Friday, December 16, 2005

Outhouse o' Doom

Outhouse o' Doom

We lived in a progressive London home in the arse end of the 1960s – we had an inside toilet, the heating was powered by genuine coal and we possessed a copy of Rolf Harris's "Two Little Boys" on 7" vinyl. However, we still had the old outside lav, next to the coal hole and the wrought iron garden swing, constructed solely to kill unsuspecting children. The outside toilet could be pressed into service in an emergency, such as my brother flushing an entire roll of paper down the upstairs bog and flooding the bathroom, again. It smelled, I remember, of Jeyes Fluid.

One day, and as the six-year-old member of the family, I was not privy to the discussion, it was decided that the privy was to be pressed into other uses. Naturally, I found out the hard way.

Well, these things have a habit of happening. You're running up and down the back alley, climbing up Janine Bailey's tree (Short off-topic aside: Mmmmm.... Janine Bailey.....) and all of a sudden you're caught short with a terrifying desire to cut off a log. Say goodbye to breakfast. Snip off a length. Done, indeed, a poo.

I ran, all the way from the Bailey's garden four doors up the road, through the back gate, up the garden, past the huge galvanised iron swing (named, I completely made up just now "Bowfell's Deathtrap"), and threw open the door of the outside lav, muscles already relaxing for the inevitable.

I was faced, somewhat inexplicably, by a lawnmower, a rusty bicycle which had once been part of a tank and a phalanx of garden tools. We no longer had an outside lav. Instead, we had a make-shift brick-built shed. A garden shed with its own plumbing, hidden somewhere behind a hoe, a shovel and a garden fork.


I dashed into the house, intending to sprint upstairs to our newly-installed inside bathroom. I only got as far as the kitchen, where my mother was cooking rock cakes. They never actually started as rock cakes, but, you know...

Done a poo.

I was wearing shorts, and a failed attempt to scoop up the mess as it plopped onto the floor only made things worse.


That was my mother, who had a point, truth be told.


That was me, realising I had been rumbled, and knowing that I could never ask to lick out the bowl ever again*.


That was the lovely Miss Bailey running in to find out where I'd gone, only to slip in something nasty.

She's a doctor now, via a spell as Asia-Pacific Trampolining Champion. I know: "Here's what you could have had". All wrecked by bottom misbehaviour.


That's me, now.

* The correct answer being, of course, "Pull the chain like everybody else does."

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