Toilet seat hunting… one way to crap off the week…a

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This post was written in November 2018.  Sorry for the confusion!

On Monday of this week, I wrote a tale of woe about the toilet seat in our upstairs bathroom.  The bumper on the old toilet seat in our current house busted the other day.  Bill decided to get a new seat.  Off we went to the Toom in Herrenberg to find one.

Bill was armed with the measurements he’d taken of our current commode.  We spent several minutes perusing the impressive array of toilet seats available at our handy German hardware store…

There’s a whole wall of seats.  They range from the colorful to the plain.

Bill found a couple of contenders.

I was amused by all the beach scenes, especially since I grew up pretty close to the ocean and miss it.

This one was in 3D!

I probably would have preferred the zebra.

I was eyeing the toilets jealously, but then remembered that our new house has new toilets… or so we were told.  To be honest, with all the houses we visited, it’s hard to tell who said what.  Suffice to say, I don’t think the toilets in our new house are “water saver” types like the one in our current house’s upstairs bathroom.

Bill paid about 30 euros for the new seat, then we headed into Herrenberg for lunch.  We could have had lunch at the Toom, since they have a full scale snack bar there.  We got to town a little bit later than optimal for lunch.  It was about 1:30pm, which is getting close to “pause” time.  I’m going to miss Herrenberg, so I took a few pictures.

I took a photo of this store because I hope someday to visit and buy a table here.  They have some really beautiful custom made tables in this shop on the main drag through town.  It’s called Lieblingsholz.

Closing down the Saturday market.

A charming sign…

Just before we stopped to take a picture of this sign, we stopped at our favorite local pizzeria.  It was closed today, just as it was last time we were in Herrenberg.  I was looking at the sign and an elderly German guy came over and asked us if we wanted to “have a coffee”.  I was actually talking to Bill when I said, “What did you say?”, but I guess the guy thought I was talking to him.  It turned out the German gent spoke perfect English.  He told us about a really nice bakery down the street that serves coffee.  We were very charmed by his inclination to help us find coffee, even though we were looking for lunch and have lived near Herrenberg a total of six years over two tours!  It was such a nice, welcoming gesture, though!

Herrenberg kind of feels like home.  I fear Wiesbaden may not feel that way to me, because it’s so crowded and people have more money there.  But I have met people from Hesse who live down here near Stuttgart and I have met a guy who is married to someone from Stuttgart who lives in Hesse.  So I guess we’ll find some friendly folks regardless.

Yesterday, Bill stopped by our vets’ office in Herrenberg to pay for the dentals we had them do on our dogs and take care of the VAT form.  One of the vets had recommended that we stock up on wormers and flea and tick pills, so it would be on the VAT, too.  I’m going to miss our vets, too.  They’ve taken great care of our boys and I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, for professional purposes, anyway.  I told them I wouldn’t be surprised if we came back to the area at some point.  This is the place for guys like Bill.

We ended up at Hanoi Pho.  We have eaten there once before and I remembered liking the food.  I liked it today, too.

Shot of Bill after he asked our waiter what the lady next him was having.  She had a bowl full of fried stuff that looked just right for me.

But I ended up having shrimp with vegetables and peanut sauce.  Unfortunately, this had a couple of mushrooms in it, but Bill came to my rescue.  It was otherwise very good and lightly spicy, if not a little heavy.  

Bill went with pho made with beef and noodles.  In the picture, you can also see the mushrooms he took from my dish.  Thankfully, there was just one cut into a few pieces.  It didn’t affect the flavor of the dish.  Bill used some red chili sauce in the pho and it was apparently very potent.  He ate the whole thing and even threatened to drink the broth.  As we were leaving, he was wiping his eyes and nose because the sauce had brought on the waterworks.

The proprietor dropped hints that he was ready for a smoke break when he brought us our bill unrequested.  It came to about 25 euros.  We were about finished anyway.  Bill had to go look for a wrench so he can install the new toilet seat.  Then he said, “I guess I better get some wine, too, since we only have two bottles.  One is Moldovan and the other is semi-sweet.”

My response was, “Oh God, yes, get some wine.”  That’s my Bill.  Always a provider.  He’s been busy today, taking care of some minor maintenance issues like changing lightbulbs and offloading trash.  When he removed the old toilet seat, the bolts were so rusted that one snapped clean off.  It was definitely time for a new seat.  Hope the new tenants like it.

Tada!  After Bill installed this snazzy new seat, he fetched a bottle of wine.  I have now christened the new seat and it’s a vast improvement over the old one.  

If you got through today’s post, I would like to share with you some glorious photos from a couple of sunrises this week.  I think the view at our current house is the best part of our experience here.  I’m going to miss it, too.

These were from Tuesday…

And these were from this morning.  For about twenty minutes each morning, especially when it’s going to be cloudy, we get amazing sunrises and sunsets at this time of year.  Unfortunately, the view from our new home will include a lot of rooftops.  We weren’t as lucky in finding a rural location in Wiesbaden.

I took these on Tuesday with my digital camera, which is capable of zooming.  I loved the big blackbird.  He sits in that tree all the time, looking for rodents.  Sometimes it’s exciting to watch as he and his buddies swoop into the fields, competing with the many cats that prowl the area.

I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store for us.  I suspect I’ll be purchasing some rugs at the PX.  Maybe we’ll stop by the Auld Rogue or something.  Next weekend, we’ll be in Baden-Baden resting up and celebrating our anniversary.

No fouling…

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Okay, so maybe I won’t be posting about doggie toilets around the world.  But I think I have amassed enough obnoxious photos of signs about dog crap that I can post them in my blog.  Since I love the odd silly blog post, I figure it’s time.  So with much fanfare, I give you signs against doggie dumpage.

Barcelona offers a graphic that everyone can understand.  And they thank us in Spanish.

 

Here’s one from Puerto Rico…

 

The Scots don’t like doggie doo…

 

They provide a bin.

 

And neither do people in my own neighborhood in Germany…

 

It’s not cool in Italy, either.

 

Despite the signs, it’s not uncommon to come across nasty piles of doo doo anyway.  I bet if I kept looking, I might find more examples of how uncouth it is to not clean up after your dog.  But a lot of people don’t clean up after their dogs, anyway.

Notice how all the dogs are facing the same direction.  Some of the signs are really negative, while a couple take a more positive approach.  In Spain, they simply thank you for cleaning up your dog’s shit.  In Germany, they plead about health and safety.  In Scotland, they are really stern and threaten a big fine.  In Italy, they quote the law.  In Puerto Rico, it looks like people ignore that the bin is really for dog crap.

Maybe if I collect enough pictures of signs, I can publish a book.  It worked for these ladies…

I actually own a copy of the book above.  I bought it last time we lived here and wish I’d brought it with me this time.  What can I say?  I am very easily entertained.

Toilets of the World…

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I love books, especially when they are about quirky subjects.  A few years ago, when we were living in Germany, I stumbled upon a book called Toilets of the World.  Written by Morna E. Gregory and Sian James, this was basically a picture book of plumbing facilities around the world.  From the crudest holes in the ground to the most sophisticated washlets made by the Japanese, these two ladies have covered their taboo topic terrifically.  I bought my copy of their book in 2008 and keep it by my loo to look at while I’m tending to business.

 

 

One of the toilets we encountered in Scotland…

 

I reviewed this book on Epinions.com, but it is currently “greyed out”, which means that it’s hard to find it unless you know exactly where to go.  I’ve decided to post it here for those who happen to be interested.  It really is a neat book, especially since Bill and I had occasion to visit at least one of the toilets profiled in Toilets of the World when we visited Scotland last fall.

 

Lovely pedestal sinks in the men’s room at Rothesay Pier on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

 

 

Signs explaining how the restoration of these Victorian era toilets was undertaken. 

 

 

 

A magnificent pissoir…

 

 

They didn’t give the ladies room the same treatment.

 

 

I like the “Deluge”…

 

 

The outside is not all that impressive.

 

 

 

But it is very convenient and reasonably priced at 20 pence a piss.

 

 

I took a photo of this toilet at Arran Aromatics on the Isle of Arran because it had an ingenious child’s seat for wee ones…

 
 

This was one of the toilets in Ardgowan House near Greenock.

 
 

And this was one of the public toilets in Mount Stuart House.  Unfortunately, a lot of the ladies were trying to “hover”, which resulted in a puddle of pee on the floor…

 

Below is the review I wrote of the book, Toilets of the World.  I have read and reviewed many books about toilets and the act of going to the bathroom.  This is one that I think will really appeal to curious and intrepid travelers.  The authors have a Web site that is worth checking out.  Also, I came across a fascinating Web site called Toilet Guru, which is a site dedicated to the same thing…  

Let’s face it. Every living creature in the world must, on occasion, eliminate waste. It’s a fact of life that no one can escape and the one thing that everyone has in common. Before I spent two years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, I assumed that everyone eliminated their waste in the same mundane manner. Like most Americans, I was used to “going to the bathroom”, which generally consists of visiting a room that includes a bathtub or shower, a sink, and a toilet. At the very least, I expected a water closet, where the sink and the tub were in one room, while the toilet was in another. The house my family lived in when my father was stationed in England had a water closet. I wasn’t exposed to the so-called squat based “Turkish toilet” until I landed in Yerevan, Armenia, where public toilets are often of the Turkish variety and many people are grateful for the fact.

As you might be able to tell from my opening paragraph, I’ve given the subject of toilets more thought than most people probably have. That’s because, I’ve just finished reading Toilets of the World (2006), a fascinating picture filled book by authors Morna E. Gregory and Sian James. This bright yellow book, which came to me wrapped in cellophane, bears the international male and female signal for toilet facilities and is decorated with euphemisms for toilets.

One wouldn’t think this book would be very appealing to anyone with “delicate” sensibilities. It does discuss a subject that affects everyone but is still taboo. A polite person doesn’t discuss their toilet habits at the dinner table, after all. But it turns out that Toilets of the World really is a very interesting book. The authors have separated this book into geographical sections. Using lots of photographs, witty captions, and occasionally more substantial text, the authors explain the different types of toilet facilities one might encounter on a trip around the world. From the lowliest hole in the ground to the most elaborate, jewel encrusted work of art, just about every conceivable crapper from every corner of the world is covered.

Some of the toilet designs in this book are truly astonishing. For instance, at Sketch in London, the public restrooms consist of a series of giant oblong “eggs” that look like they came off the set for Mork & Mindy. The eggs, which are colored pink for women and blue for men, each contain a perfectly normal toilet on which one might tend to business in comfort. At Bar 89 in Soho, New York City, the public toilets have transparent doors that look like they offer no privacy to prospective patrons. However, when the latch is turned, the doors turn opaque. How ingenious! The clear doors allow visitors an almost foolproof way to know for sure if a toilet is occupied or not. That way, no one has to look under stalls for feet or shyly tug on the door to see if anyone’s in there.

I was amazed by some of the incredible pictures in this book. Gregory and James must have had a lot of fun doing their research, collecting photographs and local toilet lore from the places that are discussed in Toilets of the World. They discuss everything from racially segregated toilets in South Africa to squat toilets in Japan that require users to don special “toilet slippers”. The plastic toilet slippers even are marked as such, with the word “toilet” printed on the toes or simply the universal man/woman toilet symbol. The authors even take on “female urinals” which allow women the opportunity to pee standing up, just like guys do. They even include instructions on how to use such a facility, although aside from trying to avoid having to sit on a toilet seat, I can’t imagine why women would want to stand while they pee.

The authors also explain certain toilet related services. For example, since I’ve lived in Germany, when I visit public toilets, I’ve often encountered the so-called Klofrau. In France, she’s known as Madame Pipi. That’s the lady (or man) who sits outside public toilets with a plate full of coins. It’s her job to see that the toilets are kept clean and to dispense toilet paper if there isn’t any already in the stall. As I was reading about this, I started to wonder what prompts someone to pursue a career as a Klofrau. Anyway, as long as they keep the toilets clean, I’m grateful for their services… as long as I have change handy, that is.

Obviously, I find this book very intriguing, but I’m guessing that it won’t appeal to everybody, especially those who are grossed out or offended by elimination. There are a few pictures of people actually using toilet facilities, though there are none that show anyone’s private parts. Most of the pictures are simply of the actual toilet facilities, the vast majority of which are clean and presentable. Though there’s not too much off color humor, the authors do include some frank discussion of the more vulgar terms for waste elimination. They also include some historical information and commentary on where some of the terms come from. I found that aspect of the book especially interesting, but I realize that some people might be turned off by it.

Because it consists mostly of photographs, Toilets of the World is a very quick read. That makes it a great book to keep in your own loo– just something to read for a few minutes while you take care of business. Of course, as I learned from this book, some people are actually lucky enough to have toilets with television screens installed nearby, eliminating the need for reading material.

In any case, I learned surprisingly new things reading Toilets of the World. I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s curious about the many different toilet traditions around the world.