Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Privy Counsel Wishes You a Happy New Year

Happy new year!

Here at the Privy Counsel, we are firm believers in having fun in excess. Nonetheless, though toilets are very practical, one doesn't want to get too close to one, especially if one has spent a considerable amount of time styling one's hair. So remember to chuck the odd glass of water down your throat! If you don't have access to clean drinking water, remember to boil it first - tea is lovely with a dash or three of rum in it!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Gone with the Wind - A Gastric Drama

 It's been rather windy round Privy Counsel HQ lately, so we thought we'd bring you a related Toilet Tale!

Scarlett O'Hara had an absolutely tiny waist. She lived at Tara, in Georgia. She was the most beautiful girl in the county, and she never failed to give the boys the opportunity to tell her so.
Unfortunately, Mammy insisted on lacing her corset so tightly that she could harldy eat anything
at barbeques, for fear of a stomach-upset. Scarlett found this very annoying.

Scarlett loved Ashley Wilkes, and he in his turn loved her. Unfortunately, however, he was engaged to his cousin Melanie. Melanie had the complexion of a dishrag and wore unfashionable bonnets. How Scarlett loathed her!

Scarlett was so annoyed at Ashley's engagement that she threw a china ornament at the wall.
This greatly amused Rhett Butler, who was hiding behind the sofa!
(He had been resting after the big barbeque, as the cigars he smoked had given him a stomach ulcer.)

The Civil War arrived. Scarlett married Charles, Melanie's brother, just to annoy Ashley.
This amused Rhett and delighted Melanie. The cow!

As luck would have it, Charles died almost immediately, leaving Scarlett a widow.
Annoyingly, however, she wasn't allowed to dance at the bazaar ball.
Rhett Butler found this amusing and promptly made her stand up, shocking all of Atlanta.

When the war ended, Tara was ruined and everyone was poor. Scarlett found this annoying, and vowed never to be poor or hungry again! As a temporary solution, she married her sister Suellen's beau Frank Kennedy,
despite his ginger whiskers. This greatly annoyed Suellen, but amused Rhett.

Finally, Frank died, and Scarlett married Rhett. Everything was hunky-dory until a series of tragic events led to a rift.
Scarlett realised that she had never loved anybody but Rhett. But it was too late! He was gone - gone with the wind. Never mind, thought Scarlett, there will always be Tara.
I can really get to work on the plumbing now, and get those mixer-taps put in.
A persistent rumour claims that Rhett only popped out for some antacids and then came straight back -
he did, after all, have some serious gastric problems.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Safe Water for Ten People

We are working on a rather exciting blog update today, for you edification and delight, but in the meantime, let us just boast that Canadian Friend kindly gave us Safe water for ten people for Christmas! Thank you, Canadian friend!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Body in the Bathtub: A Poirot Mystery

Hercule Poirot was enjoying a hot tisane, which he drank from a square cup in a square chair
in his satisfyingly square flat, when his manservant, the faithful George, interrupted him.
"There is an urgent phonecall from Inspector Hastings, sir," said George with an apologetic cough.
Inspector Hastings, stolid and wooden as ever, urged Poirot to hurry to Looroll Lodge,
where a terrible murder had just taken place.
"Lady Sanitée de la Bidet, a young heiress, has been found murdered in the bathroom at Looroll Lodge!
We're in a bit of a pickle, old chap, and could use your help, what what!" said the Inspector.
"Tiens!" cried the famous Belgian detective. "J'arrive, j'arrive!"

George drove Poirot at breakneck speed through the countryside.
"Mon dieu, Georges," complained the famous detective, "do not exert overdue pressure on the accelerator, I beg you!
We want to arrive at the lodge with our necks unbroken!"
Parbleu, these patent leather shoes are most uncomfortable, thought Poirot to himself
as George slowed the automobile down. But, alors, they are most stylish; I am exceedingly pleased with them.
At dinner that night, Poirot observed the residents at Looroll Lodge carefully.
There was Lord Lavender, the proprietor of the magnificent house. A famous womaniser, he had spawned an army of bastards. In a cruel genetic trick, Mother Nature had given them all Lord Lavender's signature yellow moustache, and efforts to explain them away as distant orphaned nephews and nieces were becoming more and more strained.
Lady Lavender, Lord Lavender's wife of thirty humiliating years, was a bitter woman, with a raging grudge against her husband. No amount of frantic gardening could calm her troubled soul.
Berthold Bowles, the impecunious Earl of Eau de Toilette, was a no-good wastrel. A distant relative of Lady Lavender's, he had been sponging off Lord Lavender's hospitality for longer than anyone cared to remember. Lord Lavender longed to give the young scoundrel a hefty kick in the trousers, especially as he suspected that the disappearance of a certain valuable necklace was due to Earl Bowles's long-fingered thieving,
but his guilty conscience restrained him, and he allowed the relative of his long-suffering wife to stay.

After a few days' observation, Poirot gathered everyone in the library.
"You, Lord Lavender;" he began, "desired Lady Sanitée de la Bidet. I suggest that you murdered her in a fit of rage
when she rejected your sordid advances."
"I did nothing of the kind," huffed Lord Lavender, adjusting his monocle.
"Quite right," agreed Poirot. "Actually it was you, Lady Lavender!" he exclaimed dramatically. "Jealous of Lady Sanitée's beauty and of the attention your philandering husband was giving her, you killed her in a fit of jealousy!"
"Preposterous," sniffed Lady Lavender.
"Bien sûr, preposterous. I am merely jesting," chuckled the famous Belgian detective.

"It was you, Earl Bowles! Lady Sanitée was blackmailing you! She found out that you murdered your friend Smoothblend Mixup, the distinguished manufacturer of modern mixer taps.
A stickler for tradition and poor hygiene, you hated his efficient mixer taps
and begrudged him the money he made from his successful business.
You murdered him by flinging him over the banister of his own opulent home!
To raise cash with which to pay lady Sanitée you stole Lady Lavender's necklace, but when the money ran out,
and you were unable to pay her any more, you decided to silence her forever!"

"You killed her," continued Poirot, "by drowning her in the bath, hoping it would look like an accident.
But, mon dieu, you did not count on the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot!" exclaimed the little Belgian smugly.

A few days later, back in his square flat, Poirot mused on the dramatic events at Looroll Lodge.
"Mon dieu, Georges, but that Inspector Hastings is slow! That young devil Bowles had nearly succeeded in strangling me by the time Hastings turned up to make his arrest!" Poirot shuddered.
"A cup of chocolate will restore our equilibrium, hein!"
"I shall plunge right at it, sir," replied the faithful George.

Related Reading 

Another mystery: A Christmas Mystery: The Mysterious Case of the Curse at Crapper Castle, or, Put a Lid on It, or, No Shit, Sherlock
Want more? See all Toilet Tales

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Splendid Christmas Present: The Best Toilet in Iceland!

We assume that you have all had your yearly Christmas bath and are now at leisure to contemplate the higher things in life. We are exceedingly delighted to bring you today's bog blog update - the long-awaited Best Toilet in Iceland! We've waited so long for this, had so many disappointments, and nearly lost hope so many times, that we are now a bit teary-eyed to finally be able to bring you these outstanding toilet photos from faraway Iceland. But first a little poem, which seems somehow relevant, especially the bit about waiting:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise
(Rudyard Kipling)

Perhaps before we look at the photos we should also hear what Intellectual Friend has to say:

FINE, given the exceptional circumstance of Yule being almost upon us, I might as well spit it out! Not sure these are as terrific I had advertised them, and whether it was worth waiting for them with dangling tongue and wagging tail for the best part of the year, but anyway, TOILETS!
So, out there in the North and not even in Akureyri, but like a half hour drive up the valley, in the middle of nowhere (or even not in the middle, just nowhere), there stands a Yulehouse! Lonely little jólahús, plenty of Christmassy snow and cold, and except our little party practically not a soul about (maybe because it's just a random day in March: 276 dagar til jóla!). Charming house full of Icelandic/Scandinavian enchanting Yule stuffs, eminently including heaps of gingerbreads and sticky candies and liquorice dainties. And also a big Grýla cave, and a swarm of yule lads and other trolls.
Now, after one has savoured/gorged oneself with all those visual and/or food treats, one may take a little winding path out of the house, and then either climb the winding steps to the Tower, or take an even more mysterious path through the blackened trees and shrubs, guided by no other sign but a red lantern ominously dangling from a blackened branch, until, on the edge of a gloomy heath, one reaches the enigmatic ice-spiked Red Shed. Having read some sagas, one naturally thinks red means heathen sacrifice, and expects a blood-sprinkled blóthús or nothing less. One nevertheless dares knock at the red shed's green door.
Klokke Slag, Ringer Dag (Danish-manufactured doorbell, one linguistically assumes), and one enters... and finds oneself not in a pagan tabernacle, but in a slightly more practical venue (if a tiny bit less glamorous). One is more than compensated, though, by an ambience at least as Yule-y as in the Yulehouse proper, and the more intense as the place is more confined. Lovely smells, charming sights, wood, cleanness and freshness, ribbons, simple but homely artworks...
One nostalgically remembers one's first memories, now perhaps mythified, of childhood toilets. One hears soft tinkly music and carol singing in that toilet, whether it was actually playing inside or a play of one's imagination one remembers no more. One stays for quite a while, enjoying pure Christmas at an unlikely time of year and in an unlooked-for place for that type of experience. One even half-expects to find presents in the cubicle. There wasn't any, but doesn't the flush water look like crystal icicles, or like the almost frozen glittering surface of a pond in the woods in the slanting sunshine of early winter?

There. That is more than enough poetry for one day, and may we just mention in passing that we heartily resent the reference to us waiting "with dangling tongue and wagging tail". Even if it's true. Anyway, let's have the pictures, shall we?

The jólahús, Christmas house

Oooh, here we go: the Christmas toilet!

Danish door knocker

What jolly, jolly tiles!

Charming, if uncovered, bog roll holder

A most festive ribbon

Toilet roll ain't running out any time soon!

A charming picture

Don't bloody well ask for whom it tolls

My my, methinks we have spotted a Swedish toilet!

Ha! The soap is called "Home Alone"! Most amusing!

Merry Christmas, everyone! 
 Remember to wash your hands carefully!

Related Reading
What happened while we were waiting for the best toilet in Iceland:
Bulgaria: An Intellectual Treat

Thursday, 22 December 2011

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

It was a dark, foggy night in December. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were enjoying a pipe and some intravenous cocaine in their flat in Harley Street when there was a sudden knock on the door.

Outside in the smog was a beautiful woman. Beautiful, but very wet. And enfeebled.
A splendid specimen of Victorian womanhood.
"Help!" she gurgled. "Murder! Witchcraft!

In front of the fire, gulping at a hot whisky toddy, the ravishing beauty,
whose name was Lady Rebecca Armitage de la Marlborough, told her story.

"We were getting along splendidly at Crapper Castle when suddenly people started dying. They'd just collapse in the middle of a conversation, a marathon embroidery session or a posture-correction exercise.
They'd get a sudden fever, and embarrassing bodily excretions - and die! It - it was like witchcraft!
Like a curse had come upon us! And just before Christmas - it was awful! Awful!"

Lady Armitage de la Marlborough broke down into hysterical, womanly little sobs. Dr Watson put his arm around her - silently, strongly. "We must help her, Holmes," he said, with clenched teeth. He was that kind of man.

At Crapper Castle, Holmes did his stuff magnificently. He strode about, interviewing survivors,
inspecting the drains, and always, always, washing his hands carefully.

Dr Watson, meanwhile, concocted a hopeless theory about a family curse,which proved to be entirely illogical
and not in the slightest evidence-based, and fell desperately in love
with Lady Armitage de la Marlborough, only to be painfully rebuffed.

After three days, Holmes had his solution. As he explained to Dr Watson, patronisingly and at length, the toilets at Crapper Castle had no lids. "So you see," he droned, "somebody with a nasty stomach bug, no doubt caused by the cook's negligent handwashing, sprayed disease-causing bacteria all over the bathroom when flushing."
Back in their cosy armchairs in Harley Street, Holmes reflected on the sad business of the tragic, and entirely preventable, deaths at Crapper Castle. Shaking his head sadly and injecting some cocaine, he said, mournfully,
"Toilet lids and handwashing. Elementary hygiene, my dear Watson."
"No shit, Sherlock," replied Watson, drowning his sorrows in gin.

Related Reading

Another mystery: The Body in the Bathtub: A Poirot Mystery
Want more? See all Toilet Tales

Thanks to Canadian Friend for knitting such a spiffing Sherlock and whacking good Watson.

Remember to buy Oxfam Unwrapped for loved ones this Christmas, to help combat preventable diseases casused by poor hygiene!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The History of Plumbing: A Recap

Today we thought we'd look at the progress made in the field of plumbing in the United Kingdom. We are fast approaching the thirteenth year of the third millennium since that chap was born who caused all the fuss, and we at the Privy Counsel thought our readers would appreciate an update on recent advances. But first, let us review the groundbreaking inventions of the past 200-300 years:

The advent of indoor plumbing, along with other technical advances, was toyed with in Europe as an idea in the 16th century, slowly developed during the 17th and 18th centuries, and really took off in the 19th, leading to the abandonment, in most households, of servants, and a more equal society. Any man, woman or child can now have a bath or do a load of washing without forcing some oppressed dogsbody to boil huge quantities of water and carry it up the stairs. Hygiene has improved massively: human waste products are swiftly flushed away and treated, rather than festering near sources of drinking water. Running water, first cold, then also hot, ensures that handwashing, that essential cornerstone of disease prevention, is easy. Really, the 19th and early 20th centuries produced some marvellous technological advances in the fields of plumbing and hygiene.

But what of more recent times - what technological advances have there been in the British Isles? Well, they are easily summed up by this diagram, supplied to us by a friend:

Related Reading
Victorian Sevants Have Taken over the Book Club
Tap into Pain
The Victorians - An Edifying History Lesson
Terminator Toilet  
Alien vs. Predator: Blood, Gore and Mixer-Taps

Monday, 19 December 2011

Who Knew That Going to the Toilet Could Be So Dangerous?

We love Google. And we just adore Wikipedia. Frankly, how did people amuse themselves before it was possible to waste unbelievable amounts of time looking up random facts? Faint memories stir at the back of our cerebellum: possibly people used to talk to each other. Or read books. Or give money to charity. Anyway, who cares? We've got some seriously random information for you - about famous people who died on the toilet!

Let's start with the main man, shall we? The King! Of Rock'n'Roll! Elvis! The Pelvis! He popped his clogs and joined the heavenly choir on August 16, 1977. Not a glamorous way to go, perhaps, but then again a toilet is a good a place to pass on as any.

Elvis: Hunk-a hunk-a burning... Well, let's leave it at that, shall we?
Elvis on the toilet. Believe us, there are many tasteless toilet-related Elvis images floating around
on the net. We content ourselves with this one, from bdembroidery

Edmund II of England, known to his pals as Edmund Ironside, is rumoured to have been stabbed while going to the bog in 1016.

Edmund II: If he looks startled it's because he was unexpectedly stabbed while on the toilet.
Image from
King Wenceslaus III of Bohemia was killed by having a spear thrust through him while on the bog in 1306. Ouch.

King Wenceslaus III: Killed while seated on his, er, throne. Image from Wikipedia.
George II (father of the mad one) met the Grim Reaper, in the shape of an aortic dissection, while in the water closet in 1760. Wikipedia tells us that, "According to Horace Walpole's memoirs, King George 'rose as usual at six, and drank his chocolate; for all his actions were invariably methodic. A quarter after seven he went into a little closet. His German valet de chambre in waiting heard a noise, and running in, found the King dead on the floor.'"

George II: Splendid-looking man, weak interior plumbing.
Also, says Wikipedia, "In 1945, the German submarine U-1206 was sunk after the toilet malfunctioned, and a crewman's botched repair forced them to the surface". (Read all about it here.)

When going to the bog on one of these, proceed with caution. Image from
Really, where would we be without Wikipedia? Here are some fascinating facts we found entirely by mistake, from the Wikipedia page about the tv program QI (starring, of course, the inimitable Stephen Fry) :
The number of people killed by sharks since records began (roughly 2,200) is equal to just five per cent of the number of toilet-related injuries in the United States in 1996. The total number of people injured by toilets was 43,687.

The toilet paper capital of the world is Green Bay, Wisconsin.

George III's last words were "I think I'll have another one of Mr. Bellamy's pork pies". He died on the toilet, like Elvis Presley.

Like father, like son!

George III: Mad as a box of frogs. Died, reportedly, on the toilet. Image from Wikipedia (where else?)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Jolly Japes in Japan

We mentioned a favourite book of ours, a gift from a wildly amusing but regrettably hermitic friend, in our last post. Turns out it is available in website form:! The toilet we enjoyed reading about the most was in Tokyo, at the Ten & Chi Lemina Building.

Image from the applewithmanyseedsblog
Watch the weirdness!

Toilet weirdness of this magnitude thrills and delights us in previously unimaginable ways! (One does what one can to get thrills on a Sunday evening when one has run out of chocolate.) Japanese toilets in general fascinate, amuse and delight us - if you happen to be a toilet philantropist with money to spare, funds for a field trip would be most welcome!

Other Asian countries likewise excel in toilet-related weirdness.

Image from matadorweirdness
 For instance, the Modern Toilet Restaurant chain in Taiwan is wholly toilet-themed, to the point of serving poo-shaped food in little urinals! Delightful!

Image from

Monday, 12 December 2011

Festive Toilet Items

The parade of fabulous toilet-related items never ends! Yesterday we admired the amazing knitted toilet. Today we gape in wonder at the festive awesomeness of this toilet calendar, accompanied by a fabulous Spın̈al Tap bunny - grazie mille, amici italiani!
If you're still struggling to think of Christmas presents for friends and loved ones, despite our various hints and tips, let us suggest this highly educational calendar!

This calendar goes up to at least eleven!

"Toilets of the World" calendar - and Spın̈al Tap bunny!

An educational look at international toilets!
 Funnily enough, this festive calendar ties in with a book that some weird recluse gave us last year: Toilets of the World, by Morna E. Gregory and Sian James (London: Merrell Publishers Limited, 2006).

An excellent read
We predict that 2012 will be a very festive year indeed!
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