Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Poo Chute

One of the least attractive things about going to sea in a small boat is that inevitably there will come a time when the marine "head" (toilet ) will need a good unclogging.  It has been a cause for no small amount of concern, that while Joyeux has two of these wretched devices, only one has thus far been in service, and despite enquiring through Jacques and even as far afield as "the internet" which knows all, no one has been able to unravel the mystery of how our ancient mechanical contraption actually functions, or in one case doesn't quite function.

It seemed that there was nothing for it but for yours truly to accept that a teardown of all moving parts, and a removal of all black grimy stuff in the process was  becoming inevitable, and over the past few weeks I have become resigned to my eventual fate.

But these things are weird, like no other I've seen.  The bowls seem to sit on top of a small holding tank, originally hidden from view by a foot operated flap, which fortunately for us has long since resigned from its task of supporting yesterday's breakfast in a position which leaves it exposed to much greater contemplation than one usually deems desirable.

The demise of said flap though had a further side effect in that in certain conditions of weather, a trick of the light allows one to see the unadulterated contents of the tank as though a spotlight were upon it.

Thus it was that in our anchorage last evening, with some distress I noted that weed and small sticks appeared to be floating in the tank, and I feared that before our ablutions were complete, my date with destiny and my plumbers kit would be upon me.

I'm not sure if "reprieve" is a French word, but it sounds like one, and in the absence of a blockage bravely I received one and thus put off the inevitable until perhaps tomorrow.

After a few hours of motoring today, we arrived in Toul, where the waters in the harbour are so clear that we can see the bottom and all that lives within.  We had been stationery but a minute when, as is her wont, she disappeared into the head compartment.  In less than an instant the door to the head opened and I was summoned to peer down the bowl.

I tried to assemble the last vestiges of my manly courage as I approached my fate.

There in the clear green water of the harbour, peering straight up at me, was something doing a perfectly reasonable imitation of a bream!  The photographic evidence is poor, because the relief was so palpable that I shook rather more than the small shutter speed would allow under other circumstances but if one squints one can see him there peering back.

With palpable relief we can report that there has been no clogging, there is no tank, and we actually have a pair of bathescopes built in.  Doesn't that give new meaning to "feeding the fish"!

We just have to hope we don't come across a school of Archer Fish with a sense of humour.



Julie said...

*chuckle* ... all this was really more than I needed to know, Pierre.

Yes, very clever image through seat.

However, I think an image is required of you 'assembling the last vestiges of your manly courage'.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter & Jo, how come you are in Toul! What happened to Strasbourg? We left Saverne this morning after spending 5 days there. A lovely area. We should be in Strasbourg Monday or Tuesday.
Julie & Phil

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