Eight hours left of 2011, so here is a toilet tale to round off the year. I’ve always been a bit scatological. This is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an interest in or preoccupation with excrement and excretion”. OK. I find the topic interesting, sometimes funny, diverting and love the taboos surrounding all things pooh-related/matter out of place. More harshly, the Cambridge Dictionary definition is “showing an extreme and unpleasant interest in solid waste and sex”. Wow. A lovely example of pejorative, value laden, interpretations of words and language, wrapped up in an authoritative, comprehensive (‘neutral’) text.
Anyway, a warning. This post is definitely NOT for the faint-hearted or delicate.
Our toilet was blocked the other day. The background to this is that our toilet regularly blocks. An outcome of LB’s resistance to going to toilet anywhere other than home and his copious use of loo roll. We have a routine where he comes in from school every so often with a familiar sheen on his face and runs straight to toilet. After a powerful performance of Chewbacca growls and howls, he shouts out “RICHY! RICHY! I’ve blocked the toilet, RICHY!”
This time LB was not directly involved in the blockage situation but Richy was confident, given his experience, he could deal with it.
It turned out to be less than straightforward.
After his usual attempt delivered no movement, Richy resorted to fashioning various unblocking tools (hose pipe, old kite stick, toilet cleaner). Nothing.
By late morning I gave in and gave the public loos round the corner a blast. Tom refused. His last experience of public loos, in London, involved finding a curly wurly on the toilet seat. He was determined to hold out. LB stayed put too.
Richy went off to various hardware/DIY stores and, after lengthy discussions with helpful shop staff, tried, in no particular order, sulphuric acid, a toilet coil (long piece of wire with a corkscrew at the end) and a large plunger. Nothing worked.
My big sis, bro-in-law and niecey Clare turned up for lunch, on their way between grandparents. They’d had a long drive. It was only a short time before bro in law, the J-Dog, announced he needed the toilet. Erhem. Sorry matey. No can do, we explained, cringing. He turned down the public loo option too but during the course of the afternoon, all three of them eventually wandered along to the public loos. In the freezing rain.
Later, after they’d left, Richy returned to the task. I googled ‘how to unblock a toilet’ and found thousands of sites, detailing exactly how to shift it. Most of the suggestions had already been used without effect. We decided boiling water would be the most benign action for the time being, given the total lack of movement. In the meantime, we frog-marched LB and Tom to the public loos. LB apparently stood in the cubicle, looking into space.
That night, we fashioned a DIY porta-loo out of a Morrison reusable shopping bag and a bucket. Tom took to this straight away, saying he was embracing the survival spirit.
“It’s just like camping,” he said, cheerfully.
“That’s disgusting, Tom!” said LB, angrily.
The next morning, LB was looking a bit clammy. We tried the last (random) option from the google trawl; an old t-shirt or towel, wrapped around the toilet brush (or an old mop will do), tightly wrapped in a carrier bag and PLUNGE. Success.
And a queue.
“Keep an eye on LB,” Richy said, removing his plumbing paraphernalia. “I do not want another blockage situation.”