BootsnAll Travel Network

The Toilet Wars

Ok, I think it’s necessary for a bit of a content warning on this entry. Possibly against my better judgment, it includes a number of references to poo, and haggis, so if you’re at your desk eating your lunch, you might want to wait until you finish that nice sandwhich or leftover bolognese before you keep reading. But then on the other hand, let’s face it, even the Pope has to sit on the throne at some stage.

Bec and I were joined on the weekend by our old friends Gab and Marr’y, who have recently moved from Australia to Manchester, and Gab’s sister Simone (well, his name’s really James, but no-one calls him that. His last name is Marr, and given the Australian habit of either shortening last names, eg, Hogan becomes Hoges, or lengthening last names, eg, Clarke becomes Clarkey, James is stuck with the easy-to-say-but-not-quite-as-easy-to-write name of Marr’y).

They arrived on Friday night, the 29th of July, and we celebrated by cooking up a great big lamb roast, washed down with plenty of beer and good wine, and woke up the next morning feeling pretty much as you’d expect after a night gorging ourselves on meat and alcohol. We were due in Glasgow, about an hour away in the car, at 11am for Gab, Bec and Simone to try on wedding/bridesmaid dresses for Gab and Marr’y’s wedding next April. Yes Mum, I did say wedding dress. No Mum, Bec and I are not engaged. Yes Mum, I would tell you if I got engaged.

After a quick round of showers and toilet stops, we were just about ready to leave when one of our guests discovered that our toilet doesn’t always like to cooperate.

“Ahhh, there seems to be something wrong with your toilet.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it, it sometimes takes the toilet a few minutes after a flush before you can flush it again.”

“No, it flushed, but, um, it didn’t quite get rid of everything it’s supposed to. And I need to go, and I can’t go while that is sitting in the bottom.”

“Hang on, let me try” Gab said as she went into the bathroom. “It’s not working.”

“Try pumping the handle” Bec yelled.

“It’s still not working.”

“Maybe we’ll just have to leave it, and hope it breaks down while we’re gone.” I suggested optimistically.

Marr’y helped me realise the scale of the problem when he replied, “Mate, I don’t think you want that sitting there all day.”

But in the end, that was all we could do. Just close the lid, and head off to Glasgow, the giant turd laughing at us from the bottom of the toilet.

Toilet – 1. Dave – zero.

We arrived back from a long day of shopping and sightseeing at around 5.30pm. Needing to relieve myself of the beers I’d drunk just before we left Glasgow, I raced out of the car and up the stairs to our apartment. As I lifted the toilet lid, the smell was bearable, but I couldn’t look as I unzipped and did my thing. Having put everything back in place, I quickly closed the lid, and pumped on that toilet handle with all my might. It was at this point that I really noticed the difference between toilets in the UK, and those and in the US and Canada. Over there, the water in the toilet is sucked out like a vacuum, it’s like a bloody airplane toilet; nothing’s hanging around in that bowl, and then fresh water is pumped back in. But our toilet here in the UK is like an old Volkswagen beetle, compared to the Canadian’s Ferrari. When you pull that flush handle, it simply dumps a few drops of water on the top, in the hope that somehow the water at the bottom might lazily make its way out the pipe.

I waited for the flush to run its course. Then, with a hint of apprehension, I opened the lid back up. Just a little at first, as though the turd might be waiting there ready to jump out and attack me. Then, upon realising that I wasn’t about to be attacked by a giant turd, I pushed the lid back up all the way, and looked down into the bowl. I couldn’t see the bottom as the water was still swirling a bit. I squinted, as though that would help me see, and as the water finally settled, there, staring defiantly back at me, was the same giant turd.

Toilet – 2. Dave – zero.

The others came in the front door as I walked out of the bathroom, a defeated man.

“How’d you go?”

“Well, the toilet flushed. But that didn’t really help much.”

“You mean it’s still there?!?”


We sat down in the lounge, not quite sure what to do, laughing at the ridiculous nature of our situation. Then Marr’y got up, a determined look on his face, and strode boldly towards the bathroom. One sensed that had he been wearing long sleeves, he would’ve been rolling them up about now.

Fifteen minutes later, he was still in there, tinkering away.

After twenty minutes, he emerged: “Ahhhh, do you guys have a bucket?”

To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to know what he was putting in that bucket. So I didn’t ask.

After a further five or so minutes he returned triumphant. The toilet bowl was empty, and he’d bent some doowacki thing in the cistern back into shape to give us a more powerful flush. Marr’y – you are the man.

Toilet – 2. Marr’y – 1. Dave – still zero.

But it wasn’t over for poor old me. Later that night we found ourselves at a local pub having a few pints (as you do). Bec had just returned to our table from a toilet stop, and, as I began sensing my own need to go, I asked her where they were.

“Just in that door over by the bar” she pointed. (Now, astute readers will see where this is heading from a mile away, but please, read on and revel in my stupidity)

I strode over, not thinking twice, and into the door, through the second door, and into a cubicle. As I stood and relieved myself, I started thinking about what I’d just seen.

“Man, that was the cleanest toilet I reckon I’ve ever seen at a pub. The sinks were clean; there was no rubbish around. Hell, there was even a full-length mirror. And was that carpet out there?”

As my brain returned from outside the door, my eyes began taking in the cubicle around me. And then, they stopped; locked on a little bowl sitting on a ledge above the cistern. The bowl, dear friends, was filled with cute little dark red dry rose petals. Blokes’ toilets, in my experience, do not have bowls of dry rose petals in them. They have condom vending machines. This was no blokes’ toilet. The realisation hit me like a cartoon anvil. Quickly zipping myself back up, I reached out to flush the toilet. Just as my hand got to the handle, the toilet in the next cubicle began to flush.

“Ok, there’s no bloody way I can walk out of this cubicle while some girl is out there washing her hands.”

I stood, silent, moving only to put my ear up to the door.

“Is she still there? C’mon love, don’t worry about your make-up, just clean those hands and move-on. Shit, I can’t stay in here all night.”

After what felt like hours, I heard the main toilet door open, and the pub noise come swimming in. Waiting a few moments, I quickly opened the door, washed my hands and, without hesitating, walked back out into the pub, trying desperately not to make eye contact with anyone.

I sat back at the table; the mood was a little down, as the girls lamented a disappointing day on the wedding dress front.

“Want me to lighten the mood a bit?” I asked. “I just went to the girls toilet.”

Toilet – 3. Marr’y – 1. Poor old Dave – still zero.

But I would have my revenge. It started the next day, folks, as Bec and I put aside our fears and, joined by Marr’y, ordered a nice big feed of Scotland’s traditional dish, haggis. And we all know where that haggis will end up don’t we. Yeah, that’s right, take that you stinkin’ toilet.

For the uninitiated, I’ve included a wee list of haggis ingredients and a short recipe below, so you too can enjoy this culinary delight in the comfort of your own home.

1 sheep’s stomach bag
1 sheep’s pluck (liver, lungs and heart)
3 onions
250g beef Suet (hardened beef fat)
150g oatmeal
salt and black pepper
a pinch of cayenne
150mls of stock/gravy

Cooking Instructions:
1. Clean the stomach bag thoroughly and soak overnight. In the morning turn it inside out.

2. Wash the pluck (sheep’s liver, lungs, and heart) and boil for 1.5 hours, ensuring the windpipe hangs over the pot allowing drainage of the impurities.

3. Mince the heart and lungs and grate half the liver.

4. Chop up the onions and suet.

5. Warm the oatmeal in the oven.

6. Mix all the above together and season with the salt and pepper. Then add the cayenne.

7. Pour over enough of the pluck boiled water to make the mixture watery.

8. Fill the bag with the mixture until it’s half full.

9. Press out the air and sew the bag up.

10. Boil for 3 hours (you may need to prick the bag with a wee needle if it looks like blowing up!) without the lid on.

11. Serve with neeps and tatties.

Now, two of these points jump out at me as being particularly noteworthy for your haggis preparation. The first is to make sure the windpipe of the pluck hangs over the edge of the pot as you boil it. Mmmmmm, sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it. More important though, is to prick the sheep’s stomach with a wee needle if the bag LOOKS LIKE BLOWING UP!!! That’s just what you need isn’t it – minced sheep heart and lungs and grated sheep’s liver blown to smithereens in your kitchen.

But, and you have to trust me here, it’s a damn tasty meal – if you can just forget what it is you’re eating. C’mon, it’s really no different to eating a hot dog or a sausage, cause really, who has any idea what they put in those?

Just be sure to check that your toilet is in working order before you go back for that second helping, eh.

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4 Responses to “The Toilet Wars”

  1. Bec Says:

    Dave, I am currently sitting in an office all by myself (with glass that people can look into). I had to stop reading that entry four bloody times cause I was laughing so hard (and yes, when I laugh I end up crying a bit). Not what people looking would call overly sane: girl sitting at computer, laughing/crying – alone. So, my dear chap, I ask you to please stop being so witty and talented in that ol’ blog writing. I’m going to get fired over here!

  2. Bec Says:

    Stupid poo 🙁

  3. Mark Hogan Says:

    What is it with you two? A bloody mutual admiration society. Don’t you realise the chocolates and roses phase only lasts for 3 months, so why all the lovey dovey comments then? And why do you communicate by email when in fact you live together? I just don’t get it!

    Great job guys, excellent work and great photos, but maybe more of Bec and less of Blue (for obvious reason – you’re not the most attractive bloke out there mate).

    Keep on bloggin’ !!!

  4. Posted from Australia Australia
  5. Bec Says:

    Hmm, don’t know about you, but I’m not thinking poo is all that lovey dovey 🙂

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