Friday, June 29, 2007

Fascinating Invention no.14 - The Indoor Flushing Toilet

At school we call them the 'toilets' (see left). Grandpa jack has a 'lavvie'; at home we have a 'loo' and the metal space capsule with the automatic swishing door, in the middle of our market square is a 'W.C.' There are lots of different names for it but they are all the same thing - the indoor flushing toilet.
The boys' toilets at school are always flooding. This is because certain people do not stick to putting the normal stuff into them but like to experiment with stuff like, smuggled out school dinner or Oliver-James' P.E. socks (they are massive) or four million paper towels. Of course, the flush cannot cope and the water floods out causing the caretaker to break out the lifeboats and Mrs Trundle to break out her high-powered assassin's rifle. I think the caretaker should be happy he does not have to deal with clearing out 248 chamber pots or the stinking tanks from outhouses but for some reason he does not seem to appreciate the history lesson.In about 1596 Sir John Harington may have invented the first flushing toilet for Queen Elizabeth 1. He was her godson and while everybody else thought it was a stupid smelly idea, the Queen was supposed to have had a go on one. Nobody can be certain because he did not leave a toilet to put in a museum and they did not catch on; maybe the queen just got annoyed because when it went wrong there were no plumbers around to unblock blockages because Sir John had failed to invent plumbers at the same time. Whatever happened it was not until 1775 that Alexander Cummings got an English patent for putting a water trap under a bowl (see diagram). GENIUS! But this 'wash out' toilet stayed outside the house until the Victorian times when everything changed. The new 'wash down' toilet came with a jet flush. Woo -hoo. There were lots of companies making toilets then and they were all decorated like flowerpots to make you think that going to the toilet was actually quite a fragrant and royal thing to do. In fact this was the time when ordinary people who had been having a poo for centuries, realised that the Queen actually went to the toilet as well. Queen Victoria asked Thomas Crapper's company to install actual toilets in her palace which as well as shocking a great many ordinary people also made Crapper a household name. The toilet has never looked back. My cousin, Jaspar still likes to pee in the back garden which does not please Mum but is one of the things about him that actually does not bother me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Distraction from the Big Thing

To distract myself from the Big Thing I am working on the invention of the flushing toilet.
In the meantime here is a picture of The Parents who are now alien creatures to me and live on the distant Planet Parent. From now on I will only answer to the name of Buzz as in Buzz Aldrin - let us see how much they like that.
I now have three hatched stick insects. They are 2cm in length and surprisingly chirpy. Babies are nothing to them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It Is All My Cousins' Fault

So Ok, I will tell you but first I have to let you know that it is all my cousins' fault. See the trouble was, they came round, which was quite weird as well as being a complete disaster because I am told to entertain Skye and Jaspar while the adults go and discuss Something Important. This is a terrible thing because:

a. The adults go and drink coffee and eat very expensive biscuits
b. Skye and Jaspar are fiends in human form
c. I need to look after my stick insects
I am not at all keen to combine b and c. but I would much rather put a and b together and see how they like it.

I cannot do that, so I decide to do the next best thing and that is to take the fiends in human form to be entertained in The Parents bedroom. I show them the wardrobe and the ensweet bathroom but they are not particularly entertained. I then very politely offer them the use of The Parents' bed for bouncing purposes and Jaspar starts to snigger.

'Bet they made it here!' he says and he starts making stupid 'ooh' and 'aah' noises.
'It takes a fraction of a second to do it,' says Skye.
She has adopted the lotus position and her brother begins bouncing and she is flying up whenever her brother comes down.
'What?' I ask.
'He-bounce-doesn't-bounce-know,' says Jaspar.
'bounce-we've-bounce-known-bounce-for two-bounce-whole months,' says Skye.
'Shut up,' I say, a bit disturbed. 'You do not know anything!'
'Au contraire,' says Skye, and she flies off the bed, completing a complicated double turnover in the air. Sadly, she lands on her tiny pink princess feet. 'WE KNOW EVERYTHING.'
'Up to and including how babies are made,' says Jaspar, beating the feathers out of the pillow.
I am relieved. I have known how babies are made since before I was born. The Parents made sure of that.
'I know that,' I say and allow a smug smile to pass my lips.
'Then you'll know how your Mum and Dad made a baby,' says Skye. 'A new one. Newer than you.'
I think I might have screamed and wiped the smug smile off my own face but I cannot remember much apart from feathers flying.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nobody Asked Me

So this BIG thing is just about as big an explosion as you can imagine happening to me. And it really is not fair because nobody asked me.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something BIG has Occurred

Something BIG has occurred. Eek.