Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In search of a loo brush

Dear patient friends (and no, Mr Pants, I don't mean mental patients) when moving to a new country it seems that it is the little things that capture my attention....in a way that borders on obsession.

When we moved to Toronto it wasn't so much driving on the wrong side of the road that freaked me out, nor the size of the malls, nor the change in lingo. It wasn't even the fact that nobody could understand me when I said 'water' or 'banana'. It wasn't even being on a new continent, in a new culture where I didn't know how anything worked. It wasn't the lack of a home. None of these things pushed me to the brink of insanity. But two things did.

1) Not having Ribena
2) Swimsuits with linings.

I can't tell you the level of distress that I entered into when I discovered on a first trip to Loblaws supermarket that in Canada you don't have squash. Not the pumpkin kind of squash. But what the Brits would call Orange Squash, or Lemon Squash. Or for the truly discerning, Ribena.

When I realised that Ribena (a nectar of blackcurrants that you add to water ...I said 'water'.....ok, 'wad-r') was not freely available in the nation of Canada, the ground swayed, the aisles closed in on me and I went hot and cold all over.

It was to get worse.

I needed a new swimming costume (and no, not a clown's costume or a large furry dog...but a swimsuit....or swimmers as the Aussies would say).

Now in the UK only the old grannyish swimsuits have the bulky, flesh coloured lining. You know the swimsuits I mean...the ones with not so much a 'bikini' leg as a 'pair of big knickers' leg...and the huge plastic flowers attached to the straps?

So imagine my dismay when I find that in the first shop in TO all the swimsuits have the rolls of flesh sown in! And then the second shop does too. I start to feel a mild panic rising, a deep cry welling up from within me...'where do normal people go to find a skimpy swimsuit without the granny factor??'

Eventually I break down and ask an assistant in desperate tones "where are they? where are the swimsuits for people under 80...the ones with no lining?"

She looks at me like I am some kind of hussy and breaks the news. "They ALL have lining here, you tart!" She didn't actually say the tart bit out loud...but I heard it loud and clear.

Of course since those heady days of cross-cultural confusion I have:
a) found shops in Canada that sell Ribena and
b) discovered that lining in swimsuits is totally fab and much better for your modesty. In fact a cossie without a lining now seems to me a little scandalous.

But this is all old news. Because now I am in New Zealand.

So far buying a car, house, furniture, getting a mortgage, finding new mobile phones, new internet service providers et al has not freaked me out. BUT I have found my new achilles heel, my sword of damocles, my torment of Ribena-ish proportions.

Loo brushes.

I mean, what is the deal with loo brushes in New Zealand?

Of all the many items that we need to live in the lap of luxury in our new pad...a plate, a saucepan, some bedding...the one thing that has been playing on my mind has been my lack of a loobrush. There are 3 toilets (cross cultural translation: bathrooms, washrooms, loos or bogs)...I repeat, there are 3 toilets in our new house. And is there a loobrush in sight? There is not.

Warning. Warning. Distress levels entering Code Level RED.

After all as Jane Austen put it so nicely; "It is a fact commonly known that a woman in possession of a new house is in need of a loobrush.."

You see, this loobrush has become in my mind the symbol of all things safe, all things familiar. If I have a loobrush, all will be right with my upside down world.

Not to worry, I think to myself, I will just pop into Woolworths (equiv. Tescos, Loblaws) and pick myself up a little loobrush just to keep me going.

I scour the aisles....until, ahhh. The deep joy of espying the cheap plasticky whiteness of the common or garden loobrush. It was a moment of deep comfort. They even look the same as the cheapest, nastiest loobrush in Canada. I am home! I reach out my hand to grab it's shiny tackiness and then...(dramatic music please) dah...dah...dah...I see the price.

TEN DOLLARS. TEN flipping DOLLARS for this cretinous plastic excuse for the noble loobrush. I ask you!
The walls are closing in on me....but I have another option...breathe, just breathe Adele....I can go to the Taupo Plastics Shop. (Come to Taupo Plastics...we have stuff made of plastic...and we're in Taupo)

So this morning I can hardly contain my excitement as I skip merrily over the road to Taupo Plastics and comb the aisles for the trusty loobrush. After all as they say, "loobrushes are a girl's best friend". I find them...deep joy, o rapture...my bowls will be sparkling after all! But then....dah...dah...dah the prices! $30 for the tall one ('it's plastic not gold!' I cry)....$10 for the nastiest one. There's even one for $47. I ask you $47 for a loobrush. Has the world gone mad?

It seems that the facts have to be faced. In NZ both the noble and the ignoble loobrush are going to set you back. Dave and I pause, and consider expanding the mortgage so we can buy 3 loobrushes.

(By the way the bins are $200....I am not lying to you...a tall metallic bin is $200, we even saw one for $274 in Taupo Plastics.) And yes, they seem to have a loose grip on the concept of plastic.

Anyway, you can all be at peace. We bit the bullet and purchased one solitary loobrush for $37.

But it's a beauty.

Woman and loobrush in perfect harmony. (Practise makes perfect in James & Denise's bathroom.)


Anonymous sarah said...

I'm not exactly sure that you should use such an expensive loo brush. Maybe this one could be decorative and the rest of us could mail you ones from the dollar store to actually use!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Although, sarah, it may cost $37 to post! Don't they do disposable loo brush thingies now?

9:29 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

A song for you Adele:

O Where is my loo brush!? O Where is my loo brush!? O Where O Where O where O where O where is my loo brush!!!!?

Sung to the tune of 'Oh Where is my hair brush' by Larry from Vegetales!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous shannon said...

omgsh - love the loo brush agony. and sarah's solution. and laura's mitigating factor. And my day is NEVER complete without a Veggie Tales (or at the very least Dora) reference.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Mr Pants said...

So why do you need a loobrush?
Did Dave have curry for tea again and block up the drain?

By the way, if you ever run out of toilet duck, sweet-smelling Ribena would make a great alternative.

3:34 PM  

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