When you live a few hectometres from the ocean, in the sun and the sparkling sea spray, and your 21st century home is into its second decade of life ....
Rust. That lovely salty sea spume that you so enjoy sniffing in the air? It is eating away at anything metallic on the outside walls of the buildings.
And the greatest sufferers are those unsightly but necessary objects called air-conditioning units.
Well, not wishing to have my home look like a clapped-out, back-street Hong Kong brothel, I decided: 'I will sand and paint the little monsters'.
Innocent I. Look upward, Kurt. I am on the ground floor. And the flats above me have their units pasted to the outside walls, from where they can drip not only water onto my head but also litres of rust. Yes, they have rusty bottoms. And rusty insides. Cosmetics is not sufficient. Before long, these things are going to implode in a shower of ferrous oxide. Sigh.
Better get a quote from Clarence Coast Air Conditioning of Yamba. So, five units at .... arggggh! HOW much..? Well, I'll start with the two in my 'home' apartment.
This morning, at precisely 8.15 am, when I'd just slipped my djellabah on and my teeth in, the door ratatatted. And there were two bonny young men all ready to start the job. 'Go for it' gulped I, mentally retarding breakfast at the Main Beach Kiosk for brunch at the same lovely spot.
Well, now I understand! The price, I mean. I thought I was just replacing the rusty outside bit. No! for my money I got entirely new systems, which it took the two lads (who didn't lean on any shovels, or take any time out for mophone calls) until 2pm to instal ...
I was im-pressed. I shall pay the bill the moment it arrives.
And now, having missed both breakfast and brunch, I find the Kiosk is closed ... so I shall crack a chilled chardonnay and sit on the part of the terrace where I WON'T get ferrous oxide rain, and look at my very smart new air conditioning units...