Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Musings

We seem to remember, last year, vowing to write more blog posts while drunk. (We may have imagined this.) However, it turns out that there are only two posts with our new "Posts written while drunk" label, though it could of course merely be that we were too drunk to remember to use the label (we can't remember).
Be that as it may, here's a brief but celebratory collection of pictures from our favourite museum ever, the Museum of London! Huzzah!!

Because everyone loves bog roll.

Victorian soap!

A morbid reminder of the importance of clean water.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas 2013: Shetland Shithouses Part II. Umm, Poetry in Motion?

Ho, ho, hope you're all having a magnificently bountiful Christmas, stuffed to bursting-point with Brussels sprouts, mulled wine, and the eccentricities of all your relatives, at once, in a confined space. (As you all of course know, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th in all civilised parts of the world. And that includes, we are informed by a reliable source, Colombia.)
You thought yesterday's exuberantly festive post was as much fun as it was going to get, didn't you? Well, you were wrong! We've got this splendiferously lovely post from Danish Friend to enjoy before we fall over drunk gracefully retire for the night!

(You may, if you wish, refresh your memory with Shetland Shithouses Part I before continuing.)

Our favourite Danish person writes:

I would like to dedicate this email to the Shetland Museum and Archives. This is a lovely museum situated on the old harbour front in Lerwick (just next to the Mareel - mentioned in my last email) and the toilets are a joy to behold (and use).
Another wash basin for smaller than average creatures. Also notice the seats hanging above - I am guessing they are aimed at the same demographic.
Lovely local soap.

I like how you can choose between the paper and the hand dryer, and the bin is discreetly enclosed in this set-up as well. And again, helpful implements are provided if you cannot reach by yourself.

As if all of this wasn't enough, the toilet booths hid another little treat.

They were always clean and well looked after, but that wasn't it. The secret was kept behind the door - in plain view only for those so fortunate as to use these facilities.... Bog poetry!!! And every booth had a different poem. Here is just a small selection, a teaser, for what can be expected from a visit to the Shetland Museum toilets:

Wasn't that stupendously festive? Many thanks to Danish Friend for this joyful contribution, which was certainly educational and edifying as well as entertaining, and as we all know, that's what the Privy Counsel is all about!

Stay tuned for Danish Friend's Danish Dad's contribution - coming soon!

How about a video? We honestly can't imagine anything more festive than Elvis, clad in black leather, at Christmas!

Festive video: Elvis Presley, Blue Christmas

Sod it, let's have another one. We're feeling pretty damn convivial!

Festive video: The Beach boys, Little Saint Nick

Related Reading
Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt: Shetland Shithouses Are Here!
The Spirit of Christmas: Mixer Tap, Urinals, Relief
A Calamitous and Inflammatory Blend of History and Toilet Paper
Orkney Outhouses
A Splendid Christmas Present: The Best Toilet in Iceland
A Christmas Story: Egils Saga
Rumours, a Teaser, and More Epistolary Action (With Useful Facts about Everyone's Favourite Toilet Country)

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Spirit of Christmas: Mixer Tap, Urinals, Relief

What? Christmas? When? How? Gaaah!
Once again, we find ourselves unprepared for the onslaught of seasonal festivity, due to our rather too vigorous academic pursuits. Luckily, our friends are on the ball - not only have we got some unbelievably thrilling pictures from Intellectual Friend, Danish Friend, and Danish Friend's Danish Dad to delight and amuse you with this holiday season, we have also got a spectacularly festive series of joyous Yuletide toilet photography from German Friend! Our esteemed Teutonic friend writes:

Hello there and ahoi,
Here is a little treat for Christmas, straight from that London. Mixer tap, urinals, relief, and... to while away the time during that epic pee, pictures of semi-nude belles of a an era gone by... *sigh*What more could a man wish for? Seriously! What? More?
Take care, god jul, and always have a spare urinal cake handy. You never know!

One is rather inclined to be feeling single, seeing double, again.

A bit rude, what?

Well goodness, that's a lot of nudity all in one toilet.

This is when it gets really exciting! L'Occitane soap and a mixer tap!


That was highly enjoyable! We feel spiritually invigorated, and ready to face another week of uninhibited festive drinking Christmas! Let's have an exuberant video to continue the celebrational mood!


Friday, 13 December 2013

Quickly, Before We Sober Up: Icelandic Nostalgia

We find ourselves strangely inebriated this morning. No reason, you understand, it's just one of those mornings. Elvis on the stereo, Captain Morgan in the coffee mug. You know how it is sometimes.

We're reminiscing fondly, in our plastered condition, about last year's trip to Iceland, that land of not quite milk and honey but certainly excellent plumbing and endless hot water. Our regular readers will remember that an anonymous benefactor sponsored a research trip to Iceland last year, which was hugely exciting and educational. (Read more here, here, here, here, here and here (bloody hell, that's a lot of Icelandic toilet pictures, actually).)

Let's get cracking before we sober up! Ho, ho, ho, here are the pictures from Þjóðdminjasafn Íslands (that is, the Icelandic National Museum) in Reykjavík!

Does one BARK with joy at the beauty and stylishness of these taps?
One does! WOOF!

If there's one thing Icelandic people know how to do well, it's rotten shark, pony schnapps, and toilets!
Three. That's three things. Let's continue.

Who're you gonna call?

Can't remember if we liked this or not. What do you think?

Well, wasn't that just spiffing! Hurrah for Iceland! And many thanks, again, to our generous benefactor! We give these toilets a hundred thousand points! Woof!

Related Reading
Power Trip: Hellisheiðarvirkjun
Fabulous Glamour at Fiskarmarkaðurinn

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Less Intellectualism, More Prurient Pictures!

People have been doing it again. Sending us pictures, that is! (What did you think?) We keep meaning to do a proper review (considering that we still insist that reviews are our raison d'être, we do woefully few of them these days), using the first-class toilet material lurking in our archives. However, with fabulous stuff like this, who CARES about reviews? Also, we've been working very hard recently, and this, in combination with the weekend's sleeplessness and Danish-  Intellectual- and Obsessive Emmerdale Fan Friend-related alcohol consumption, renders us momentarily rather sluggish of intellect. So let us drop all pretence at intellectualism and indulge, shamelessly, in amusing pictures!

First out are our Very Brave Friend's photos from Manchester, a city which seems full to the brim of fabulous toilets.

These ladies adorn the wall of a toilet in Manchester!

We think this particular lady is extra fabulous.

As ever, we are all in favour of clear signage!
Does this, however, remind one rather distressingly
of the dangerous taps which plague Britain? It does.

Very Brave Friend says: "It was a bit stingy
with the amount of soap that came out, and it was foam-based."

Apparently this jar is for emergencies of the sanitary kind.
Wasn't that refreshing!

Next up is a festive picture from Jonny, who says: "Only students would need this warning. Toilet spot at York St John."

York St John toilet. Note says, "Please don't put anything down the urinals."

Mr Smith delighted us with this beautiful picture from the Rockaway Bar in Shoreditch. This gladdens us because we might be spending some time there in the near future! Not to give too much away, but you know how Shewee generously sent us a barrage of shewees to rock the night away with? Well, the rocking the night away-ing might be happening in the very near vicinity of this place!

Finally, we have a quote from Tudor Friend, who amusingly says,

Anyway, musician humour from my mum's friends, discussing which historic musical figure they'd leave their husbands for: "Give Schubert a shot of penicillin and I'd run away with him. There has to be a reason he caught the syph."

Are you holding on to your nacho hats? There is more stuff like this coming! We have a rich supply of whimsical toilet photography from German Friend, which we hope to showcase very soon, and Intellectual Friend has rather incautiously promised to send us the promised photos from Norway - perhaps even before the year is over!  There is just NO END TO THE FABULOUSNESS!

Related Reading:
A Note on Desperate Measures

The Mysterious Forbidden Lavatories of Manchester
Dirty Toilets and Dirtier Minds - A Nautical Theme
Dread, Rage, and Out-of-Order Urinals

Saturday, 7 December 2013

So Much Fabulousness We Hardly Know Where to Begin

Tally-ho! Life is pretty fabulous at Privy Counsel HQ right now, so we're making the most of it while it lasts. One of many fabulous things that have happened is that Shewee have generously sent us a selection of shewees to make our New Year's party extra festive!  We anticipate this being a legendary occasion, considering it's going to involve Australian Friend, Shewee Fiend Friend, a fuckload of drink and a BARRAGE OF SHEWEES! There will obviously be a blog post recording the results, once the hangover clears. (So most likely the second week in March or thereabouts.)

New Year's is still some way away, though, and there is plenty of work to be done before then, so let us get back to business and, for instance, do a Privy Counsel Book Club post! It's been a long time, but a dear friend of ours recommended a fabulous book called The Crimson Petal and the White! As a consequence, we have some Doulton-related joy to share with you! Enjoy this fabulous description of a Victorian toilet:

The employees' latrine has a much more modern and streamlined appearance, in Sophie's and Sugar's eyes, than the rest of the soapworks. A row of identical white glazed stoneware pedestals, each attached to a brilliant metal cistern bracketed under the ceiling, exhibit themselves like a phalanx of futuristic mechanisms, all proudly engraved with the name of their maker. The seats are a rich brown, glossy with lacquer, brand new it seems; but then, according to the address inscribed on all the cisterns, the Doulton factory is only a few hundred yards down the road. 
(Faber, Michel. The Crimson Petal and the White. Edinburgh: Canon Books, 2002, p. 781.)
You will, obviously, be elated to learn that, following on last week's retro Twyfords nostalgia, we have some amazing pictures of some damn well fabulous Doulton porcelain! Yes, yes, we understand your impatience - let's get on with it!

This spectacular bathroom, dear readers,
can be found at Kronovall Castle,
which we have mentioned once or twice before.

Grand, eh? Handy with a chair, too.
 One can invite a friend to entertain one while one is in the bath.

Woof! Bog-standard, but still. Woof!

This is where it gets exciting:
Ain't it a beauty!

Posh soap. It smelled delicious!

The pièce de résistance:

Does one get all teary-eyed from contemplating such beauty? One does.

We simply can't recommend Kronovall enough - go forth and drink their wine and enjoy their sumptuous bathroom!

Related Reading
More Doulton fabulousness: A Toilet Mystery
A lovely old-fashioned toilet: Right Up Our Alley
More Victorian toilets: The Mysterious Forbidden Lavatories of Manchester
More retro porcelain beauty: Porcelain Porn and Historical Plumbing - We've Found a Soul-Mate
More Kronovall fabulousness: Kronovall - More Castle Shenanigans
For an example of Shewee Fiend Friend's fabulous antics: SISTERS STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES
More Victorians

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Passing Through the Loo at Kalamazoo!

Christmas came early this year! We received this rampantly delightful missive from Tudor Friend, regaling us with tales of the loos at Kalamazoo!
The Western Michigan University hosts a medieval congress every year, and since a lot of our friends tend to veer towards the medieval in more ways than one, they can frequently be found stalking this event. Tudor Friend has been reflecting on the quality of the toilets at Kalamazoo for quite some years, and finally put her thoughts into words. There are quite a few words, actually, and although they're written in Tudor Friend's characteristic elegant hand, with charming green ink, not many of them are complimentary. They make for spiffingly entertaining reading, however!

Dear [Privy Counsellor], 
I have been meaning to send you these pictures forever. Here I present, for your amusement, The Most Dire and Tragic Loo on earth. (Editor's note: We're all for melodrama at the Counsel!) Behold, the dorms at Kalamazoo! Each bathroom is between two bedrooms (and remember that everyone has roommates in the U.S., so four people have to share the Crap Loo). Photo 1 is taken from the doorway of one of the bedrooms, looking towards t'other. (The rooms share the Alcatraz-brick-decor style.) The shower (3) is all the way down by the other door, behind the sinks. It's rough in texture, presumably so no part of you could ever slip; of course, this creates infinite attachment places for mould, mildew, and soap scum. I presume the oatmeal-gone-bad colour was chosen to hide this phenomenon. I'm not sure but think it's possible that the Biology Department finds this useful. The sinks, as you see (2) are utilitarian. Yah, okay, it's America so you do get to enjoy mixer taps. I figure this advantage is cancelled out by the fact that the shower head, although clearly designed to move, does not, and is pointed at such an awkward angle that, to actually get water to your head for such useful things as, say, washing your hair or rinsing it out, you have to hug the pebbly, mouldy walls (thereby negating any true feeling of showerly achievement). And it just gets better...

Tudor Friend's charming handwriting.
We hasten to add that the apparent lopsidedness
is due to the cantankerousness of our scanner.

Meet the Kalamazoo toilet. 
And note that, despite being shared by four total strangers for the prison term duration of a school year (September-June), THERE IS NO FUCKING DOOR ON THE STALL. We'll overlook the fact that you actually can't get the old roll off the holder without rupturing discs (hence the balancing act). And the fact that this toilet has no bin whatsoever, for anything. Not to mention that it can suck down about one square of bog roll and maybe, if you're lucky, some pee, without blocking up. All of that is nothing compared to the fact that THERE IS NO FUCKING DOOR. Every year, 2,000 + medievalists, many of them great and Terrible Eminences in their fields, spend a week in these dorms. Rumour hath it that steamy annual affairs are conducted (and if you saw, much less slept in one, or heard the cacophony it makes if you sneeze, you would wonder how romance, much less sex, much less good sex, could ever happen in a K'zoo bed!). All of this is a bit hard to fathom, and I say this after attending for something like six years. But the thought that undergrads have to live in this hole all year, breathing its stench (and contributing to it - the rooms reek of Unwashed Teen Boy Laundry), and having to crap practically in public... Let's just say that it makes me very grateful that I could afford to avoid the state-school experience.
One is rather reminded of the AbFab episode "Iso Tank":
"Takes you back. Testosterone mixed with cheap perfume."
Image from Stylebistro.
My theory is that, as medievalists, we put up with it because our work makes us aware of how bad 14th century toilets were: we can go to Kalamazoo and either be very grateful we weren't around then, or we can suffer the K'zoo loo and feel a kinship with them (minus the fun of the Black Death bits). Phew. I feel better now. It's been a slightly rough week, and I really needed to do something a bit inane, not to mention cleaning my C drive a bit. Sometimes when life sucks, you just need to share a shitty loo with someone who cares. (I need to put that on a sampler!)

The infamous Kalamazoo toilet

Let's finish with a rampantly festive video! We don't know about you, but we feel like we could certainly do with some more AbFab action in our life - in fact, we have a very amusing AbFab-esque orgy planned with Tudor Friend for the future!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Rampantly Entertaining Pictures

Our favourite word right now, all categories, is rampant. It's a rampantly useful word, which can be used in many rampantly entertaining and informative contexts. This is why we're so delighted that our friends have been sending us such rampantly amusing pictures of late! To celebrate the fact that we have been rampantly intellectual as well as generally kicking arse recently, here's a selection of positively RAMPANT pictures!!

The first picture is from a very attractive friend of ours who is characterised by her extraordinary bravery. (More info here.) We have been assured that the water temperature in this tap is "pleasant". People, you have our blessing to rush forth to this Cheltenham bar!

"How do you feel about this tap?" Bar 50, Cheltenham.

Our next candidate is an illustration of a void, sent to us by a certain very dear French person, who we may likewise have mentioned on previous occasions. (We also had a rampantly kick-arse time at her wedding!)

"My friend had her tap changed by a plumber... She is now missing the tap.
Thought you'd like it."

Next up is a contribution from our main literature pimp, Bogsley Hansson Friend.

"What did you just do? One drop or two? From Ada's technical books in Seattle."

We have also this beautiful vintage ad from a friend who has a laudable habit of hosting very fun parties (with, intriguingly, ever-increasing floor space to pass out on), which have contributed to many a Privy Counsel hangover!

Vintage ad for Gustavsberg tap. From the Lund University archives.

Tudor Friend sent us this image of a bathroom so sumptuous it boggles one's mind almost beyond repair!

America's best bathroom is in Minneapolis, apparently!

Finally. Last, but not least. The pièce de résistance. La crème de la crème. Etc. Ladies and gentlemen, behold this priceless picture from Australian Friend!

"Piccadilly Circus, 6 pm."

That's all for now! We've got some thrilling posts planned, though, so stay tuned!

Related Reading
A Lovely Cavalcade of Photos
A Festive Update
Another Favourite: Our Favourite Ever Handwashing Videos

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Porcelain Porn and Historical Plumbing - We've Found a Soul-mate!

Well, strike us pink with a rum-soaked towel, have we ever got joyous news for you today! We have found, dear readers, a soul-mate! A whole bunch of them! They reside at the Twyfords headquarters (wherever that might be - we must quickly find out)!
You know how we're obsessed with Roman plumbing, maintaining that if Britain could only reach the same standard of technical prowess as existed, for instance, in 4th-century York, the world would be a better place? Well, look at this joyous little snippet, from the Twyfords history of plumbing:
The Cretan Palace of Knossos has been described as “a plumbers’ paradise” and
well it might be. From around 1650 B.C. it had an extensive system of drains,
fresh water pipes and settling tanks. You can still see the closets which almost
certainly flushed, and a bath virtually identical in shape with its late nineteenth
century successor.

The island, as tourists will know to their cost, is considerably less well-equipped
today, although in Heraklion Museum, where the treasurers of Knossos are kept,
the gentlemen’s cloakroom can boast a row of superbly plumbed Twyfords
Cascatas - 3,600 years after Knossos, circa. 1950 A.D..

More familiar than the Minoans perhaps, the Romans were also skilful plumbers - 

the very word sanitation stemming from ‘sanitas’ meaning health.
By the first century A.D., Rome’s water supply was provided by eight main
aqueducts, about 22Omiles long, and the sheer scale of their operation defies
belief. The baths of Diocletian are said to have accommodated an incredible
3,000 people, whilst those of Antoninus Caracalla, dating from around 215 A.D.,
covered an area of 28 acres or six times the site of St. Paul’s! ‘In the fourth
century A.D.’ wrote Lawrence Wright in his sanitary classic ‘Clean and Decent’,
‘Rome had 11 public baths, 1352 public fountains and cisterns, and 856 private
baths.’ In addition, as well as private water-flushed latrines, there were plenty of
public ones’ - 144 is the figure he gives - and the city supplied water at the
staggering rate of ‘300 gallons per head, per day’.

The Romans, of course, brought the concepts of piped running water and bathing
to Britain, and built baths over natural springs - as at Aquae Sulis at Bath. They
included among their pantheon, ‘Crepitus’ and ‘Cloacina’ - god of conveniences
and goddess of sewers - and even at the nethermost outpost of Empire, they did
their best to keep up standards. 
See? See? It's not just us!

We came across some lovely old Twyfords sinks, dating from the 1930s, recently. Here they are, in all their glory - enjoy!

Ain't it a beauty!
Look at the lovely porcelain!

(We seem to be barking an awful lot lately.)

Look at this graceful curve!

The genteel simplicity of old-fashioned plumbing
We've got a multitude of non-toilet-related things to get on with today, but, thanks to this dual dose of porcelain porn and historical plumbing, we'll be all brio, gusto, and demented humming - getting shit done like there's no tomorrow!

Related Reading
All Posts on Roman Plumbing
Historical Baths, Toilets and Kitchens - A Useful and Humbling Lesson
Caffè Nero Coppergate: Cocks, Valves, Nuts, Bolts, etc. In Short, Plumbing!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Hwæt! For Better Or for Worse, Whether There Is a Toilet-Roll Holder Or Not, Etc.

We're gearing up for Christmas* at the Privy Counsel, and what with the days being somewhat dim at this time of year**, we find ourselves reminiscing about sunnier, more carefree times***. Like Danish Friend's and Intellectual Friend's wedding, for instance! The memorable and stupendously festive wedding feast took place at Nørre Vosborg Manor, a classy establishment richly equipped with delicious cheese, wine, and cake. Let us cheer ourselves up with pictures from the toilets, and relive this stupendously joyous day!

* Drinking unsuitable amounts of very vulgar beverages.
** As Tudor Friend put it, it's "darker than the inside of a cow".
*** Entering a downward spiral of craziness.

Ok, so there's no toilet-roll holder, but WHO CARES?
It's a DANISH TOILET, and two of our favourite people JUST GOT MARRIED!

Seriously, guys. Check out the mixer tap.

We just adore Danish toilets!

Clear signage.
(So useful after the sixth glass of wine!)

There was a very confusing Ye Olde Worlde kitchen right outside the toilets.
Did it remind us of something? You bet it did!

Home, hearth and coffee pot.
An emblem of Danish Friend's and Intellectual Friend's life together!
(May there be lots of scones!)

"Vaj nu, Dannebrog, på voven."
Not the wedding cake, but Another Eminently Festive Cake!

Ah, Denmark! Country of mermaids, cheese, booze and seriously excellent toilets! Just thinking about it brings a warm glow to the heart!

Our very heartiest congratulations to Danish Friend and Intellectual Friend on tying the knot and generally being awesome people! Let's finish with a festive video:

Luckily, this didn't happen. Or did it?

Related Reading
The Early Stages of Danish Friend's and Intellectual Friend's Romance
The Marriage Is Announced
The Marriage Is Announced Again
Third Time, for Luck
All the Weddings We Have Ever Been To (one of which involved, memorably, the cleanest toilet we have ever had to pleasure of throwing up in)
All Posts about Danish Friend
All Posts about Intellectual Friend
A Note on the Danish Language
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