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

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

World Toilet Day 2013: Hurrah for Toilets, Even Crap Ones!

Dear friends, it is World Toilet Day again! Last year we marvelled at Australian water-improving technology, the year before that we contemplated the dire consequences of not having somewhere safe to do one's business, and the year before that, we partied hard and sent a greeting to somebody called Declan. We have also, over the years, highlighted the good work done by charities like Toilet Twinning and Oxfam, to bring safe water and sanitation to people who lack such basics (that would be 40 % of the world's population according to Water Aid).

This year's theme is "Appreciating your toilet". Even if you have to share it with people who never change the toilet roll, even if the flush handle is really, really stupid and nearly impossible to pull without breaking your wrist, even if there is no mixer tap for washing your hands! If you have a toilet, count yourself lucky!

To help illustrate this theme, let's look at this stupendously lovely letter we received from Norwegian Friend:
Dear [Privy Counsellor],
I hope you are well.
I thought I would tell you about one on my bog experiences from when I was in Thailand this spring.
I am sure that [Semi-Intellectual Friend]* must have sent you some photos from strange loos around the place, but I don’t think he told you about the bathrooms we had in Koh Tao. Koh Tao is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The island is in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, he sea is cyan blue, massive boulders of black volcanic rock stand out against the white sandy beaches along the coast and the sunsets are amazing. On this little paradisal island there is a little resort called Saithong Resort. Their promotion picture is this:

This is a totally accurate photo of the beach and the bungalows they rent out, however this is what they don’t show you:

This is the bathroom of my little bungalow in Koh Tao. It has clearly never been washed…ever! 

Luckily I had brought along loads of disinfectant wipes which I used frequently. Disinfectant wipes did not keep away the ants and geckoes though.

The sink fell down one morning when I was brushing my teeth and during the day there was no cold water. There was no soap or towels provided and people could hear and possibly see me when I was showering.

Although the bungalows were pretty shit (mainly because everything was broken) the place was fantastic, and here is a picture taken from my window to show you why:

And so, dear friends, let us conclude that having a toilet at all is, in the greater scheme of things, a massive stroke of good fortune, for which we should be thanking our lucky stars. Appreciate your toilet!

Let us take a moment to remember John Snow (yes, that really was his name).

Finally, let's have a festive Toilet Song!

*Funnily enough we actually haven't heard a single toilet-related peep from Semi-Intellectual Friend. No doubt he has many other important things on his semi-intellectual mind.

Related Reading
Seriously Brilliant Christmas Gift Ideas from Oxfam: The Privy Counsel Helpfully Sort Out Christmas

If you have a penny to spare to help people spend a penny safely, please consider donating to:

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Morally Improving Story for World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day - the highlight of the Privy Counsel year - is coming up! We came across a competition that encourages people to share their best and worst toilet moments, and, having highlighted, in a previous World Toilet Day post, the dire situations that can arise when proper plumbing is lacking, we thought we'd share a less-than illustrious moment from our own past. (We may have hinted at this incident once or twice before, but have never actually related the story in full.) Putting it off isn't making this story any less embarrassing, so let's get on with it, shall we?

Let us set the scene: Golden Square, Soho.
Note the very spiky fence.
Image from Geograph.
Imagine a work Christmas party in London's Soho. The company has had a good year, and the wine is flowing. Everyone is happy! The normally buttoned-up boss even makes a risqué joke, to everyone's amusement and delight. Eventually, though, the canapés run out, and the music stops. It's time to head out into the cold and wend one's way to the after-party. However, there are still some bottles with wine left in them, and to a few festive employees, it seems a shame to let perfectly good alcohol go to waste. Being equipped with handbags and voluminous coat pockets, they make their way outside with the lovely, lovely wine in safe keeping. 
Stumbling through Soho they come across a very suitable set of steps in Golden Square, which seem to be made for drinking wine on! Imagine the happiness of our protagonists!  It's nearly Christmas, and they've got several bottles of wine, which were completely free! They sit down and drink the lovely, lovely wine appreciatively. After some time, however, they feel the need to heed the call of nature. Is there a toilet nearby? they wonder. There is not. However, there's a perfectly good bit of shrubbery in the middle of the square, which seems like it was made for relieving oneself in! Lucky, that! Our celebrants are busy trying to climb the annoyingly spiky fence when a police car appears. Embarrassment ensues. The policemen don't get out of the car, but they don't drive off, either; they stay put. "Should I stay or should I go?" our full-bladdered party people wonder. Eventually, it appears that "I fought the law and the law won": the police stay until our festive wine-drinkers stop attempting to hurl themselves over the fence. The would-be law-breakers wobble away. After all, they really, really, really need the loo.
Moral of the story? There totally need to be more toilets everywhere!
(Do the festive wine-drinkers ever make it to the after-party? you wonder. Probably they do. To be honest, however, our memory is a little hazy on this point. Chances are that some of us ended up on passed out on the night bus, or getting rather intimately acquainted with a bin in Hammersmith.) 

Golden Square, Soho: These steps were made for drinking wine on!
(If only we'd had a Shewee, however, we might have been spared much embarrassment!)

Let's have a festive video, shall we?

Festive video: Bobby Fuller, I Fought the Law

Related Reading
Why Today Is a Toiletally Important Day
World Toilet Day 2011: Taking Our Baths and Our Women
It Finally Happened: World Toilet Day
Special News Bulletin: World Toilet Day 19 November
The Old Ballcock and Chain, or, An Open-and-Shut Case, or, The Long Tap Lever of the Law
Graffiti in Everyone's Favourite Toilet Country

I am part of the #Blog4Sanitation movement setup by Splashdirect to raise awareness of the importance of global sanitation. Learn more about World Toilet Day.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Dread, Rage, and Out-of-Order Urinals

Have you noticed it too? The heavy feeling of dread? The cold crawling into one's flannel undergarments, faster than a crab louse on speed? The pissing rain? (Pun totally intended, always.) The perfectly reasonable violent rage, sometimes directed at innocent shoe stands, at the sodding pissiness of the universe? Dear friends, winter is here.
But do please remain calm. Help is at hand! We've got some more amusing pictures from German Friend. Hurrah!

Let us not get too carried away, however; excessive optimism could prove dangerous not just for one's personal health but for one's friends and acquaintances, who really, really, really don't need cheerful platitudes, on top of everything else, on a rainy Tuesday in November. So let's be careful with any potential exuberance. German Friend says:
This? This is toilet humour? I am not amused. At my (work's) local. In oh-so-swish SW6 (that's Parsons Green, London, for you, honey). On a Friday night. I repeat. I am not amused.

Let's carefully try another toilet description, slightly more optimistic:
Who else but Freiburg?
Again punching above her weight, this time in the wannabe-urban league.

A slightly technocratic jab in the shape of "Urimat" receives a mighty left hook of a counterpunch, with "Urban shit".

The K.O. comes by means of an emphatic "The City is full of Urbanshit" (note the ever so German capitalisation).
POW! Freiburg, undefeated!

Now let's go punch something.

Related Reading
The German Existentialist Toilet Is, Perhaps, Here
Jane Eyre - Plunging Into Passion
Finnish Mania: Despite Negligence, We Forgive Intellectual Friend
German Friend Has Adventure, Is Delighted
A Germane Issue

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

More Cinematic Action with Bogsley Hansson Friend

As we have mentioned once or twice before, a toilet blogger's life is usually pretty much as far from glamorous as it is possible to get. Today is no exception, except in the sense that we are, if possible, having an even less glamorous day than usual. We won't reveal what we're actually doing, for fear of upsetting sensitive readers; let us content ourselves with saying... No, better not. Anyway, we thought that, since we're being so completely unglamorous as to be positively repulsive, we might as well go the whole hog and do a post on a really, really, really unglamorous toilet! Voilà, courtesy of Bogsley Hansson Friend: the Seven Gables cinema in Seattle.

Bogsley Hansson Friend says:
"Men's room at the Seven Gables cinema in Seattle.
Not so impressive and very basementy which is where it is."

"The much nicer all-access bog on the main floor with flowers!"
N.b. this is the bin, not the actual bog. Thank you very much
for your dirty-minded observations, Obsessive Emmerdale Fan Friend.

"Bog flowers."

We do enjoy handwashing instructions!!

"Reverse shot."
Well folks, we'd better get back to our various unsavoury activities, and you had probably better go back to doing whatever it is you do on a daily basis.

Related Reading
All Previous Posts on Handwashing
A Lovely Cavalcade of Photos (contains another lovely cinema bog picture from Bogsley Hansson Friend)
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