Monday, 31 December 2012

Fabulous Glamour at Fiskarmarkaðurinn

There seems to persist an enduring idea that new year's eve should be all about glamour and festivity. To be perfectly honest the Privy Counsel HQ is usually pretty far removed from every kind of glamour (this is, after all, a toilet blog. Toilet blogs, no matter how fabulous, are not about glamour), but we do happen to have some photos up our sleeve of the most glamorous toilet we have ever seen (apart, possibly, from that one fantastic wedding): at the Fiskarmarkaðurinn ("fish market") in Reykjavík!

Every time we view this picture, we die a little inside

A natural stone sink, fabulous mixer tap and Verbena soap from L'Occitane:
we don't believe it gets much lusher than this!

Close-up of the lovely, lovely soap

We're off to sail the seven seas with Captain Morgan, while the fireworks outside provide a fitting cannon-like sound effect. Our new year's resolution is to do more drunken blog updates. It's been fun. Happy new year!

Fiskarmarkaðurinn
Aðalstræti 12, Reykjavík
http://fiskmarkadurinn.is/

Saturday, 29 December 2012

On Her Majesty's Privy Service

 We like to think that we have many friends and well-wishers here at the Privy Counsel. They tend to come thick and fast whenever we require elucidation, or solace. However, recently they've been, so to speak, thicker and faster than usual. One Privy Counsel fan, for instance, invited us to spend a week grappling a bottle of gin with James Bond in a hotel bar, and simultaneously check out the toilets of the Italian Alps. James Bond, of course, has a history of Alp-related lavatory shenanigans. We leave it to our undoubtedly brainy audience to find the interesting bits themselves, and content ourselves with an only mildly bog-related quote from On Her Majesty's Secret Service:
"His two battered suitcases came and he unpacked leisurely and then ordered from Room Service a bottle of the Taittinger Blanc de Blancs that he had made his traditional drink at Royale. When the bottle, in its frosted silver bucket, came, he drank a quarter of it rather fast and then went into the bathroom and had an ice-cold shower and washed his hair with Pinaud Elixir, that prince among shampoos, to get the dust of the roads out of it."
(from Jamesbondlifestyle.)
James Bond's style of travelling is, we suspect, quite different from our own: when we go to the Alps we concentrate rather less on drinking out of frosted silver buckets, and more on taking pictures of the varied and often baffling kinds of plumbing contraptions. For instance, we simply cannot get enough of the allaturca toilet, or gabinetto or vaso alla turca, as featured below. We still do our fair share of wild chases down mountain sides with bullets flying left, right, and centre, however.

A pretty accurate representation of our recent holiday.
Image from Betweentheseats

We have mentioned before the inadvisability of using an Italian allaturca toilet
when wearing ski boots and in possession of shredded-to-tiny-pieces knee ligaments
.
This time, luckily, we only had the ski boots to contend with.
The flush cistern isn't visible in this photo, but you can see the pipe.
And there's a toilet shower, too, if you're so inclined!

Mixer tap, lovely soap, and paper towels make for a very happy toilet blogger!

This middle-of-the-piste bar was called Orsa Maggiore,
and had an amusing bear pointing the way to the toilets.

This toilet gets, probably, undici or duodice points. Two eagerly gesticulating thumbs up! Stay tuned for more Italian toilets, including train toilets!

Related Reading:
Italian Toilets: Mi Piace Servizi Igienici
The Disabled Toilet in the Physiotherapy Department at York Hospital

Dizzying heights of Toilet Perfection

Finally! An Italian Train!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Post-Christmas Stupor, Part II

Oh, dear. We've got so many lovely, lovely pictures to create simply spiffing updates from, but we have been so busy grappling a bottle of gin in a hotel bar with James Bond, that we simply do not have the energy. Hence we're pulling a very cheap trick and simply posting a link to an old post! Believe us, though, it's a corker of a story! Hurrah, a Christmas mystery: Just what one needs to pass that awkward time between Christmas and New Year's, when one has started feeling guilty about eating too much but not yet found the motivation to snap into shape like a lean, teenage greyhound (to quote one of our favourite authors)! Behold:

A Christmas Mystery: The Mysterious Case of the Curse at Crapper Castle, or, Put a Lid on It, or, No Shit, Sherlock


Enjoy!

No Shit, Sherlock: a corking mystery!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Post-Christmas Stupor

How are you feeling? Christmas is a funny thing. In our experience, it's either over too soon or not soon enough. Monkey, however, has been enjoying Christmas wholeheartedly this year, and was most excited by his gifts of Icelandic yoghurt and schnapps!

Monkey loves yoghurt, but he loves schnapps even more.
Luckily, he now has both!
We hope you've enjoyed Christmas as much as Monkey!

Monday, 24 December 2012

A Christmas Story: Egils Saga

Last year we received a delightful Christmas gift in the shape of Icelandic Christmas Toilets. This year, we're giving our readers a gift in the shape of the toilets at the Egill Skallagrímsson brewery in Reykjavík! We really cannot recommend a visit to this brewery enough! Our guide told us the story of the brewery, and of beer-drinking in Iceland, in a fashion that was both enlightening and entertaining, even going to the length of giving a most amusing demonstration of how beer was drunk in Iceland in the eighties (has to be seen to be believed)! Consideration was given to the fact that visitors needed to use the facilities after a certain amount of beer, which everyone appreciated very much. Very good facilities they were, too!


So clean! Such a lovely mixer-tap-paper-towel-lovely-soap combination!

This seems to be the disabled toilet. It was very good. Ooh, look, a dual flush!

It really was an excellent brewery tour

Oh dear, we hope you're of age: This beer is also excellent!
It's got liquorice in it! Intellectual Friend says:
"Legendary stuff! Did you say Yule ale 'with liquorice',
as in, with liquorice IN the ale?
I MUST GET THIS STUFF!!"


Let us not forget that Christmas is a time of story-telling as well as of drinking. We have selected chapter 66/71/72/73/74, depending on which edition one chooses, of Egils saga for our Christmas story. Enjoy!

English translation follows after the Old Norse original. Old Norse version from Heimskringla, English version from Icelandic Saga Database. Please note that the English translation is the 1893 version by W. C. Green, which glosses over certain unappetizing habits of Egil's. For instance, the bit where Egil
"stood up, went across the floor to where Armod sat, took him with his hands by the shoulders, and forced him back against the inner posts, and spat in his face",

should actually be something more like:

"He stood up and walked across the floor to where Armod was sitting, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him up against a wall-post. Then Egil spewed a torrent of vomit that gushed all over Armod's face, filling his eyes and nostrils and mouth and pouring down his beard and chest. Armod was close to choking, and when he managed to let out his breath, a jet of vomit gushed out with it. All Armod's men who were there said that Egil had done a base and despicable deed by not going outside when he needed to vomit, but had made a spectacle of himself in the drinking-room instead.
Egil said, 'Don't blame me for following the master of the house's example. He's spewing his guts up just as much as I am'."
(Bernard Scudder's translation)

71. Egill fann Ármóð skegg. Egill bjóst til ferðar ok þrír menn aðrir hans förunautar. Höfðu þeir hesta ok sleða svá sem konungsmenn. Þá váru snjóvar miklir ok breyttir vegar allir. Ráða þeir til ferðar, er þeir váru búnir, ok óku upp á land, ok er þeir sóttu austr til Eiða, þá var þat á einni nótt, at fell snjór mikill, svá at ógerla sá vegana. Fórst þeim þá seint um daginn eftir, því at kafhlaup váru, þegar af fór veginum.
   Ok er á leið daginn, dvölðust þeir ok áðu hestum sínum. Þar var nær skógarháls einn.
   Þá mæltu þeir við Egil: "Nú skiljast hér vegar, en hér fram undan hálsinum býr bóndi sá, er heitir Arnaldr, vinr várr. Munum vér förunautar fara þangat til gistingar, en þér skuluð fara hér upp á hálsinn, ok þá er þér komið þar, mun brátt verða fyrir yðr bær mikill, ok er yðr þar vís gisting. Þar býr stórauðigr maðr, er heitir Ármóðr skegg. En á morgin árdegis skulum vér hittast ok fara annat kveld til Eiðaskógs. Þar býr góðr bóndi, er Þorfinnr heitir."
   Síðan skiljast þeir. Fara þeir Egill upp á hálsinn, en frá konungsmönnum er þat at segja, at þegar er sýn fal í milli þeira Egils, þá tóku þeir skíð sín, er þeir höfðu haft, ok stigu þar á, létu síðan ganga aftr á leið, sem þeir máttu. Fóru þeir nótt ok dag ok sneru til Upplanda ok þaðan norðr um Dofrafjall ok léttu eigi fyrr en þeir kómu á fund Hákonar konungs ok sögðu um sína ferð sem farit hafði.
   Egill ok förunautar hans fóru um kveldit yfir hálsinn. Var þat þar skjótast af at segja, at þeir fóru þegar af veginum. Var snjórinn mikill. Lágu hestarnir á kafi annat skeið, svá at draga varð upp. Þar váru kleifar ok kjarrskógar nökkurir, en um kjörrin ok kleifarnar var alltorsótt. Var þeim þá seinkan mikil at hestunum, en mannfærðin var in þyngsta. Mæddust þeir þá mjök, en þó kómust þeir af hálsinum ok sá þá fyrir sér bæ mikinn ok sóttu þangat til.
   Ok er þeir kómu í túnit, þá sá þeir, at þar stóðu menn úti, Ármóðr ok sveinar hans. Köstuðust þeir orðum á ok spurðust tíðenda. Ok er Ármóðr vissi, at þeir váru sendimenn konungs, þá bauð hann þeim þar gisting. Þeir þekkðust þat. Tóku húskarlar Ármóðs við hestum þeira ok reiða, en bóndi bað Egil ganga inn í stofu, ok þeir gerðu svá. Ármóðr setti Egil í öndvegi á inn óæðra bekk ok þar förunautar hans útar frá. Þeir ræddu margt um, hversu erfilliga þeir höfðu farit um kveldit, en heimamönnum þótti mikit undr, er þeir höfðu fram komizt, ok sögðu, at þar væri engum manni fært, þó at snjólaust væri.
   Þá mælti Ármóðr: "Þykkir yðr eigi sá beini beztr, at yðr sé borð sett ok gefinn náttverðr, en síðan farið þér at sofa? Munuð þér þá hvílást bezt."
   "Þat líkar oss allvel," segir Egill.
   Ármóðr lét þá setja þeim borð, en síðan váru settir fram stórir askar, fullir af skyri. Þá lét Ármóðr, at honum þætti þat illa, er hann hafði eigi mungát at gefa þeim. Þeir Egill váru mjök þyrstir af mæði. Tóku þeir upp askana ok drukku ákaft skyrit ok þó Egill miklu mest. Engi kom önnur vistin fram.
   Þar var margt hjóna. Húsfreyja sat á þverpalli ok þar konur hjá henni. Dóttir bónda var á gólfinu, tíu vetra eða ellifu. Húsfreyja kallaði hana til sín ok mælti í eyra henni. Síðan fór mærin útar fyrir borðit, þar er Egill sat. Hon kvað:


Því sendi mín móðir
mik við þik til fundar
ok orð bera Agli,
at ér varir skyldið.
Hildr mælti þat horna:
Haga svá maga þínum,
eigu órir gestir
æðra nest á frestum.
Ármóðr laust meyna ok bað hana þegja. "Mælir þú þat jafnan, er verst gegnir."
   Mærin gekk á brott, en Egill skaut niðr skyraskinum, ok var þá nær tómr. Váru þá ok brott teknir askarnir frá þeim. Gengu þá ok heimamenn í sæti sín ok váru borð upp tekin um alla stofu ok sett á vist. Því næst kómu inn sendingar ok váru þá settar fyrir Egil sem fyrir aðra menn.
   Því næst var öl inn borit, ok var þat it sterkasta mungát. Var þá brátt drukkinn einmenningr. Skyldi einn maðr drekka af dýrshorni. Var þar mestr gaumr at gefinn, er Egill var ok sveitungar hans, skyldu drekka sem ákafast. Egill drakk ósleitiliga fyrst langa hríð. En er förunautar hans gerðust ófærir, þá drakk hann fyrir þá þat, er þeir máttu eigi. Gekk svá til þess, er borð fóru brott. Gerðust þá ok allir mjök drukknir, þeir er inni váru, en hvert full, er Ármóðr drakk, þá mælti hann: "Drekk ek til þín, Egill." En húskarlar drukku til förunauta Egils ok höfðu inn sama formála. Maðr var til þess fenginn at bera þeim Agli hvert full, ok eggjaði sá mjök, at þeir skyldi skjótt drekka. Egill mælti við förunauta sína, at þeir skyldi þá ekki drekka, en hann drakk fyrir þá þat, er þeir máttu eigi annan veg undan komast.
   Egill fann þá, at honum myndi eigi svá búit eira. Stóð hann þá upp ok gekk um gólf þvert, þangat er Ármóðr sat. Hann tók höndum í axlir honum ok kneikði hann upp at stöfum. Síðan þeysti Egill upp ór sér spýju mikla, ok gaus í andlit Ármóði, í augun ok nasarnar ok í munninn, rann svá ofan um bringuna, en Ármóði varð við andhlaup, ok er hann fekk öndinni frá sér hrundit, þá gaus upp spýja. En allir mæltu þat, þeir er hjá váru, húskarlar Ármóðs, at Egill skyldi fara allra manna armastr ok hann væri inn versti maðr af þessu verki, er hann skyldi eigi ganga út, er hann vildi spýja, en verða eigi at undrum inni í drykkjustofunni.
   Egill segir: "Ekki er at hallmæla mér um þetta, þótt ek gera sem bóndi gerir, spýr hann af öllu afli eigi síðr en ek."
   Síðan gekk Egill til rúms síns ok settist niðr, bað þá gefa sér at drekka. Þá kvað Egill við raust:


Títt erum verð at Vátta,
vætti berk at hættak
þung til þessar göngu,
þinn kinnalá minni.
Margr velr gestr, þars gistir,
gjöld, finnumsk vér sjaldan,
Ármóði liggr, æðri,
ölðra dregg í skeggi.
Ármóðr hljóp upp ok út, en Egill bað gefa sér drekka. Þá mælti húsfreyja við þann mann, er þeim hafði skenkt um kveldit, at hann skyldi gefa drykk, svá at þá skyrti eigi, meðan þeir vildi drekka. Síðan tók hann dýrshorn mikit ok fylldi ok bar til Egils. Egill kneyfði af horninu í einum drykk. Þá kvað hann:

Drekkum ór, þótt Ekkils
eykríðr beri tíðum
horna sund at hendi,
hvert full, bragar Ulli.
Leifik vætr, þótt Laufa
leikstærir mér færi,
hrosta tjarnar horni,
horn til dags at morni.
Egill drakk um hríð ok kneyfði hvert horn, er at honum kom, en lítil var þá gleði í stofunni, þótt nökkurir menn drykki. Síðan stendr Egill upp ok förunautar hans ok taka vápn sín af veggjum, er þeir höfðu upp fest, ganga síðan til kornhlöðu þeirar, er hestar þeira váru inni. Lögðust þeír þar niðr í hálm ok sváfu um nóttina.

Egil wasn't pretty, but he sure knew how to party. Image from Wikipedia.

Chapter 74 - Journey to Vermaland.
Egil with three comrades made him ready for the journey. They had horses and sledges, and so had the king's men. There was then deep snow, and all the roads were effaced. They betook them to their journey when they were ready, and sledged up the land; and when they came eastwards near Eida, it happened one night that so much fresh snow fell that they could not see the way. On the morrow they traveled slowly, because there were snowdrifts directly one left the track. And as the day wore on they stopped to bait their horses; this was near a wooded ridge. Then spoke the king's men with Egil: 'Here now the roads divide; forward below the ridge dwells a landowner named Arnold, our friend; we with our party will go and lodge there. But you shall go yonder up the ridge, and when you come over it you will soon have before you a large house where you are sure of lodging. A wealthy man dwells there, Armod Beard by name. But to-morrow early we will again join company and go on the next evening to Eida-wood. There dwells a worthy landowner named Thorfinn.'

Upon this they separated, Egil and his men going up the ridge. But of the king's men this is to be told, that no sooner were they and Egil out of sight of each other, than they took their snow-shoes (which they had brought with them) and put them on; then they retraced their way as fast as they could. Night and day they travelled, and turned toward Upland, thence north by the Dovre-fell, nor stayed they till they came before king Hacon, and told him of their journey, how it had sped.

Egil and his comrades crossed the ridge that evening. To be brief, so soon as they left the main road and got upon the ridge, they found deep snow, steep rocks, tangled copsewood. Now and again in the snow the horses so plunged and lay that they had to be pulled up out of it, and over rocks and crags was a hard struggle. Much ado had they with the horses; but the walking for the men was of the heaviest, and sorely wearied were they when they came off the ridge and saw before them a large house, for which they made.

And when they came to the enclosure, they saw men standing outside, Armod and some of his household. They exchanged words and asked each other's tidings, and when Armod knew that they were messengers of the king, he offered them lodging. This they accepted. Armod's house-carles took their horses and harness; but the master bade Egil go into the hall, and they did so.

Armod made Egil sit in the high seat on the lower bench, and his comrades outside him. They spoke much of what a toilsome way they had come that evening, but the house-carles thought it a great marvel that they had won through it at all; it was, they said, no road for man even were it free of snow.

Then said Armod: 'Think ye not this were the best hospitality, that a table should be set for you and supper given you now, and then you should sleep? This will best rest you.'

'We should like this right well,' said Egil.

So Armod had a table set for them, whereon were placed large bowls full of curds. Then said Armod that he was sorry he had no beer to give them. Egil and his men were very thirsty from weariness; they took up the bowls and drank the curds eagerly, Egil drinking far the most. No other food was brought.

The household was numerous. The mistress sat on the cross-bench, and beside her the other women. The master's daughter, ten or eleven years old, was running about the hall-floor. The mistress called her to her side, and spoke in her ear. Then the girl went out to where Egil sat, and recited a verse:


'To thee with this message
My mother doth send me,
To bear word that Egil
Be wary and wait.
"So temper thy stomach,"
Thus sayeth our lady,
"With fare far more worthy
Soon feed we our guests."'

Armod struck the girl, and bade her hold her tongue: 'You are always,' said he, 'saying what least suits.'

The girl went away; but Egil threw down the curd-bowl, which was now nearly empty. The bowls were then removed from them.

And now the household took their seats, and tables were set all round the hall, and food served; dishes of meat were brought in and set before Egil and the rest. After this ale was borne in, beer of the strongest. Soon they began to drink bumpers, each man was to drink off the horn; and especial care was taken that Egil and his companions should drink hard. Egil drank without shirking a drop for a long while, but when his companions were become helpless, then he drank for them what they could not. So matters went on till the tables were removed, and by then all in the room were well drunk.

But before each cup that he drank Armod said: 'I drink to you, Egil,' and the house-carles drank to Egil's companions with the same preface. A man was appointed to bear every cup to Egil's party, and he urged them to drink it off quick. Egil told his companions to drink no more, but himself drank for them what they could not avoid.

Egil soon found that it would not do for him to go on so. Wherefore he stood up, went across the floor to where Armod sat, took him with his hands by the shoulders, and forced him back against the inner posts, and spat in his face. There was an outcry and uproar, but Egil went back to his place, sate him down, and bade them serve him drink.

Armod leapt up and ran out; Egil continued to drink for a while, as did some others in the hall; but there was little merriment. Soon Egil and his men stood up, and took their weapons from the wall where they had hung them up; they then went to the granary in which their horse were, and laid themselves down in the straw, and slept through the night.

Egils malt og appelsin - an Icelandic Christmas classic. Image from Shopicelandic.

Related Reading
A Splendid Christmas present: The Best Toilet in Iceland!
Þorsteins Þáttr Skelks: Medieval Toilet Anecdote  
World Toilet Day 2011: Taking Our Baths and Our Women
Danger, Danger: Medieval Toilets

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers! Or, rather, Gleðileg jól!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Strokes - Meet Me in the Bathroom

It's Sunday. We're presumably busy grappling a bottle of gin in a hotel bar with James Bond, but the rest of you could probably do with a rock'n'roll Toilet Song! We're quite pleased with this one, actually.




The Strokes - Meet Me in the Bathroom

When they say promises
They mean promises.
They'd say, "that's ok,
Long as we can celebrate"
You see, my uncle would say
things would change when he's dead...

"Meet me in the bathroom"
That's what she said
I don't mind...it's true.

Never was on time
Yes, I once was mine
Well, that was long ago
And darling, I don't mind.
Yeah, we were just two friends in lust
And baby, that just don't mean much
You trained me not to love
After you showed me what it was

Now she's staring wide-eyed
Can't close her eyes
Anywhere is fine
just don't waste my time
You see, my uncle would say
things would change once he's dead...

"Meet me in the bathroom"
That's what she said
I don't mind...it's true.

Never was on time
Yes, I once was mine
Well, that was long ago
And darling, I don't mind.
Yeah, they were just two fucks in lust
Baby, that just don't mean much
You trained me not to love
After you taught me what it was.


The Strokes - meet them in the bathroom! Image from tumblr

Friday, 21 December 2012

Arrr, Me Mateys: A Delightful Island-Themed Bathroom


We don't know about you, but personally we feel like getting the hell away from Christmas this year. So we're off for a rendezvous with James Bond in a hotel bar! (That's the intention, anyway.) Don't worry, however - we have prepared, in advance, a fruity collection of updates for your delight and edification. In the meantime, because the world is cold and our mittens are in the wash, let us indulge in a very fruity instance of escapism. This picture comes from Australian Friend (whose bathroom, by the way, is officially more popular than naked pictures of James Purefoy, at least on this blog. We can't quite put our finger on what, but something is definitely very wrong with the world), and is called Delightful Island-Themed Bathrooms at a Southbank Café in South Melbourne! ♥.

Oooh, one thinks one is in heaven!
Related Reading



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Uzbekistani Delight

Oh dear, oh dear. Toilet blogging is a strange hobby. We live in constant expectation of hitting the wall and having nothing more to say about toilets. But somehow, something interesting always turns up in life's great sewer. What with our constant vigilance, our recent sponsored research trip, and our various friends being so very busy travelling all over the world and suffering from anxiety disorders left, right, and centre, we actually have more blog material than we quite know what to do with! We thus have the pleasure of suffering the exquisite anguish of having to pick one fabulous set of pictures out of many fabulous sets of pictures. We decided to start with German Friend's long-anticipated pictures from Uzbekistan! This little series bears the charming title Builders' Delight.

German Friend says:
A wonderfully honest and humble shack at the street-facing side of a building site. Next to our hotel in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Sponsored by the local brew and the flies loved it.

Mmm, beer!

Another titillating angle

A hole in the ground and a couple of planks: simple, but functional

Rudimentary, but ever so functional!
Many thanks, German Friend! We look forward to your next holiday with unbridled joy!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Power Trip: Hellisheiðarvirkjun

We have expressed, once or twice before, a wish for funding for a research trip. Well, sit down and hold on tight to your whisky bottle, because it finally happened!! An anonymous philanthropist recently financed a Privy Counsel field trip to Iceland!
In case you didn't know already, Iceland is an amazing country, flowing with, if not quite milk and honey, then certainly unlimited amounts of hot water from mixer taps!
A guided tour of the Hellisheiði power plant exhibition revealed unimaginable sources of wonder and delight! The unique geological conditions in Iceland means that hot water is both free and guilt-free, since it doesn't cause any carbon dioxide emissions. Hot water from the ground is transported throughout the country via a national grid, heating the houses and keeping the showers lovely and hot (conducive to good hygiene)! Excess heat keeps key areas free of snow and ice for hazard-free winter stair-climbing!

See the magic for yourself in this sexy video:




We naturally took pictures of the visitor toilets at the power plant, for the delight and edification of our readers.

We personally prefer Tork to Lotus, but don't really care as long as there's a mixer tap.

Admirably clean - shame about the toilet rolls.

One positively salivates at the sight of such an excellent coat hook

A laudable exhortation for guests to wash their hands!
Intellectual Friend presumably salivates at the sight of this imperative!
POSTSCRIPT
Intellectual Friend says: "I did indeed salivate at the sight of the imperative mundu, which is even more thrilling when one remembers that mund also meant 'hand' in poetic Old Norse, and so we potentially have here a diachronic philological pun (admittedly rather unlikely, though, on second thoughts, as it's after all just a blasted power plant)!"

Hellisheiði power plant. Image from Mannvit

Hellisheiði power plant. Image from Mannvit


Related Reading (with grateful thanks, as ever, to Intellectual Friend)
A Splendid Christmas Present: The Best Toilet in Iceland! 
Reykjavík Revisited: An Exercise in Calligraphy
Danger, Danger: Medieval Toilets
Þorsteins Þáttr Skelks: Medieval Toilet Anecdote 
World Toilet Day 2011: Taking Our Baths and Our Women  
The Second Best Toilet in Iceland
Icelandic Toilets: An Intellectual Update

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Space Waste, Part II

Since it's the weekend, let's have spot of light-hearted entertainment. Here's another delightful clip from The Big Bang Theory, relating the adventures of the infamous space toilet, as mentioned previously.

 


For a slightly longer version, including oh! so delicious academic ribbing, view this.

Weird scientists and a space toilet - what's not to love?
Related reading
Space Waste, Part I
A Semi-Intellectual Treat

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Privy Counsel Pin-Up: James Purefoy

Although we just did a Privy Counsel Pin-Up post, and hesitate to repeat ourselves, we have decided to award the world at large a present, and publish one more. The previous posts were, you see, received with raucous acclaim, and it appears that Privy Counsel readers the world over are united in a cry of "More! More!" Who are we to deny them their simple pleasures? Here you go: pictures of James Purefoy in the bath! You're welcome. Pretend it's your birthday, or something.

Let's start with a picture where the man is fully dressed,
gradually moving on to the more depraved ones as we go along.
Image from mynewplaidpants.

As Mark Antony in Rome, bathing Roman fashion: being scraped with olive oil
and a strigil by a slave. This is also our own personal favourite method of bathing.
There are much ruder pictures than this one available online, for those so inclined.
Image from mynewplaidpants.
We're not entirely sure what's going on here or where this is from, and don't particularly care.
It might be a scene from Rome.
Image from mamakittyreviews.
Bath-tub festivity. Image from starlists.

Oh, go on, then. Let's have another one! It is so very festive!
Image from phoebefay.
For a serious thrill, contemplate this: Privy Counsel HQ was, once upon a time, located near James Purefoy HQ in Hammersmith!

Related reading
Privy Counsel Pin-Up: Colin Firth
Privy Counsel Pin-Up: Toby Stephens
For the sake of gender equality we naturally have a girl pin-up, too
The Roman Bath Museum - Crap on a Stick
Roaring Good Roman Fun

Monday, 10 December 2012

Privy Counsel Pin-Up: Ablutions with Toby



Don't ask us why, but it's time for another Privy Counsel Pin-Up. Likewise don't ask us why, but we were lucky enough to come across a picture of Toby Stephens in the bath! Most people know this actor from Jane Eyre, but it turns out he's done lots of other stuff as well. Stephens has, it appears, strong cleanliness credentials; check out this video of him tending to his hygiene!



A reviewer on Amazon has this to say about Toby Stephens' audio books:
"Let Toby's velvet voice wash over you like melted chocolate as he breathes life into Tales from the Arabian Nights: Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad, as only Toby can." 
Oooh, yes please. (It's quite hard to find quotes relating to Toby Stephens and hygiene on the internet. This one's got the word "wash" in it - that's as good as it gets.)

Hurrah! Another instance of Toby Stephens bathing; this time in The Camomile Lawn!
Image from digplanet

Related Reading
Jane Eyre - Plunging into Passion
Privy Counsel Pin-Up - Colin Firth 
Privy Counsel Pin-Up - James Purefoy
Anthony Hopkins Uses Hand Sanitizer, Avoids Winter Vomiting Disease

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Toilet Song - Hitting the Bathtub Gin with Amy

It's Sunday - time for a Toilet Song! If you've spent as much time as we have with drunken academics lately, you'll be glad of some simple rock'n'roll to rest the mental faculties. We're in a subtle mood today, so toilet references are in a similar vein. Amy's mention of "stormy weather", moreover, strikes a chord - Privy Counsel HQ is literally snowed in!



Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

Meet you downstairs in the bar and hurt
Your rolled-up sleeves and your skull t-shirt
You say, "What did you do with him today?"
And sniff me out like I was Tanqueray

'Cause you're my fella, my guy
Hand me your Stella and fly
By the time I'm out the door
You tear men down like Roger Moore

I cheated myself
Like I knew I would
I told ya I was trouble
You know that I'm no good

Upstairs in bed, with my ex boy
He's in the place, but I can't get joy
Thinking on you in the final throes
This is when my buzzer goes

Run out to meet ya, chips and pitta
You say, "When we're married" - 'cause you're not bitter -
"There'll be none of him no more"
I cried for you on the kitchen floor

I cheated myself
Like I knew I would
I told ya I was trouble
You know that I'm no good

Sweet reunion, Jamaica and Spain
We're like how we were again
I'm in the tub, you're on the seat
Lick your lips as I soak my feet

Then you notice a likkle carpet burn
My stomach drop and my guts churn
You shrug, and it's the worst
Who truly stuck the knife in first?

I cheated myself, like I knew I would
I told ya I was trouble, you know that I'm no good
I cheated myself, like I knew I would
I told ya I was trouble, yeah ya know that I'm no good

Amy in the tub. When you're this fabulous you most likely don't need mixer taps.
Image from Youtube.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

OCD Voyeurism

According to Mary Douglas, who is something of an authority, Christmas- and spring-cleaning rituals don't actually contribute to hygiene, but are yet rampant in most cultures. Australian Friend just had a cleaning orgy, and, once she told us she'd "stacked the towels in colour gradients", we just had to ask for pictures. Behold, a titillating voyeuristic OCD journey!


"I even stacked the towels in colour gradients"

Australian Friend's toilet. We love the tiles and the flowers!
The shower
A petite basin!

"The bath popped out when the pipe burst during a storm"

"Close-up of rubber duckie"

"A seaside-inspired display"

"Detail of my basket display, à la Vogue Interiors".
We note with joy the helpful electricity sockets, infamously absent in British bathrooms.

Sink WITH MIXER TAP. OH, THE GLORY!

"Cupboard detail. Note impeccable organisation"
And that concludes our OCD tour of Australian Friend's bathroom!

Related reading
Common Sense in Spain
 Mixer Taps - The Great Controversy, or, When Will Britain Enter the 21st Century?, or, You Are Not Alone! 
HTFU: A Journey through an Australian Dunny

Friday, 7 December 2012

Amelioration, Constipation, Communication

Do you sometimes get that tired, oppressed feeling caused by newspapers jabbering on about how one should always be learning new skills in order to stay attractive on the job market? We do, frequently, and frankly, we happen to think we're quite attractive enough, and if toilet blogging isn't an awesome accomplishment then we don't know what is. Be that as it may, however - here's an opportunity, if you happen to be feeling full of zest and zinginess as opposed to world-weariness and apathy, to learn a new skill! Tudor Friend sent us a link to a very useful website telling you how to give your friends and loved ones useful advice - in Italian - without saying a single syllable! If nothing else, we can see this becoming an awesome party trick!

Using actual words is entirely optional

Why does this guy look so familiar?
Images from Awfullibrarybooks

Related reading
Communication Is So Important
An Opportunity to Learn Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast
The Historic Toilet Tour of York
Sixteenth-Century Handwashing 
Italian Toilet Reviews

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Space Waste

It is always a delightful occurrence when one finds soulmates in the shape of fictional characters. We have had occasion to quote the whimsical lads in The Big Bang Theory before, and we now gleefully shoulder the yoke again. We're especially fond of Sheldon, whose narcissism and level of OCD almost match our own. At the moment, however, Howard's space-toilet construction renders him extremely popular at Privy Counsel HQ (although unlike, to pick a name at random, Intellectual Friend, Howard doesn't have a PhD). View the lighthearted space-toilet frolicking here!



Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent Adventures: A Revolutionary New Look at the Best Toilet in England

We had planned an update full to the brim of riotous weekend hilarity and hijinks, but, suddenly remembering that today is Advent Sunday, we chose instead to share some serene seasonal ambience. Taking a radical step in a hitherto unexplored direction, we're showing the exterior of a building containing an excellent toilet, rather than the toilet itself. (Enjoy it while it lasts.) Here is a picture of Café Treff in Ambleside, home of the Best Toilet in England.

Ambleside by night: gobsmacking, jaw-dropping picturesqueness.
Image from Café Treff's Facebook page - we hope they don't mind us borrowing it.
You can naturally still view the famous interior of the Best Toilet in England, if you wish. Here, for instance.

Related Reading
Café Treff, Ambleside: The Best Toilet in England
If You Like Sheep and Beer: Why Not Go to the Lake District on Your Next Holiday
A Splendid Christmas Present: The Best Toilet in Iceland
The Finer Points of Roman Hygiene 

Cafe Treff
Central Buildings
Ambleside
LA22 9BS
http://www.cafetreff.co.uk/

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Toilet Song: Lost

Phew. New Year's Day is always a bit awkward, if one's New Year's Eve has been at all up to scratch. The words "Face down in the porcelain" tend to spring to mind, for some reason or other.






Katy Perry - Lost
I'm out on my own again
Face down in the porcelain
Feeling so high but looking so low

Party favors on the floor
Group of girls banging on the door
So many new fair-weather friends

Oh, oh, oh, have you ever been so lost?
Known the way and still so lost?

Caught in the eye of a hurricane
Slowly waving goodbye like a pageant parade
So sick of this town pulling me down, oh

My mother says I should come back home
But can't find the way 'cause the way is gone
So if I pray am I just sending words into outer space?

Have you ever been so lost?
Known the way and still so lost?
Another night waiting for someone to take me home
Have you ever been so lost?

Is there a light, is there a light At the end of the road?
I'm pushing everyone away
'Cause I can't feel this anymore
Can't feel this anymore

Have you ever been so lost?
Know the way and still so lost?
Another night waiting for someone to take me home
Have you ever been so lost?
Have you ever been so lost?

Katy Perry in porcelain action

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