as hideous works of art. Or the home-made lamp in your photo which looks more like a converted gallows. You’d think a simple unpretentious lamp would be easy to find….

    1. No such luck. Simple and unpretentious are available…but only in a few very upmarket and overpriced stores in the suburbs of the capital…so it is the chinese tat shop or some hideous local – so called – handicraft product.They are sold on the indian reserve up the road from here but our friend in the post office tells me t hat they are all shipped in from Guatemala.The gallows has been transferred to the office where, I am huffily informed, it is very useful….

  9. Well, that made me smile. I can also report – and you may well have found this yourself – that a chap’s brains shift position with age.
    Sorry I’m a little late to the party – way out of touch I know. But Merry Christmas – and all the best for the New Year; I just don’t know where 2017 has gone.

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