“There are loo seats I’ll remember all my life…” as the Beatles might have put it. Arriving in Glasgow on the sleeper at 7am, unable to use the loo while the train was in the station because of the anti-social consequences, it was a huge relief to find a clean, presentable Gents available for just 20p on the concourse. A contented traveller needs a decent loo. From my pre-climate awareness days there are many horrific lav stories; a drop loo in the Solomons where coconut crabs lay ready to nip your privates; the pungent pong of stale urine overflowing in a Bangkok bus station; Greek loos that didn’t take paper; continental squatting models; and more latterly tiger worms lurking beneath the sawdust in a green’s compost loo and the blue hell of the chemical toilet in the Dalmally bothy.
And now, for an anally retentive man, came the ultimate challenge; camping for four days at an Ullswater boat house without running water or loo facilities of any kind. Thus bowel movements involved unspeakable activities with trowels and paper burying the evidence among the trees, bracken, thistles, nettles and flies. Often amid a deluge. Soon we became expert at restraining nature and holding on until the café at the perhaps aptly-named Pooley Bridge (outside loo with cold water and a mirror) or the National Trust toilets at Aira Force (smelly but effective). What bliss to now be in Aberdeen with a fully functioning flush toilet. Thomas Crapper, inventor of the original water closet, you are a much-neglected genius.