Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Royal Throne

This, apparently, is a picture of the toilet system at the gatehouse of Basing House in the village of Old Basing, UK, where, reportedly, Queen Elizabeth I once placed her royal arse. Well, perhaps not in this spot exactly, but somewhere in the near vicinity.

To read more about Tina's visit to the house, go here.

I remember hearing about gong farmers, actually. When I was living in Ireland, a few years back, my family came for a visit and we went to an old Medieval castle somewhere - I know, they're everywhere. But I distinctly remember on the tour the part where the tour guide introduced us to the "Garderobe."

Now, this means exactly what it says in French, which is that it is basically a clothes closet. You could still see where they had the place to put poles for hanging clothes. But there was also a place for a wooden bench, with a chute in the stonework leading outside. That's because the garderobe also doubled as a loo.

The waste went down the chute, and it all collected in a big central cess pool, where the "gong farmer" would then stir the pot, so that all the lovely vapors would waft back up into the clothes closets in various places around the palace. The idea was that the ammonia in the vapors would keep the clothes "clean and fresh."

Mind you, these were also the days when bathing was considered bad hygiene because it might "take off your skin." Goodness. I like my nose. Am I ever glad I did not live in the Middle Ages.

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