Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hoy-Hoy-Holy Crap, Those Are Charming Toilets

Ho! Or rather, Hoy!  In fact, Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!
Hangover cleared? Mind back to its habitual devastating sharpness? Good! It's time for a treat! Yes, hold on to your hats - it is finally time for Intellectual Friend's legendary (because for many, many months they were the stuff of legend rather than reality, i.e. an actual email with actual photos) Orkney toilet photos!

Intellectual Friend says, in an even-more-poetic-than-usual vein (clearly Orkney provides inspiring scenery and/or whisky as well as toilets!):
So, last spring we were in Orkney looking for draugr-mounds and dwarrowstones, but sometimes one also has to look for a toilet. Here we are on the island of Hoy, essentially a splendidly godforgotten and manforsaken wilderness, and we're reaching the dramatic and world-endly western coast at a point called Rackwick, an old scattering of crofts and fishing houses, which one unbiased guide describes as the most beautiful spot that has ever been in the whole world. It might have been a village back in the days of yore when elves were still sailing thence west over the sea, but we glimpsed no people, not a whisker of a single soul. There were only the whispers of past times, red cliffs, and of all red mailboxes and phonebooths the unlikeliest ever. And, even unlikelier, there were well-signposted public toilets in the middle of this wilderness!

And what toilets! One would have expected some kind of rough earth closet or, in Yorkshire speech, a nessy, but it turned out instead to be a clean decent roomy toilet. And whatever one may think of an air-dryer blowing straight into an open bin and other potential dodginesses, still, the presence here, at the uttermost end of the outermost girdle of the world, of electricity and hot water, just blows one's mind off as well as warms one's chilled hands. But maybe the key thing is 'roomy'. One often has to curse the smallness of toilet cabins in public places where one can hardly squeeze in or has to climb on the seat to get past the over-large door in order to then have a chance to close the said door behind oneself, not to mention at airports where one might also wish to get in together with one's big precious suitcase. Well, in this Hoy toilet you don't need to leave your backpack outside at the mercy of the cliff-trolls, you can bring it into the cabin and there'll still be room for all your sheep (or two cows)!

Well, that sounds almost too splendid to be true - let's have a gander at the photos! In deviation from our usually reasonably strict toilet-photos-only policy, we're showing all of Intellectual Friend's photos. We reckon that, in this case, the ambience is half the pleasure.

Hoy, Orkney. Sign says, helpfully, "Public toilets"

This could be the most charming public toilet in the entire world!

This looks roomy indeed, unless of course one is very tall.

But hoy! Look at this! One could swing a sheep in here!

We shudder and reach for the bottle at the sight of this hot-water contraption. (Really!)
On the other hand, the usually scalding water that issues from these horrendous devices
sometimes, in winter, provides water one can touch for long enough to wash one's hands,
if it's cold enough to cool the pipes adequately, yet not cold enough to freeze them completely.

We're probably less worried than Intellectual Friend about hot air potentially releasing germs and other horrors
from the bin. We're most likely too preoccupied worrying about there being a hot-air dryer at all.

Now, this is charming.

We're grateful, as ever, for warning signs.

A post box adjacent to the public toilets: this is clearly the social hub of the island!

There is absolutely no excuse for urinating in this phone box, no matter how drunk one is:
there are perfectly good toilets right near by.

We hope you enjoyed that as much as we did! And don't worry, we still have plenty of material from German Friend's travels (including, if you can bear the excitement, more toilets from Uzbekistan) - we just don't want to use it all up at once, so we've instituted a strict rationing system, complete with coupons, ragtime jazz and painted-on stockings.

Related Reading
Shetland Shithouses

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