Reply to post: as we have started down memory lane...

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma


as we have started down memory lane...

...concerning less advanced facilities, I would like to share the experience of the cottage we used to live in in Norfolk. In the outhouse was a 48 gallon drum stood on end with the other end removed and a lavatory seat perched upon it. The drum was situated in a small cubicle in the outhouse and it was a fine and quiet place in which to contemplate the world (some come here to sit and think ;¬) etc.). Unfortunately 'progress' intervened and a septic tank was installed in the orchard and a normal Crapper in the bathroom. This meant that the oildrum was now surplus to requirements and so the council were duly called to remove it. At this point I should mention that the drum had become rather full, to within 4 inches of the top.

In due course a lorry turned up, just a regular flat-bed lorry with two council employees in the cab. They introduced themselves and then went round to the outhouse to start the removal. They must have spent around 15 minutes looking at the problem ;¬) before deciding that they should 'walk' the drum to the lorry by rolling it on its edge. This was just about possible with great care but the 'contents' were lapping perilously close to the edge the whole time.

Eventually they arrived with the drum at the back of the lorry, and another lengthy pause ensued while they argued about how they were going to get the wretched drum up onto the lorry. My brother and I (6 years and 8 years old) were spellbound. This was the best entertainment we had ever seen, better even than the clowns at Billy Smart's circus or the time that our father spilled some gravy on grandma's white two-piece and had to go into the kitchen to smother (unsuccessfully, I might add) his laughter.

A few attempts were made at a conventional lift with both chaps forcing their fingers under the rim of the drum, but instability showed itself very quickly and much slopping of contents could be observed. So far they had managed to avoid any spillage but it was close.

Their next cunning plan involved one guy standing on the flatbed and reaching down to grab the top of the drum, while the other attempted the conventional lift from the bottom of the drum. With much straining and groaning and use of Norfolk rural epithet, the drum slowly made its wobbling way towards the flatbed; it must be said that the greater part of the effort was contributed by the unfortunate guy on terra firma, and he was clearly at the end of his powers by the time the base of the drum came to rest on the edge of the flatbed. It was a huge misfortune then, that this herculean effort was rewarded by a slip from the guy on the lorry which allowed the drum to sway and nearly fall. He managed to rescue it and slide it fully onto the flatbed, but not before a veritable Niagara of 'contents' had cascaded over his unhappy colleague below.

My brother and I were thunderstruck: we laughed until our sides were aching, but this was nothing compared to the guy on the flatbed, who started crying with laughter, and then smartly jumped off the flatbed and nipped round to the cab where he proceeded to lock himself in the lorry. He carried on laughing and at one point it seemed as if he would be sick.

The unfortunate 'creature from the black lagoon' in the meantime had been trying to wipe himself off with clumps of grass, with the success that you can imagine this activity might engender. He made various entreaties to his colleague in the cab, but it was no dice. Eventually he heaved himself up onto the flatbed and secured the noisome drum with ropes and then the lorry left, flatbed occupied by the drum and the now brown-overalled council employee, with attendant cloud of delighted flies.

This memory has been treasured for nearly 50 years.

So it seems very tame that teenagers are unable to perform in public - I won't mention the competitive element that other commenters have mentioned other than to say that producing the longest flame was a key competence needed for dormitory life ;¬)

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