Monday, 13 November 2017

Athens: Vacillating with Vespasian

It's a funny thing, running an intellectual bog blog. Most people quite rightly don't give a crap and would rather chew off their own arm than read a single word of an obscure and ranty site about toilets, but every now and then one receives feedback from unlikely quarters. It turns out, for instance, that Our Mum has turned quite evangelical, and spends her time, when she isn't pissing off to Perugia on a whim to take photos of al fresco dining areas, informing people of the existence of our blog and exhorting them to read it. Consequently, we received a tip about an intriguing TV programme chronicling the history of toilets from a friend of Our Mum called Elena, which you can view below, as we have made it this post's Festive Video. We would like to extend our most gracious thanks to Elena; it was a spiffing and most invigorating video!

Since the programme in question starts off with a review of toilets in the classical world, we were reminded of some rather exciting bogs that we encountered in Greece last summer. Ergo:

Strolling around the Roman Agora in Athens with Our Mum, enjoying the unidentified pieces of marble (here is a question for everyone but especially Medievalist (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend: We have an app that can identify plants from just a photo. Where is the app that will identify random bits of Roman marble? How hard can it be to create a database of images of cornices, sarcophagi and columns and make it into an app so that lazy people on holiday can pronounce expert opinions on bits of marble rubble without having to learn anything or do any work?) and trying not to dwell on the sensation of sweat running down literally every crevice of our body, we stumbled across a Roman latrine! We happened to note the seat in the picture below and, eagerly scanning the horizon for an informative sign (we really do love clear signage), had our hunch confirmed! We had sauntered into the Vespasian latrines without even trying! As so eloquently puts it,

Entering from the marketplace through an antechamber, the lucky Athenians discovered elegantly raised seats over a deep channel lined with marble. Athens surely touched Vespasian in a way that cold Britain failed to, judging from this simple yet endearing monument to his largesse. 

This is an intriguing theory. Does the internationally recognised crapness of British plumbing in fact hail back to the era of Vespasian? At any rate, it seems that Vespasian was a solid dude when it comes to sanitation; regular readers will remember Exuberant Archaeologist Friend's account of Vespasian-era lead pipes in Rome.

You may imagine our happiness when suddenly clapping eyes on this toilet seat
in a far corner of the Roman Agora! On a totally unrelated note, there is a terrific restaurant just on the other side of that fence, on the corner, with very friendly waiters and excellent coffee.

A clear and informative, if somewhat dull, sign
Next up, we have pictures of the public baths by the Temple of Zeus! We spent an unreasonable amount of time, as Our Mum will verify, rambling round this area and taking toilet selfies with the ruins. What can we say? We were on holiday, and that is our idea of fun. (If you enjoy this kind of activity, do get in touch. We are finding it increasingly challenging to find people willing to go on holiday with us. We can't think why this might be.)

We are not, as a rule, excited-jumpers-up-and-down at the Privy Counsel,
considering such behaviour to be annoying to the point of being morally wrong,
but we jumped up and down with excitement when spotting these hypocausts!

A soothing circular pool

A comfortable seat for chatting to a friend?

The remains of many, many pillars

A helpful and informative sign

We went, of course, to the Acropolis, where we marvelled at the view and admired the diligent Athenian workmen restoring the ancient ruins. We also came across this random structure, near the entrance. We have no idea what it is, but took a photo on the off-chance that it is anything to do with water or sanitation (is that some kind of duct in the centre?). If any of our readers - including, but not limited to, Medieval (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend - has information about what this might be, don't be shy, send us an email or carrier pigeon!

An unidentified Athenian structure. THERE WAS NO SIGN!!!

No bog blogger worthy of the name would fail to take a picture of the public toilets below the Acropolis. You're welcome.

The sewage pipes in Athens are somewhat delicate,
and quite often one is requested to put toilet paper into a bin, thus.

A helpful sign instructs one not to put paper anywhere near the pipes.

Regular readers will recall our exuberant account of the toilets in the Acropolis Museum a few years ago. Readers, we went back!

As you can see, everything looks exactly the same,
which we find hugely reassuring. Also, the korai were still magnificent.

One of our favourite pastimes when in Athens, apart from staring dreamily at objects in museums, deciphering Greek signage, using the relatively-free-of-sexual-harassment public transport (we were on the tram one day, marvelling at the fact that we hadn't been sexually harassed yet, when some dude decided to harass us, showing yet again that patriarchy never sleeps), drinking Greek coffee, and buying cheap wine in the supermarket, is wandering round Syntagma Square, imbibing the atmosphere and enjoying the shade cast by the lemon trees. Imagine our delight when we discovered that this historic place boasts public toilets! They are tucked away in a corner and are very hard to find, but they are bona fide public loos, staffed by very friendly toilet attendants.

We cannot fault this door, its lock, or its coat hook.

This is not an ideal toilet, considering the fact that there is no toilet roll
and the flush mechanism has been mended using duct tape. Still. Like the Greek economy,
this toilet just about works, and the staff were super friendly.
Is this, in fact, a metaphor for the Greek economy?
We're never sure how interesting our readers find random pictures of hotel room toilets. To be on the safe side, here are some potentially thrilling images from the Oasis hotel in the Glyfada area of Athens. It's a very nice hotel, with very friendly staff, and we enjoyed many splendid evenings drinking the local wine on the balcony of our hotel room, but wished there had been fewer children, and also fewer Italians, in the pool. (We adore Italians at the Privy Counsel, but for some reason Italians in swimming pools are considerably less charming than Italians who are not in swimming pools. No doubt science will one day find an explanation for this phenomenon.)

No problems with the plumbing here! You can shove virtually unlimited amounts of toilet paper down the bog with no repercussions whatsoever. Also, you will notice that the toilet roll has been folded into a neat point at the end, which is the golden standard of the Olivia Joules Hotel Critera, and which is bound to give you a positive toilet experience if you give a crap about such things (we don't).

We are rather fond of this seventies symphony of pastels.

Assuming that you have even read this far, we congratulate you on your stamina and vow to let everyone rest before we post this many photos in one go again. If you have an hour to spare, please enjoy the Festive Video below! We found the toilet humour deplorable, and advise you to skip that bit, but the rest was both informative and edifying.

As you were. (If you weren't, why not?)

Festive Video: Ifor ap Glyn / Cwmni Da / Western Front Films / BBC 4, The Toilet: An Unspoken History

Related Reading:

All posts featuring Our Mum

All posts featuring Medieval (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend 

An intriguing post featuring Vespasian-era lead pipes:
Lead Pipe Dreams

All previous posts featuring Greece:

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lofty Airs

Shewee Fiend Friend sent us photos from an airport toilet, intriguingly omitting to tell us which airport. At first we were vastly curious, but then we thought, what does it matter? Let these toilets be anonymous! Let them represent a higher plane of being than the mere physical shell that encumbers our would-be-soaring souls. Let them epitomise the ur-toilet, the Platonic ideal of a Really Great Bog! Let them, with their cleanliness, disability-friendliness, mixer taps, and general high standard, be a beacon of hope to plumbing despairers the world over.

If our first thought was "Where the flying fuck is this, then?", our second thought was "That is like the level of niceness that the airport in Istanbul aspired, yet so dismally failed, to reach", and our third "Also it falls under the label 'Almost seeing people', which is one of our favourite labels". In short, we took this toilet to our hearts. 

The failure of the toilet seat to go all the way round tells us that this toilet is most likely located in the US, or at least in North America. The disability friendliness is rampant: there are bars to grip, and the flush mechanism looks easy to operate, not requiring mechanical strength.
It looks like the floor has been recently cleaned, which is of course a good thing, but rather reminds us, unfortunately, of the Horror of the British Workplace. Should this blog employ trigger warnings?
Luckily, the sign also reminds us of something happier: Australian Friend's report from the Pirate's Tavern in Melbourne.

Enjoy Almost Seeing Shewee Fiend Friend! Woof! Also, that is a motion-sensor tap! Hubba!

Now then, now then, what's all this? No coat hook from which to hang one's rucksack? In an airport? Perhaps this is not the ideal toilet after all.

We shall stay in the realm of the fabulous (in the original sense), making a metaphorical journey with Meandering Friend to the legendary Höga Kusten. Meandering Friend's message, which we received not long ago, read:

[The Privy Counsellor]!!! Jag har varit på toa (utedass) men utsikt över högakusten-bron idag
([The Privy Counsellor]!!! I have been to a toilet (outdoor privy) with a view of the Höga Kusten bridge today)

What a friendly, welcoming sight! This reminds us, naturally, of the Swiss toilet Dragon-Hunting Friend sent us pictures of many years ago!

This also reminds us of German Friend's Alpine delight

One questions the need for a Wunderbaum in this naturally forest-fresh environment, but since this is our favourite type of coat hook, we won't rant needlessly.

Hello! You can almost see Meandering Friend! What a delightful picture!

Cleaning facilities AND ventilation! Does the heart race just a little...?

What a marvellous view!

Meandering Friend's message continued:
God ventilation (se 2*vent-system), goda rengöringsmöjlighteter och övrig konventionell doftprevention 😅
(Good ventilation (see 2-vent system), good cleaning facilities and other conventional smell prevention)
 Do you feel refreshed and invigorated? We certainly do!

Before we move on to the Festive Video, let us remind you that you - yes, you! - have the chance to win a signed photograph of Jonny. (In case you're struggling to remember, Jonny counts as a Privy Counsel Friend for administrative reasons, and we once wrote him a lonely hearts ad which, by the way, worked. (Well, we're assuming it did - it was a great ad.)) A signed! Photograph! Of Jonny! All you have to do is send in your best photos of toilet graffiti. Good luck!

Since Shewee Fiend Friend and Meandering Friend are both people with whom we are prone to end up discussing the gender wage gap (yesterday was (Un)equal pay day in the UK, by the way - women now work for free for the rest of the year), let's have a Festive Video about the considerable levels of HTFU that are required just to get through the day, if you happen to be a woman (a calamity affecting roughly 50 percent of the world's population).

Festive Video: Sister C, Faint of Heart
(Or listen to the audio version here)

Related Reading: 

Rosy-Fingered Dawn (But No Bloody Lock on the Door) in Istanbul

All posts featuring Almost Seeing People

All posts featuring airports

All posts featuring toilets in mountains:
Norwegian Wood
Alpine Escapism
Remembering to Breathe

A rather splendid post about the massive fucked-up-ness of being a woman:
If You Can Meet with Triumph and Disaster

All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend

All posts featuring Meandering Friend

All posts featuring Australian Friend

All posts featuring German Friend 

All posts featuring Intellectual Friend

All posts featuring Dragon-Hunting Friend

All posts featuring Jonny

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Lithuania, Land of Luscious Loos

Woof! Welcome back to your favourite intellectual bog blog! We have some rather exciting pictures for you, from our recent sojourn to Lithuania, land of luscious loos. Our whirlwind tour of Vilnius took us to some of the city's best bars, and also a spiffing museum with - wait for it - 16th-century sewage pipes!

Let us start without further ado, as there is a fuckload of photos to get through, and also a rather exciting message from Jonny, that dapper young scallywag!

Here, for your delight and edification, is a virtual tour of the bogs of Vilnius:

Meandering Friend gets the credit for finding a guesthouse in the centre of town with functioning plumbing and friendly staff. As you can see, the toilet is clean and cosy, with bright, positively festive, colours.

Lithuania manages with ease and elegance what so many countries don't manage at all - to install electric sockets in bathrooms! However, we found that most Lithuanian light switches are placed, illogically, outside the bathroom. As Meandering Friend discovered, much to her dismay, even the Air Baltic planes have light switches outside the toilet, making it impossible to, as she so eloquently put it, maintain control over one's sanitary visibility.

After dropping off our luggage and wandering round the local cemetery, imbibing the atmosphere, Lithuanian Friend took us to a restaurant where we indulged in some truly excellent Lithuanian ale, then to a bar where we were sexually harassed. Distressed and annoyed, we headed out in search of a safe space, and found one, in the shape of a brand new bar called Kitsch! The staff were super friendly, there was music and art, and the toilet, tucked under the stairs, was both hygienic and charming. We cannot recommend Kitsch enough, and urge you to make your way there at your earliest convenience.

One feels safe and warm, both inside and out, in the presence of the boiler.
Literally everything you want in a toilet: mixer tap, soap, Smart One toilet roll dispenser, and not one but two sockets!

 The day after our exploratory bar round, we conducted a more thorough reconnoitre of the city, starting with the Palace of the Grand Dukes. This is a wonderful museum - not only does it have fascinating artefacts ranging from 15th-century stove tiles, locks, shoes and ceremonial rods, it also boasts some truly amazing wooden water- and sewage pipes!

The toilets, as evidenced below, are also of the highest standard. We were very near bursting with happiness when ensconced in the rarefied, intellectually stimulating and utterly hygienic air in this beautiful former palace!

Truly a scene of beauty!

We don't think a toilet can get better than this, and dare you to prove the opposite!

Just looking at the picture of this pair of sturdy coat hooks (a feature throughout the museum toilets) gives us a shiver of pleasure.

Here's where the real fun starts: 16th- to 17th-century sewage pipes! From the mid-16th century the palace also had, one of the many informative signs in the museum informed us, an underground brick sewage canal.

There were indoor latrines, indoor collectors for sewage, rain water, and a water supply system. The first water pipeline to the palace was completed around 1530.

After all the intellectualism we felt the need for a refreshing beverage or two, and headed to a most festive shots bar called Shots & Shprots. The toilets were cheery and, we think, clean; however, the dark rock'n'roll décor made it hard to see.

A helpful and informative sign

Yes! The soap dispenser is a skull!

Another friendly and festive place to visit in Lithuania is the famed Alaus Biblioteka, or beer library. There is an endless supply of beer, and the toilets are both clean and humorous! Woof!

One feels safe knowing that the risk of the toilet roll running out is extremely low

A super excellent combination of mixer tap, nice soap, and paper towels.

The day after our exuberant city tour we recovered from our various hangovers in a restaurant called Leičiai Aline, where we unfortunately did not indulge in any of the many types of home-brewed beer, being in a rather delicate state, but instead enthusiastically ingested a vast amount of food.

We cannot fault this toilet, but unfortunately one of the guests exited without washing his hands in this beautiful basin. The horror! The copper detail reminded us of Mora Hotell.

After an excursion to the historic town of Trakai and a wander round the castle - as Meandering Friend so wisely asked herself, "why go inside when I can circle it?" - we headed to yet another excellent Lithuanian restaurant, which featured, in addition to rustic wooden walls, this festive and friendly sign and an intellectually satisfying artisanal coat hook.

Our virtual journey through the toilets of Vilnius and its surroundings is nearly at an end. However, we have a treat for you before we finish - the facilities in a wine bar which serves excellent wine and cheese and displays a sense of humour throughout! We'd totally recommend it if we could remember the name. (Actually, thinking about it, it was probably this place.)

The toilets were organised according to size: there was XS, S, and M, and also "dicks only". Helpful.

A thoroughly satisfactory coat hook!

Unfortunately the plumbing of central Vilnius is not always as sturdy as one would like, and sometimes one has to discard toilet paper into a bin, thusly.

A helpful sign reminds one not to throw bog roll into the toilet, and warns of the dire consequences if one's memory should slip. We are reminded, of course, of the Mexican Toilet Horror.

A friendly and helpful sticker.

We summarise Vilnius thus:

Varieties of delicious beer: Endless
Number of bars: Countless
Friendliness of people: As far as we could tell in our largely inebriated state, massive
Instances of sexual harassment: Three

We have, finally, a festive, thrilling, and intellectually stimulating idea from Jonny. That enterprising young whippersnapper, brimming over with creative juices, writes:

I have another idea
As a New Years competition
From now until New Year people have to submit their ‘best toilet graffiti’
I don’t know if you get as much in the ladies as I’ve never been in there (well, once in high school) but it’s rife in the gents.
Prize is a signed photo of me?

We stopped doing competitions after we announced a New Year's event a few years back, where one could vote for one's favourite bog blog post, and were humiliated to find, on the day of the deadline, that there were only two votes, both from Australian Friend. However, this idea from Jonny is the kind that makes us go HUBBA HUBBA! and we urge you to start sending us pictures of your best toilet graffiti INSTANTLY!

We are of course not going to leave you without a Festive Video - we know that this is one of few highlights of a dreary existence for many people. We found ourselves reflecting recently on the ability to travel and visit friends, and get smashed on Lithuanian alcohol.

Festive Video - Nashville, A Life That's Good

Related Reading
All posts featuring Meandering Friend
All posts featuring Lithuanian Friend
All posts featuring Jonny
Toilet roll holders - do they even matter?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween Special: The Mystery of the Sticky Spot on the Floor, or, The Telltale Splash, or, Scared Shitless!


Turns out we haven't done a Halloween post since 2014! However, we luckily have all the right people in our life, and consequently received the following message, a little while ago, from Jonny:
I’ve done another toilet review

My first experience of shared toilets

However I have had a beer and I’m too sleepy to type it out

I have come up with a nifty idea I’d like to see on the blog
As a Halloween special I’d like you to interview your regular readers and perhaps some guests to find out their ‘top toilet horrors’.

Mine is when guys wee on the seat.
It’s awful. No further comments needed.
But sometimes it’s like alllll over
Like they are aiming for the seat

 We have basically never turned down a legitimate reader request (the people who keep emailing us offering a lucrative deal in Chinese portaloo import can fuck off), and we don't intend to start now.

The topos of the asshole who wees on the seat has been explored fully by Shewee Fiend Friend, most notably in the post (Don't) Aim for the Stars, in which she wrote, memorably:

My roommate who pisses on the floor is pissing considerably less on the floor since I spoke to him. However, he has started regularly having this friend over who does not seem to even aim for the toilet. He creates small pools.
Semi-Intellectual Friend
once put forth the theory that some kind of target would prevent the regrettable mess caused by males unable to aim:

I think, if you put a big red and white target at the bottom of a toilet and gave men points for aiming as close to the centre of the target as possible, men would feel patronized by it but still be unable not to try to hit the target. Toilet floors would immediately become cleaner. I think, if there was some way of recording high scores, it would be incredibly successful.

However, we have yet to see the research proving this theory. The only thing we can offer in the way of academic inquiry is this picture, adding to the vast store of anecdotal evidence showing that many men are constitutionally unable to perform tasks requiring even rudimentary hand-eye coordination, begging the question how they have managed, for millennia, to hold on to the lion's share of legal, constitutional and economic power. 

You can't see the sticky spot on the floor because a) the photographer was deliberately avoiding it, and b) the floor had, mercifully, been recently cleaned. This picture is from our very first Halloween toilet post; the seminal work which sparked the entire genre, if you will, of the Halloween bog blog post.

Asked whether she had any recent work to add to the body of research on men who are unable to aim into the toilet, Shewee Fiend Friend said:
Once, I put a sign on my toilet lid saying, 'please don't wee on the seat'. And somebody weed on the sign.  

We should perhaps change the topic here, lest we permanently traumatise sensitive readers. Jonny, who has really been getting into the Halloween toilet theme this year, no doubt for sane and normal reasons of his own, sent us a missive saying:

 Not sure if sitting on this has affected my ability to produce offspring. Maybe it's a good thing given your stats from the most recent post.


 Next, we are proud to present a tale of toilet horror so gruesome as to chill the spine of even the most hardened toilet horror sufferer - even Brits, inured to centuries of plumbing ineptitude, will find this hair-raising! It is from Tudor Friend, who heeded the call to share "top toilet horrors". Are you sitting down? Have you got a fortifying drink in your hand? Have you recently heeded the call of nature? (If not, we will not be held responsible for any terror-induced accidents.)

Per the Privy Counsel's request: a tale of toilet horror. I present to you: Toilet Horror Stories: Mexican Plumbing and Teenage (American) Boys

When I was 15, I went to Mexico on a trip arranged by my high school Spanish teacher. Several of my friends from other years went as well, including the two guys on the trip. Their room, in a fairly high-rise hotel in Mexico City, was next to ours.

We didn’t really mind that there was an open vent between our shower and theirs, because it was at ceiling level and while it let us talk to one another in the shower, a conceptually creepy event that’s just funny when you’re teenagers and friends, you would have had to be about 8 feet tall to see each other’s face, let alone each other’s anything else. The shower vent is notable architecturally but it’s the rest of the shared plumbing that pertains to this story.

Now, Mexico City has a very high water table. It was built on a swamp, so buildings do things like, you know, sink. This also makes for some, shall we say challenging, plumbing issues, especially in taller buildings. Water pressure is shit. Toilets flush as if they’re halfway through a coma and just can’t be arsed. And that’s on a good day. You’re told preemptively to minimise paper usage, and in a lot of places you don’t flush the loo roll at all, you throw it in a wastepaper basket. (Can we all say “eww”?) Luckily, at our hotel, you could flush. Barely, but you could. (You almost prayed for Montezuma's Revenge because you knew the toilet probably couldn't handle a healthy crap.)

So, one day, our bog stops doing even its most feeble flushing. We're talking, it's looking at urine and going, nope, too much effort. Which is bad enough, but the next time we tried to coax it into something resembling life, not only did it not flush the paper in the bowl, but things… other things…. loo roll and, well, crap… started coming up into the bowl. You can imagine the slight panic that ensued among the ladies of my room. We ran into the hall to find our teacher, the only one with enough Spanish to really explain to maintenance that something was very, very wrong.

“Maintenance” was a tiny little man who came up to my shoulder and had very limited English and quite a heavy accent. He was perfectly pleasant to us but was moderately perplexed. Until someone thought to question whether the boys’ toilet was also having issues.

Turns out that, for reasons only known to teenage male idiots (and probably not even to them- the thing is, these weren’t foaming stupid morons but, you know, National Merit scholars, genuinely clever lads in general, who inexplicably had the biggest brain shit conceivable, leading to other issues of dumpage), they had “decided to see what would happen if they just didn’t flush for a couple of days”. What would happen is that their toilet would, predictably, block up. And block ours up. And, as it turned out, the room next to ours on the other side.

Tiny Mexican Maintenance Man just about had a stroke. To my dying day I will see him (he only came up to my shoulder, which somehow made it that much funnier) jumping up and down, screaming, waving a plunger. “You do not do this! Flush immediately! You do not use all that paper - use one sheet and flush immediately! One sheet, one sheet! Flush immediately!”

The boys were abashed. My roommates and I were torn between horror and hilarity. And poor Tiny Mexican Maintenance Man had to spend about an hour breaking up the true horror that was sitting in the toilet bowl, waiting for a pureeing and then about eighteen flushes before the system finally cleared.

Sometimes horror is a thing humanity makes for itself. Usually when it should know better.

We promised Jonny something special for this post's Festive Video, and dutifully explored the internet's wide array of toilet-related horror, finding several satisfactorily creepy videos (this one, for example: we identify strongly with the swearing and crazed internal monologue). We even found some profoundly unsettling reflections on a previous Festive Halloween Video.

However, in the end we decided that you can dress up as a slutty pumpkin, watch scary movies and fantasise about the zombie apocalypse all you want, there is still nothing scarier than the everyday terrors endured by every single fucking one of the world's women, one third of whom, at a conservative estimate, have been subjected to sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.

Festive Video: The Dixie Chicks, Goodbye, Earl

All posts on the theme of aiming

Some more posts on the theme of aiming 

All posts featuring Jonny

All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend

All posts featuring Semi-Intellectual Friend

All posts featuring Tudor Friend

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Ominous Unlockable Door of Perugia

We ranted last week about the importance of taking a sick day when one feels like one has been possessed by a crapulence demon, which is cackling evilly and throbbing just behind one's frontal bone, and like literally the only thing that will save one's health from ruination and despair is to spend an entire day in bed watching Peaky Blinders and swearing quietly to oneself in a fake Brummie accent.

Of course, not everyone has the ability to take a sick day when sick. If there is one thing the presidential farce in the US has taught us, it is that not everyone in this world has health insurance, or the kind of employment contract that acknowledges that one is a human being, who will occasionally need to do human things, like resting.

As mentioned previously (for instance here, here, and also here), a toilet blogger's life is by necessity filled with many activities not related at all to bog-blogging. (There are few, if any, who have struck lucky and entered the elysian fields of full-time toilet-contemplation.) Your average toilet reviewer will spend most of their time toiling in the sweat of their brow, and also other places, some of which you wouldn't believe if we told you, to ensure that the wolf is kept from the door and that the cupboard is reasonably well stocked with bread for the day.

Still, we are quite happy just to have a job, and a salary with which to buy rum, wolf-repellent, and other essentials, and are, by and large, reasonably happy with our life situation (apart from, obviously, all the sexism, and racism, and Nazism, and all the other -isms lurking everywhere, and also all the crap plumbing).

Our life situation, happy though we are with it in general (apart from the caveats listed above), does not permit us, alas, to fuck off to Perugia on a whim and take photos of toilets. Other people, however, apparently do have the kind of life situation that enables them to fuck off to Perugia and take photos of toilets. Our Mum, for instance. She sent us an informative missive the other day, saying:

Bar Caffè Stuzzicheria del Grifo, 23 Piazza Piccinino, 20 m från domkyrkan i Perugia. Trevlig uteservering med toa för konsumerande gäster. Har 2 dörrar varav den yttersta inte går att låsa och den innersta inte går att stänga.
Har tvättmöjlighet och toapapper men ingen nedfällbar toasits. 

(Bar Caffè Stuzzicheria del Grifo, 23 Piazza Piccinino, 20 metres from the cathedral in Perugia. Nice al fresco seating, with a toilet for guests. Has two doors, of which the outermost one is unlockable, and the innermost one uncloseable.
Has sink and toilet paper but no toilet seat.)

The seat-less toilet. Regular readers will recall Jonny's similarly seatless toilet from last week.
(Due to insurmountable technical difficulties,
this and the following photos are all sideways.)

The sink. Does a piece of your soul whither away and die
when contemplating this picture? A piece of our soul does.

This is a daring piece of toilet door photography! Brava, mamma!

We believe this is the al fresco dining area

Another one of our correspondents went to Stockholm the other weekend and stayed in a fancy hotel. Why anyone would choose to go to Stockholm of their own free will is beyond us. We don't like Stockholm, never have, and never will. Still. Presumably someone has to live there. Good luck to them.

A thoroughly non-offensive set-up, n'est-ce pas?

An elegant, even dramatic - but not wholly functional - shower.

Did we mention that we adore black-and-white tiled floors? Woof!

Our correspondent, earnestly at work.

La pudeur en defaut. A thoroughly offensive picture, showing a man
subjecting a woman to the kind of perving that amounts to sexual violence.

Apparently, just like the hotel where we stayed once with Australian Friend in Edinburgh, the Lady Hamilton Hotel in Stockholm's Old Town adheres to the criterion formulated by Helen Fielding's heroine Olivia Joules. We will repeat our statement from October 2011:

Personally, we couldn't care less, but in case you find the state of the end of the toilet roll a matter of importance on a par with democracy, world peace and being able to find a really good mojito: Reader, we assure you, the toilet paper in this hotel was folded into a neat point at the end.

By the way, here is a highly festive and decorative urinal for men in Stockholm's Old Town. Shame there is no equivalent service for the ladies.

A laudably decorative urinal. Shame the lack of equivalent services for women
makes this yet another expression of public sexism.

Another instance of decorative public facilities: an old phone box preserved in Stockholm! Perhaps this is where the ladies are supposed to tend to their business?

We'll go off on a proper rant about the lack of
public urinals for women another time. Hang on, turns out we already did.

We've devoted a lot of time and energy to feministing recently, and are correspondingly exhausted. Our recent brush with indisposition and decrepitude has taught us the importance of listening to one's body, and chillling the fuck out. We are, therefore, determined to spend the rest of this Sunday doing fuck-all except perhaps lying on the chaise-longue, imbibing whisky via a funnel. (We don't know if you have discovered this already, but if you add ginger to whisky it becomes a health drink of great magnitude, which has the further advantage of tasting delicious. It works with rum, too.)

One final reflection: Something we've been ruminating lately is the need for people to fuck off more. And, when people don't fuck off (the default setting for most people is apparently to not fuck off when you want them to), for you to turn your phone off and go to bed at 7 pm, if that is what you really want.

Some words from the Band Perry have been fluttering around our prefrontal cortex over the past couple of weeks. We realise, upon looking the lyrics up online, that we misheard. Still, here is what we heard:
I just wanna stay in the dark
Turn off all the lights
Come home in time
I just wanna stay in the dark
To paraphrase Stephen Fry (not for the first time): Now we've said just about everything there is to be said, most of it inconsequential to a degree, we're mongrel-bitch tired and our fist cannot form letters any more, so fuck off, our darlings, and leave us alone.

Festive Video: The Band Perry, Stay in the Dark

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