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Published on April 25th, 2013 | by Mediocre Mother


Musings of a Mediocre Mother

It came up in conversation the other day – don’t ask me how or why – that the latest innovation in toilets from Japan (where else), is the blow dry. Intrigued by this, I’ve done a little bit of research and found that in fact, Japanese loos can include functions such as a jet of water – a sort of toilet come bidet, seat warming, massage (bang goes my sons fortune-making idea from primary school), and of course the afore mentioned blow dry. I’m surprised they stop there and don’t offer a short back and sides option. The Japanese must have the most pampered particulars in the world!

Although increasingly rare, you can still find the ‘squatting’ form of loo in Japan, which despite being kept scrupulously clean, will always come equipped with a pair of special toilet slippers. Oh how I could’ve done with some of those in my time!?

All this is a far cry from our cousins over the channel. The country that gave us haute couture and haute cuisine also has a predilection for toilets that constitute little more than a hole in the ground.

Driving in France can be both a delight and a nightmare. The motorways although expensive, are traffic jam and roadwork free, and have frequent places to stop for food which is more than edible, a drink or the toilet. But try getting a child, or me for that matter, to use a typically French loo. The other madames look on in amazement as we Brits would rather miss our turn and wait for a conventional loo to become free. The French must have thighs of steel as even the oldest of ladies seem to have no problems.

In the past when needs must, I’ve used what the French call a Turkish toilet. I’ve gone in, put my feet in the appropriate place and adopted the stance of a downhill skier, head down, legs bent and bottom out, hoping for the best. If I can employ a little artistic licence with an old advertising strapline, ‘It’s a lot more bovver with a hover’.

Of course I may choose to ‘hover’ in a conventional loo, my mother’s words of, ”Don’t sit on the seat”, still rings in my ears. Somehow it seems easier when you have a point of reference; you go to sit on the seat, but stop just before you make contact. Psychologically, knowing that there is something there to stop your descent if needed makes the right position more achievable. Having said that, on more than one occasion I have managed to flush a hands-free, automatic flushing loo by the position of my posterior cutting the infrared beam. I am then able to create my own Japanese style loo with a jet of water and sound effects to cover any embarrassment.

Of course washing your hands in a hi-tech loo poses its own problems. Michael McIntyre does a wonderful sketch of people trying to get the automatic tap and soap to work, using a tai chi type of movement. But for me, it’s the morbid fascination of watching my middle-aged skin wobble and move about in the new superfast hand-dryers. If they offered something similar to dry the face, I’m pretty sure I’d be wearing my cheeks over my ears like glasses…

One final thing, at Easter, isn’t it normal to want to buy Easter Eggs even up to a few days before Easter? So why was it so difficult to find them? Supermarkets, next year, order more!


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