Local Heart, Global Soul

January 30, 2017

This Cow Eats Weed Under Glitter Ball Lights… Seriously!

Filed under: ART,LAVITORIAL - Intersting Loo's...,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Due to the large deterioration on my mother in law’s health and rules pertaining to my long term medical leave, Himself and I managed one weekend away together  as the sum total of our “holidays”  in 2016.

There was however one other weekend when Himself and I made a lightning trip to the United Kingdom, sadly the occasion to attend the funeral of a long time friend.

With Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr were quickly farmed out to wonderful friends and family, Himself and I packed our bags into the car and headed south towards the channel tunnel.

We knew that some of places we had to get to would be difficult for me to manage on crutches, so packed the wheelchair in the car for that eventuality.

I try not to use it wherever possible but attempting to lessen the amount of Oxicodon I take also means tackling any distance on crutches is out of the question, it’s a choice: pain killers or wheels and I dislike both.

The weather was warm and soon the water bottles we had packed were empty, necessitating a stop at a service station so that we could use the convinces. It was there that I found yet another loo with a difference.

This disabled toilet also doubled as the “family / parent”  toilet so naturally there was a baby changing table installed, but someone with a sense of humour had also installed a few additional features, all of which made me smile.

First of all, I think that the people behind this have kids of their own, they clearly know about unco-operative babies and toddlers who wiggle and squirm during nappy (diaper) changes, surely it was no co-incidence that the position of a small glitter ball was close to the head end of the changing table.

Even better, the glitter ball revolved and a small lamp directed different coloured lights onto it, making a sort of star pattern on the ceiling.

There is nothing better than an unexpected set of moving coloured lights to keep little eyes transfixed and thoughts away from escaping the nappy change.

Secondly, to keep slightly older kids occupied for a minute or two, there was also a height chart painted on the wall, the “children” represented there were given the thoughtful names: “Loois” and “Looisa“, a touch that hopefully bought a smile to faces of parents jaded by the trauma of travelling on motorways with small children. The biggest smile however was on an adult level only, a large photograph of a Dutch cow covered the back wall, and she was chewing “grass” (of the marijna variety).  Something to add to the tourist misconception that Dutch people must surely be smoking weed constantly when reality is that the tourists partake far more than any Dutch people I know. This may have been just a toilet, but it’s a lovely change from the spartan ones usually on offer, and hopefully it made the families who used it smile as much as I did. I am all for adding an individual touch to these kinds of public spaces.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pink lights on the ceiling and wall …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then changing to blue lights..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 13, 2017

This Loo Makes A Splash…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We stopped in the tiny settlement of Ward three years ago whilst on our New Zealand visit.

Of course regular readers will know that I have a category on my blog for unusual lavatories, so it will come as no surprise that this post is about a loo.

Of course once we had finished our lunch we needed to use the convinces, so I made my way with the kids to the end of the restaurant.

Just outside the entrance to the toilets there was a sign, featured below in my photographs.

No prizes for guessing that there were a few jokes about wiping the water off the seat before sitting down, and before I got to take my turn. Giggles ensued and we left the toilets will grins on our faces.

We loved the charm and sense of humour here, and when Kiwi Daughter and I went inside the ladies we found that the toilet seat was of the decorative variety, so I grabbed a photograph. No prizes for guessing that there were a few jokes about wiping the water off the seat before sitting down, and before I got to take my turn. Giggles ensued and we left the toilets will grins on our faces.
Ward is a lovely little place and we were pleased to have stopped here. Well fed and relieved, we head back to the car to make our way south bound on State Highway One.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 19, 2016

It All Hinges On An Brilliantly Simple Idea…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You know I love everyday, normal stuff, ideas that are ingeniously simple, full of common sense and practical.

Out one day when I needed the lavatory and end up finding this total gem of an idea, literally “in the loo”.

Seriously, you can’t get more everyday or ordinary than in the smallest room in the house.

In fact I got so excited about this find that I completely forgot where I saw it (but am busy rattling my brain cells, that information is in here somewhere.) So, to the point (eventually)… what was I so excited about?

Well, It’s a loo seat within a loo seat. One size for adult derrieres and one size to fit the average small child: more importantly, perfect for the child undergoing the toilet training phase.

First, let us all remember the dark and hidden fact that all parents never ever forget the time that their children went though “that stage”. Mostly we wished it would have been less messy, with less tantrums and fewer traumas (ours, not theirs) and had taken literally been over in no time at all.

Like many families, we went though several trial runs, moments appeared when our kids appeared ready to make the leap from nappies (diapers) to using a toilet, and like most parents we also discovered that on these occasions the kid had other ideas. After reading books on every method under the sun we settled on an age old favourite: bribery.

A jar of small jar of Smarties (sweets similar to chocolate filled M & M’s) went on to the dining table. Kid could score the grand total of one Smartie for every successful toilet event.

Note the word “successful”. With Kiwi Daughter we left that word out and the result was that she went and parked herself on the potty, doing nothing except demanding the reward, then getting up and repeating the experience two minutes later.

Generally what actually happens is that kids experiment with the “idea” of not using nappies, but are not ready to commit to a permanent switch until far later on. They get their parents hopes up by seeming interested, but reality is that parents are the salespeople desperately pitching the toilet experience as a new and wonderful event. The kid asks all the right questions, lets us use all of the tricks up our sleeves, lets us talk-the-talk, taking all of our time and energy,  …before nonchalantly walking away from the deal.

In our family one of our experiments involved kids in the warmest summer months dressed in nothing but t-shirts and little toddler knickers, playing on the wooden living room floors with the potty “conveniently” parked in sight and a multitude of little reminders, until the inevitable happened: the puddle on the floor. The simple fact is that kids get so wrapped up in playing the they simply forget, and once it’s too late, it’s too late.

Then came the transition from the plastic potty to the actual toilet. Also a fraught time because for a small child the hole in that seat looks mighty large, and they know that what ever falls inside gets flushed away. Little wonder they are afraid and cling on to you for dear life. Even if at home you can have all the success you want with the familiar plastic potty, outside the home it’s back to the terror that the “big toilet” invokes, and it’s not practical to bring a large plastic potty with you everywhere.

Our children “played” with the idea of toilet training at ages two and again at three, no matter what we tried we were unsuccessful, then suddenly at three and a half they found their magic moment, indicated that they didn’t want their nappies ever again and were dry day and night in a week. Each had two or three “accidents” after that, but then that was it, everything perfect since. Somewhere there is a little switch that triggers when they are ready and once they are truly ready it all just falls into place. Making it easier for them to use an adult toilet after this is the icing on the cake. I know that for many parents there are long struggles, especially with night time bed wetting so I know that with both our kids we got off lightly, but who knows how soon they might have been ready if the right equipment had been available for them to use, especially outside of the home?

What I discovered on this day was the perfect solution, an additional toddler toilet seat, hinged into the main one, deployed by simply lowering it into place, removed by raising it up again. Why have adults not been smart enough to think of this amazing solution decades ago? I hope that slowly but surely you could find this as “standard” in every convenience: in all restaurants, kid friendly places, public buildings and any and everywhere that families with toddler might be. For long term environmental reasons, for simple “bog standard” common sense and for the sanity of parents everywhere… let’s try and make toilet training easier for kids.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 16, 2016

Your Next Surprise Can Throw You A Curve Ball…

Filed under: GERMANY,LAVITORIAL - Intersting Loo's...,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the journey home from Stadtkyll and the Landal Holiday park in Germany last summer, we stopped at a  petrol station (gas station) for a toilet break.

As usual I am on the lookout for any unusual loos and this one was memorable for one simple reason, the cubical was oval in shape!

I was so busy taking a double take that I forgot to get photographs back towards the door but hopefully my photograph of the area around the hand basin gives you a little bit of an idea of the “curvy-ness” of the walls.

It’s not even a big service station, we weren’t even in a town, it was just one of those tiny non-descript rectangle-like grey places with pumps out the front and not much else.

My mind was bending over how it was even possible to put oval toilets in a tiny square building, or why anyone might want to. My only guess is that they had to accommodate the storage of something that was an unusual shape somewhere in the building and a curved wall solved the problem. Of course it’s also possible that an architect somewhere just wanted to mess with people’s minds. I wonder how many people wander in and out of these conveniences and don’t give the layout of the room another thought. I love discoveries like this though, I’m just annoyed with myself that I forgot to get the name of the German place where this was. It always pays to be on the lookout for somewhere different, your next surprise can turn up in the most unexpected of places.

October 12, 2016

Feeling Right At Home…

Filed under: ART,GERMANY,LAVITORIAL - Intersting Loo's...,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Stopping for lunch at the “Im Pfenn” Restaurant in the small German town of Irrhausen, I find a new toilet to feature in my series of memorable conveniences.

This one wasn’t outstanding for humorous reasons, it wasn’t strange or quirky, but it had an unusual charm in that it was so far removed from the lavatories usually found in restaurants and cafes.

Why? … because it was not just practical but also personal. It felt more like you had wondered into the owners own home,  there were things like hand cream, tissues, and air freshener. There is also a sign “für alle Notfälle” (For all emergencies) on the bureau, I didn’t think to look inside the drawer but it appears there may have been some emergency feminine supplies available as well if needed.

Most tellingly though, not just a fold down changing table for the smallest customers, but also a small step so that little hands could reach the wash basin and a child’s toilet seat to cover the adult one so that mothers (I can only speak from the point of view of the Ladies loo) didn’t have to add the chore of balancing their toddlers on the edge of the seat to the one of taking them to a public toilet.

Many parents will know that toddlers undergoing the “joys” of toilet training hate hovering above the bowl. being  scared of falling into an adult sized toilet, but also that a child toilet cover is not the first thing you think of taking with you when going out for a meal, so taking the fear and (hopefully) drama out of toddler toileting is a very much appreciated. All of these features, along with a bright and jaunty “Wickle Tisch” sign (changing table) rather literally make you feel like you are right at home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Im Pfenn Restaurant and Hotel / Irrhausen / Germany

July 6, 2016

A Loo With Modern Calm and Old Fashioned Charm…

Filed under: LAVITORIAL - Intersting Loo's...,LUXEMBOURG,Vianden — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

Following yesterday’s post about our lunch in Vianden, Luxemburg, our meal is finished and I needed to use the toilets before we leave. The bad news is that the facilities are down a set of stairs,  and stairs are my nemesis as far as pain is concerned. However needs must so I make my way downstairs slowly and laugh when I see the sweet signs on the cubical doors. Not only are the images humorous, they are also quaintly nostalgic and old fashioned, the polar opposite of the décor around me. The style of the basins and surrounds is a mixture of minimalist and natural… the water is sensor operated, the air dryer is not one of the bulky ones, but small but surprisingly effective. I love their style, but also their sense of humour. An excellent addition to my collection of beautiful / strange/ unusual and funny loos…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

December 6, 2014

A Swinging Lavatory To Add To My Collection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this archive post we’ve stopped at a roadside restaurant near Essen in Germany for lunch. Afterwards I need to use the conveniences. Little Mr does too.

There’s a man with a mop washing the floors by the entrance to the loos and between us and him is a small corridor and a turnstile that’s operated by coins (It’s normal to pay to use toilets in Europe).

The older gentleman with the mop is also in charge of giving change should customers  need pennys so that they can spend a penny.

I’m on crutches and survey the wet floor on the other side of the turnstile, then the turnstile itself gets my attention, there’s no wide barrier for people like me who would find getting though a turnstile difficult on crutches.

The man sees me hesitating and comes over, luckily he speaks a English and he’s worked out what my problem is. I point to Little Mr ask if there is a parent toilet we could use please because I don’t feel comfortable with Little Mr going into the Gents on his own.

He shakes his head, but comes over and produces a key to a room that I didn’t see behind me, the disabled toilet. I don’t have to tackle the turnstile after all.

He makes it clear that Little Mr may join me in there and declines my coins when I offer them, apparently most disabled toilets are free for people who really need them but the attendant needs to unlock the door for you. I’m delighted and give him our best Thank You’s in German with a smile. Luckily I’m wearing my coat and my pocket camera is in the top pocket because inside the disabled loo we make not one but two funny discoveries. First and startlingly obvious is the ladder arrangement in front of the toilet bowl. It’s there of course to assist people getting up and Little Mr is giggling himself silly when he sees it and announces “Hey, Look there’s a swing in their loo!”

No son, this isn’t a combination playground. The next humorous discovery is the tap system on the handbasin: There I am parked on the throne whilst Little Mr washes his hands and makes racing car noises “driving” the tap side to side like a steering wheel. At least I can be thankful that he washed his hands twice because it was so much fun to use the taps. We left it as spick and span as we found it and chalked it up as another “first” in lavatory discoveries. Even Little Mr was impressed and couldn’t wait to tell his sister about the “swing” and the “steering wheel”.  It’s also high on the list of the things he wants to tell our friends when he sees them.We must be related because…. I get that.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2013

Oh YES! It’s a Royal Flush!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers of my blog will know that I seem have a knack for finding unusual loos.

Some of these lavatories are truly quirky, some come with a view, some a highly decorated and most of them will leave you with a smile on your face.

I’m a firm believer that creative expression, humour and beauty should be found in as many places as possible and but sadly sometimes the most functional places in our lives, where we spend time every day are completely sterile and without character instead of being places of inspiration.

Here in the premises of the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles  (The Royal Porcelain Bottle) in Delft I was delighted to find that even the toilet bowl was decorated with the companies iconic flourishes.

Blue and white tiles have been a traditional feature in Dutch households for many centuries and as one of the Dutch pottery companies responsible for producing these tiles it was nice to see that they decided to use the blank canvas of the walls of their public toilets to showcase just a few of their designs.

There are  mirrors over the hand basins in this Ladies loo,  and the lights caused some difficulties with reflection on the tiles so getting the photos, but I did my best and I think that this set of conveniences is inspired: A right Royal Flush!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 12, 2012

The Littlest Room in the Biggest Space….

Filed under: LAVITORIAL - Intersting Loo's...,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers of this blog will know that at various times in my travels I have discovered  some  beautiful / strange / unorthodox / unusual / decorated / weird or  inspiring  lavatories.

So far amongst others I’ve featured Dutch loos with a “inspection” shelf,  a stable door fronted loo, some amazingly decorated loos and now of course in the living compartment of the Space station in the Space Expo in Katwijk, The Netherlands there is a “space loo”.

There are socially acceptable limits as to how enthusiastic you are allowed to appear upon discovery of  the “facilities” on board an exhibit in a museum… and with other visitors going past I deemed it a little too invasive to actually dive into the cubical to get close-ups of the equipment.

(I’m may be a little bit weirdly obsessed, but I’m not that weirdly obsessed).

I also was too chicken to front up to the main entrance desk and pose the question “So just how do  astronauts relieve themselves in the zero gravity of space? ” but luckily someone else already asked this question on the internet so I just followed the link to “How Stuff Works” website and an article on how to use the bathroom in space.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/bathroom-in-space.htm

In spite of the obvious irony of there being no bath in space,  just as there is often no bath in a north american bathroom, the people who answer the question managed to ascertain that the question was completely and totally unrelated to the bath and more related to the W.C.

Here is what they have to say:

Each spacecraft comes equipped with a unisex toilet. Although the toilet itself looks like a slightly higher-tech version of its counterparts here on Earth, it’s designed a bit differently. The toilet consists of a commode that holds solid wastes and a urinal for liquid wastes. A funnel that fits over the genital area allows both men and women to urinate standing up, although they also have the option of sitting down. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To prevent the astronauts from floating away in t­h­e weightless environment, the toilet comes equipped with foot restraints (for sitting) and a toe bar to slip the feet under (for standing). The toilet also has a thigh bar similar to the one that pulls down over your lap when you ride a roller coaster and fabric fasteners that go around the thighs.

(I burst out laughing at this point… does this mean that you need a roller-coaster bar over you in case you take off if you fart or ‘exert a little pressure”?)

To ensure that the waste also doesn’t float around, the toilet uses flowing air instead of water to flush the toilet. The air pulls the waste away from the astronaut’s body and flushes it away. After the air is filtered to remove bacteria and odors, it’s returned to the living cabin.

But where does all the waste go? Don’t worry, it’s not going to come hurtling into the Earth’s atmosphere and through your roof. Solid wastes are dried to remove all moisture, compressed and kept in an on-board storage container. They’re removed and disposed of once the spacecraft has landed. The liquid waste is sent into space.

On the International Space Station, liquid wastes are recycled through a special water treatment plant and turned back into drinking water. Solid waste goes into a plastic bag. Each time someone goes to the bathroom, the bag clamps down and seals like a trash compactor. The bags are collected and placed into a special craft that is launched into space.

Going to the bathroom becomes even more challenging when astronauts take a walk outside their spacecraft. Because they can’t simply drop their space suit and go, astronauts typically use a superabsorbent adult diaper. These diapers  (nappies) are able to hold up to a quart of liquid. Astronauts use adult diapers during take-offs and landings as well. After the spacewalk, the astronauts remove the diapers and dispose them in a storage area in the craft.

Naturally since our visit took most of the day I also required the use of the conveniences at the Space expo centre and it was no surprise to see them “suitably” signposted.

Since a gentleman visitor entered this area at the same time as I did, I didn’t feel brave enough to walk  past the Ladies to photograph the Gents sign, and as luck would have it another man arrived with his small son as I was leaving the Ladies so loitering around the Gents was going to look a little perverted.

I did however get photos of the Ladies and the Disabled toilet sign, where the wheelchair symbol or the female figure are highlighted accordingly.

As for the space loo… After reading the above text, I’ll leave it to your imagination to try and work out which bit of the equipment does what!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Oh, and note the preferred colour for the figures… and I thought that it was the “other aliens” who were supposed to be  the “little green men / women”!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 1, 2012

Personally, I Blame John…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After seeing this in Piopio…

Seriously, I’m about to make you privvy to some very important information:  after making this post I’m going to have  to make a  special Category in my blog’s category list…

It’s a little bit confessional, and has come about as a matter of urgency due to the inconvenience of finding a convenience on some occasions or the delight of discovering that there is a porcelain God after all and a throne’s been thrown in there too…

I shouldn’t  bulkhead at the task, naturally I need to flush out the perfect name and once I’ve  found it I think that maybe there’s some hope of getting this subject out of my cistern  err…system.

I think I commode a decent enough grasp of the English language  … but sometimes this is a subject cloakroomed in secrecy, since finding your way back to common sense entails a very long drop indeed  to get back the rest room.

I wish people would just say what they mean, Why do they want to go to the Ladies or the Gents when preferably there are no Ladies or Gents in occupation  there already?  I mean if there were, it would be totally inconvenient.

And why ask for a bathroom when you have no intention of taking a bath? This could blow up to be a powder room of debate!

In  the meantime feel free to wonder if I have loos my mind, or if I need to go back to the very beginning and explain my fascination with A, B’s and W.C’s.

Yes … sigh, you are right, I’m going potty and they’ll probably assign me a white jacket and put me in a little room.

There are Facilities for this maladie I hear but it’s easy to get bogged down in the how and why’s this happened. Personally I blame John, he should carry the can for taking the pot, I mean he’s all bluster and thunder and he dunny know what’s he’s talking about.   It has to come to a head some time doesn’t it?

….or should I just keep very quiet about this obsession before I become the  butt of too many internet jokes?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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