Thursday, 2 October 2014

There Is Too Much Going On. This Blog Post Will Probably Give You a Migraine.

Following the dramatic reduction in mansplaining levels after our recent rant*, we had intended to spend some time indulging in the kind of hardcore intellectual pursuits which we complained the other day that we were prevented from getting down to, due to being permanently pissed off, because of all the mansplaining. But, as is often the way, we received word of a most exciting cleanliness campaign in India, the festiveness levels of which caused us to yearn, ache and long for tending to our beloved blog.

In a drive called Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, efforts are being made to improve sanitation in India. As anyone who has ever inhaled the smell of sewage, coming from what is supposed to be a river, knows, this is a really, really, really good idea. According to one source,
A United Nations report in May said half of India's population still practises open defecation - putting them at risk of cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid. The resulting diseases and deaths cause major economic losses, and a World Bank report in 2006 estimated that India was losing 6.4 percent of GDP annually because of poor access to sanitation.

Another source tells us that "At least 30 lakh [Editor's comment: that is, if we remember rightly, three million] central government employees working across the country and hundreds of school and college students will take the pledge of cleanliness at different functions". If you've had a rough day and need cheering up, have a look at these pictures, from the Times of India, of said government employees doing just that! We're not sure what the brooms are supposed to accomplish, but you can't deny that any effort to improve sanitation in "the subcontinent" (as India is always, irritatingly, called whenever a journalist needs a synonym for "India" and can't think of one) is worthy of a massive HURRAH!

One Indian administrative officer has reportedly cleaned his office every day since 1993. Every daySince 1993. You can imagine how clean it must be! This sign, outside his office, purportedly provides information on how often the dude cleans his office, and how long he has been doing it for.

*Said reduction in mansplaining could also be due to the fact that we have been too busy to actually talk to anyone.

We could have ended this blog post here, but why should we?  Remember Exuberant Archaeologist Friend's spirited account from Rome? Let's have more of that! (Also, we know that several of our friends are eager to improve their Scandiwegian, and we reckon this is a golden opportunity for them to brush up on their colloquial Swedish.)
Här är nästa skörd:

De första är från de kapitolinska museerna. Det saknades toalettring på ALLA toaletter. Fanns inga krokar, så det var tur att [min man] var med och kunde hålla grejerna. Tvålet var bra, luktade supergott. Det verkar som att de lagt alla pengar på väldoftande tvål istället för på toalettringar. Skabbigt deluxe.
(Here is the next crop: 
The first ones are from the Capitoline Museums. There were no seats on ANY of the toilets. There were no coat hooks, so it was lucky that [my husband] was there and could hold all my stuff. The soap was good; it smelled really nice. It seems they spent the entire budget on fragrant soap instead of toilet seats. Minging deluxe.)

We like these taps, but this kind of modern basin gives us the shivers:
surely it makes it really hard for the cleaners?

We usually reason, pragmatically, that a toilet that HAS NO FUCKING SEAT is actually more hygienic,
as the surface which can be dirtied is smaller.
It is still no pleasure having to use a toilet with NO FUCKING SEAT, though, obviously.

Oh, dear. A pipe disappearing into the wall?
We're stupendously glad that we won't be around when this set-up, inevitably, goes to shit and has to be repaired.
Nästa är från ett kafé vid Piazza Navona; Tre Scalini. Jämfört med alla andra toaletter i Rom så var detta ett högteknologiskt tempel. OCH DET FANNS EN RING!! Dessutom reste den sig automatiskt när man ställt sig upp och sprutade sedan ut sanitetsvätska på ringen**. Utmärkt. Tvålet luktade gott. Detta var den klart bästa toaletten.

Mer följer!
(The next set of pictures is from a café at the Piazza Navona, Tre Scalini. Compared to all the other toilets in Rome, this was a temple of high-tech. AND THERE WAS A SEAT!! Also, it was folded up automatically when you got up, and sanitiser was sprayed onto the seat**. Excellent. The soap smelled nice. This was totally the best toilet. 
There is more coming!)
**Because we weren't sure how this worked, we asked for clarification, and were given the following explanation:

Sanitetsvätskan sprutades lite snett uppåt så att det skulle typ falla ner på ringen när den rest sig. Vätskan kom från den delen av toaletten där spolknappen skulle ha suttit om det varit EN NORMAL TOALETT!

(The sanitiser was sprayed sideways upwards, in order to fall onto the seat when it had been folded up. The fluid came from the part of the toilet where the flush button would normally be, if it had been A NORMAL TOILET!)

The toilets in the Tre Scalini café in Rome: laudably hygienic!


There is no hot water, but on the other hand there is no non-mixer tap insanity happening, either.

Another pipe in the wall.

These instructions are very, very clear.

We bloody love covered tissue!

Did the mention of the Piazza Navona set off a bell in our head? Did it ever? Bridget Jones is a label on this blog, after all, so here, for your reading pleasure, is an extract from The Edge of Reason (as in the book, obviously. The film, as every right-thinking person knows, doesn't count):
"Hello, Bridget, this is Colin Firth." We all jumped a foot backwards. It was Mr Darcy. The same posh, deep, can't-be-bothered voice that he proposed to Elizabeth Bennet in on the BBC. Bridget. Me. Mr Darcy said Bridget. On my answerphone.
"I gather you're coming to Rome to interview me on Monday," he went on. "I was calling to arrange somewhere to meet. There's a square called the Piazza Navona, sort of easy place to find in a taxi. I'll meet you about 4.30 by the fountain. Have a safe journey."
"1471, 1471," gabbled Jude, "1471, quick, quick. No, get the tape out, get the tape out!"
"Call him back," screamed Sharon like an SS torturer. "Call him back and ask him to meet you
in the fountain. OhmyGod."
The phone had rung again, we stood there rigid, mouths open. Then Tom's voice boomed out, "Hello, you pretty little things, it's Mr Darcy here just calling to see if anyone could help me out of this wet shirt."
(Helen Fielding, The Edge of Reason. London: Picador, 1999, 159-160)

We reckon this is as good a time as any to revisit the wet-shirt-scene from Pride and Prejudice.

1 comment:

  1. I like the red poo/square-shaped pee in the toilet after the dude sits down in the very clear instructions.


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