Apologies for the rather tabloid-like play on words. In fact during the past few days it seems that most people we have spoken to have managed to come up with some amusing toilet humour. It’s not that we have suddenly starting hanging out with a bunch of Viz readers (http://www.viz.co.uk/) or anything it’s just that we have had a – shall we say – less-than-fully-functional toilet for a short while.
All of Christoffer’s colleagues all know about it; the guy at the hardware store who sold me some unblocking tools knows about it – ‘Skitkul’ was his gleeful reply to my problem; the guy who we bought from the house knows about it; and now you, dear Reader, know about it. (Am sure my translator friend would come up with a good English equivalent for the Swedish ‘Skitkul’, but I have a pot of green chai to drink and so will have to leave you with a literal translation of ‘Shit fun’. ‘Skit’ is often used in Swedish where us Brits might use the word ‘Bloody’ like ‘skitbra’ meaning ‘bloody good’ or in this case ‘skitkul’ meaning ‘bloody fun’.)
It all started last week when I noticed a strange flapping sound coming from the toilet. The next day things weren’t disappearing as quickly as they should, and soon after began our five-day long battle of the bog. (For the benefit of those of you not familiar with the British vernacular, ‘bog’ is a rather inelegant word for ‘toilet’!)
Day 1: We started with buckets of water, and random stabbing with the toilet brush. We couldn’t see anything that was blocking it, and things would gradually flush away, but our ‘special thinking seat’ certainly wasn’t working like it should do.
Day 2: Christoffer bought a plunger. Then Christoffer needed a shower. No luck.
Day 3: Christoffer found a number of a local plumber, but I didn’t want to book one until we had had a proper go at resolving it ourselves, for financial reasons as well as wanting to save face. I mean how silly does it feel to call a plumber to poke around in the household poopments when one can have the pleasure of doing that oneself?
I had a go with the plunger and quickly found out why C had needed to shower afterwards. I rummaged around the house and created myself a ‘plunging mask’ consisting of a pair of workshop protective goggles and an old vest top that I used as a bandanna to protect my mouth from…well, you get the picture!
No luck. Another evening of tentative toilet trips, multiple flushings and prayers to the Bog God.
Day 4: Determined to fix the problem without the need of a plumber, I went to a hardware store near work and came back with a 7m wire thingy, and a can of ‘environmentally friendly expanding gas drain cleaner’. I also tried to call the previous owners for advice in case it was the septic tank, but I couldn’t get through to them.
No luck with my new fancy gadgets, though I did learn a handy trick from the internet. When plunging, cover the toilet in a large plastic dustbin bag…didn’t unblock the toilet, but it did save me from an icky shower!
Day 5: Finally get hold of previous owners. We check the septic tank…looking a bit damp around the extraction pipe…good sign that it should have been emptied – oh about a month ago!!!
Call the kind folks who dedicate their days to driving out in a big truck to suck clean the giant poo tanks of us country dwellers. An emergency call-out would cost 4.000 SEK (approx. £300 / $500 / 370 euro) but if one was to come within 24 hours it would ‘only’ cost about a third of that. If you book one in time so they can come within 5 days, the price sinks to a less depressing figure.
1.500 SEK to empty our septic tank!! Shit! When you work part-time there are not a lot of pennies left over for such ‘fun luxuries’ as spending 1.500 SEK on getting your poo removed. But they had the upper hand, and there was not much we could do about it, except learn from the experience and realize that the previous owners’ estimate of emptying the tank once every 3 months (we have lived here just 2 months) only applies to households of people who don’t eat quite as much fiber as we do.
A friend confided in me that before he turned veggie he would only poop about twice a week. Now he visits the little boys room twice a day! If most other people go around with 3 days worth of food (mainly meat and processed cereals) rotting in their bowels no wonder there are a lot of glum faces around!
Anyway, between us and our fellow ‘regular’ guests we managed to fill up the tank pretty quickly, and even if the regular price of emptying the tank is around a third of the price we had to pay then we would still be paying rather a lot every year for, let’s face it, nothing but shit.
So out came the calculator. And what followed was a rather ‘interesting’ conversation. Christoffer calculated the volume of the septic tank, estimated the amount of water per flush and the cost per toilet visit and cooly gave us a ration of 4 flushes a day each.
‘Why, how many times a day do you poo’? he asked.
Now that I have already shared so much personal information about our toilet, I may as well share with you the fact that I am a little toilet shy. Some couples are quite comfortable peeing in front of each other. Not us! Or rather, not me. We have been together for nearly 7 years, and I still maintain that some things need not be shared.
And number two’s?? Well since I am a fairy princess from Planet Avocado I expel my waste products through my leaves that I cleverly hide under all my hair and don’t ‘do number two’s’…
… so this question left me with the beginnings of what could have turned into a fit of hysterical nervous laughter.
God! 4 flushes day!?? I am fine about ‘letting it mellow if it’s yellow’, but let’s say for arguments sake, that I was a mortal human and do pass the occasional solid, would 4 flushes a day cover it? And what happens when we have guests? Whose rations do they get? Do I start having to find friends and families with lazy bowels? How do I find that out – issue a poo questionnaire? I could see it in front of me: ‘You are invited to a party at Miss Best’s house – but only if you don’t intend on having a poo while you are there’. Or do we start charging them per flush? Make them go in the garden or the forest??
And we were still going to have to wait 24 hours before the tank was emptied. Rations or no rations, we had agreed not to flush again until it was emptied to save any more toilet water overflowing in to our beautiful garden. When you know you can’t flush the loo, that’s when your body starts to mess with you. ‘Ha ha, Miss Best…remember all that fruit you ate this morning, it’s got to come out some time…’ ‘Is that a poop, or just a bit of wind lurking? Well whatever it is, do you dare try and find out?’…
And so I went to bed and dreamed of blocked toilets and laughing neighbours, and pipes and drains.
But joy! At 9.30 this morning a truck pulled into our driveway, and I had to stop my self from running downstairs and covering this hero of bowel relief in grateful kisses. Fifteen minutes later I was happily wasting 25% of my daily flush ration to test if the toilet was back in business. And it was! All is good again.
So life in Miss Best’s home is back to normal. Well, apart from the fact that we still have to work around our flush rations. Maybe it’s time to get eco (and wallet) friendly and switch to a compost toilet. Then we can have the pleasure of dealing with our own shit. And we and our guests can poop all day long if we so fancy.
Oh, by the way, if one of my neighbours ever tells you that they saw me sneak in to the forest at 7.30 this morning, with crazy bed hair and a pair of blue flowery wellie boots and a pocket full of tissue, then you know that they are just talking crap.