Toilet straining

Columnist Peter Warland battles a bathroom conundrum

“Always go to the bathroom when you have the chance.” -King George V.

“All this progress is marvellous … now if only it would stop!”-Mayor Allen Lamport.

Peter Warland

In another fruitless attempt to be a good citizen and not waste precious water, I purchased yet another low-flow toilet and I am already ruing the day. The one I-with the help of my lusty son-installed last year is a magnificent edifice in itself yet, to my dismay, it doesn’t actually work the way it is supposed to. In order to completely clear the commode of  even a minimal amount of detritus, one is forced to flush several times.

Naturally, I have had words with the store that sold me that masterpiece of engineering as well as with the manufacturer, to no avail. According to them, my plumbing might not be up to scratch. I took offence at those remarks because, although I might be old, decrepit even, my plumbing is in excellent shape, thank you.

The muscles on my arm and hands are in great shape too, due to the exercise I get from constant flushing.

More recently, I had cause-and misgivings-to install another low-flow latrine only to find out that my life is becoming bogged down in fights with the flushers on that new bog. There are two of them on the top of the lavatory but, no matter which of them one elects to thrust downward, the result is less than satisfactory. Even a single sheet of T.P. remains like Columbus’ Santa Maria, after a storm, still floating serenely on the surface.

Over the past few weeks I have cordially invited several practical and intelligent men to have a quick peek at my johns and possibly point out what might be the cure to my privy dilemma but, in every case they have flushed, flushed again, lifted off the top and peered inside but not offered one helpful suggestion. I, in my turn, have thrown buckets of water down the potties and demonstrated that my plumbing is in good order, but still there has been no brilliant idea come to life.

Let me see; I’ve made good use of a plunger, scratched the porcelain with a metal snake, floated C.L.R. throughout the (non) workings of the W.C., hauled in hundreds of metres of garden hose, hooked it up and fired litres of water through everything, all to no avail, no royal flush. In an idiotic moment of frustration, I even considered using the vacuum cleaner to unclog things but caution prevailed.

Like any other true savant researcher I went to Google to seek the cure for my latrine problems and, after staring google-eyed at the screen for what seemed like hours, I spotted what appeared to be a remedy for my problems. I followed the instructions carefully; I poured about a litre of dish-washing soap into the bowl, added a kettle-­full of hot water and then waited like an ancient, optimistic alchemist for a miraculous result.

An hour later, I ventured into the rest room with bated breath-because of the suspense only-I flushed and-abracadabra-it worked; it actually flushed properly, a perfect counter-clockwise swirl of water disappeared from view .

Unfortunately, a half hour later, when nature called, the crapper was back to its recalcitrant self. If I had been bigger, stronger and much, much younger, I would have hauled that misbegotten comfort station out of the house and tossed it willy-nilly into the street, head first.

Come to think of it, I think I need my own head looking at because, unlike the ill-fated Napoleon, I have met my Waterloo at the loo and I sometimes wonder if that giant virus that some idiot revived after digging it out of the Siberian permafrost might not be nesting snuggly in some sewer pipe that takes the waste from my porcelain thrones, just under my house.