Le loo de la Longue Droppe
It is odd that the French, so advanced in most ways, still have these archaic loos. Turkey, OK. Greece, OK. But France ? Actually, France was very late in sorting out its loo problems and when we first came here in 1989 many houses had no indoor loo, and many had no loo at all. I know, because I ran an estate agency for several years and saw many many houses.
Truly, no exaggeration, I saw one house where the loo was at the foot of the stairs – presumably so that the loo user could open the front door without getting up; I saw one house with the loo positioned next to the cooker, presumably so that one could stir the soup at the same time. Double loos outdoors were still in use. How friendly. Even “educated” people seemed behind the times – we know a Yoga teacher and her Maths teacher husband, whose loo, even today, is out in the garage.
Yet in England even our old Victorian semis has a loo – the “casi” (from the Spanish word “casita” : little house, brought back from Spain by UK mercenary soldiers during the Spanish Civil War) – down at the end of the garden. Our very first UK house, bought in 1979 when we were young newly-weds, had a perfectly decent loo just outside the back door. But upon arriving here in France even our Chateau had no indoor loo … and the solitary outdoor one had not been installed till 1969. Odd, isn’t it ?
Anyway, le Loo de la Longue Droppe is still fairly common in France. Pissoires were also common till fairly recently and have now suddenly become Monuments of Great Importance. Even that is odd. Pissoires were men only. Apparently French women never needed to pee.
In fact I don’t mind a Loo de la Longue Droppe. It is very good for your thigh muscles. You do need Wellies, however. You need to be sprightly too. You need to be able to kick the flush button (yes, kick), step out of the way, unlock the door and get out all in one swift movement.
Perhaps they should be called Le Loo de Feet Washing instead.
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites. Her sketches are on her web site http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk . Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.