Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I've just been to the toilet

I knew you'd want to know that.

I'd wanted to go for ages but I kept putting it off. I know that's bad for me but I think, 'Oh, I need a wee,' and then not go until I'm desperate. I think it's just too much bother.

Now the snob in me just thought, 'You should replace toilet with lavatory.'
'But I don't say lavatory.'
'No, but toilet is very non-u. It will indicate your background and class.'
'I think it takes more than toilet to define me.'
'Hm.'
'Until I was 13 we didn't even have an inside toilet.'


I was thinking about that in the shower this morning.

I was in circuit training last night and when I got home I showered. Then I watched a bit of television, went to bed, got up - and showered again.

When I was in my late teens I babysat for a rich couple. Rich compared to us. They lived in Caswell, a posh area of Swansea, in a big house. Driving past it these days, I realise it wasn't actually that big but it was new and modern and had TWO bathrooms, one up and one down, and in one there was a shower.

By then we'd only just progressed to an indoor bathroom. For most of my growing-up I went outside to the toilet and bathed in the kitchen. We were quite posh: we didn't use a tin bath in front of the fire; we had a plumbed-in bath in the kitchen. Although only plumbed in so far as we could let the water run out. It had to be filled from the Ascot water heater with a hosepipe. Sunday night was bath night and for the rest of the week the bath was hidden under a wooden cover that doubled up as a work surface.
Oh, look, the image I found of an ascot water heater is obviously from a museum!



36 comments:

nick said...

Toilet's fine by me, but then what do I know, I was brought up in a very working-class street.

Baths in kitchens used to be very common in council houses but they've probably phased them all out now. I remember Ascot water heaters well. My granny had a really terrifying water geyser, as she called it, for the bath. I always had to steel myself to switch it on, the flames were so fierce.

Suburbia said...

2 Showere in one evening? You must be living it up now!!

S x

Hullaballoo said...

I was brought up not to say toilet and I could never understand why. Lavatory sounds so pseudo French and poncy.

Now I take great delight in calling it a shunky, especially in tight lipped social settings like funerals.

nick said...

Of course you could put on an American drawl and ask for the comfort station....

Shunky? Never heard that one. Is that from some obscure Scotterish dialect?

jay said...

Toilet is perfectly acceptable. I think 'lavatory' is considered a bit 'Hyacinth Bucket' these days. LOL!

I remember the outside loo. Oh boy, do I remember the outside loo. And the water that only came out of the taps cold. AND the chamber pot under the bed!

That was only at Grandma's house, but I remember them all very well.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Toilet, lavatory, loo...what does it matter? It serves the same purpose whatever it's called. When I saw the title of your post, I thought; thank you, Liz, I really needed to know that...heheh. But then I just had to read what you'd written and I can relate to your childhood. Outside loos, but we had a bath on Wednesdays and Saturdays...did that make us a little posher than you??

Liz said...

Yes, nick, the flames used to shoot out of the little 'window'. I'm nervous siwtching on gas appliances to this day!

No, suburbia! One in the evening and one next morning!

i've never heard of a shunky, hulla. Must be a good old Scotterish word.

I have writen a monologue all about toilets without once mentioning the word, nick! Euphemisms abound.

Oh, yes, jay, and the potty under the bed!

Absolutely, puss. Two baths in a week?!

Anna said...

I think this is what happens when you work from home - leaving your chair to visit the loo is just too much extra work, unless of course you can combine the trip with some other useful errand like fetching something to eat.

Whereas in the office, getting up to go to the loo is an exciting break in your day! Especially if you have to walk past a friend or two on the way!

More proof, if needed, that home-workers are far more efficient by nature.

Vic Grace said...

When I was a kid in London England, I remember the Ascot water heater. Ours was in a room with a bath and sink but no toilet. It was so cold in there that it took courage to have a bath where the bottom half of you was hot and the top caking over in ice. We had an outhouse for the toilet though. Both activities took a great deal of fortitude in the winter.

Furtheron said...

When an old drinking buddy came around to talk about the replacement of my aging and leaky heating system he recommended a Combi-boiler.... "It's great" he said "It heats the water as you need it" "Oh just like our old Ascot boiler then" He didn't look impressed, but that was still going in the old house when Mum sold it after 30 something years of service.

DeeJay said...

Oh dear I fear you may have started a long series of comments here on euphemisms for toilet.
I just love the way the Americans call them bathrooms or rest rooms!

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