Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Portaloo; or, across England with a Thetford

I swear that, since getting the boat, we've done more weird and wonderful journeys carrying a weird and wonderful assortment of cargo than we ever have before. Not only did we move house by train (see the post at the end of July last year), but we also regularly cart around coal, pallets, gas bottles, hosepipes, boxes, furniture, rucksacks, bags... But the strangest journey of all, and our oddest cargo, must be the one we achieved last weekend.

We had Christmas 2.0 with Amy's family. Yes, I know it's February. But we had a white Christmas, after arriving on Saturday, with a full Christmas dinner (cooked wonderfully by Amy) with turkey, cranberry sauce, and most importantly of all a surfeit of stuffing. Crackers and silly hats followed, and we had an amazing time.

However the journey home proved to be interesting. The present from Amy's dad was a nice sparkling white almost-new PortaPotti. Our current convenience is a beigey-brown model, which always contrives to look filthy. And the flush is broken, too, and it needs new O-rings. But the New, Improved model is sparklingly clean-looking and altogether newer.

But there was a problem. We were in Devon with the PortaPotti, and the boat was the other side of the country. To get it back, we had to lug the thing back to Paddington station on a possibly crowded train, take the tube, and then get it back to Cambridge. And then get a bus from the station.

I'm not sure what people thought of the two young people, snugged up against the cold in a multitude of hats, scarves, and gloves, carrying a white shining toilet in a bright orange bag between them. I doubt it was very complimentary.

And, of course there was the toilet humour the whole way home. "Oh, we're just going through Great Portaloo Street", "Arriving at Waterloo station", and all the rest...

But we made it. You couldn't do that with a Pump-out loo, could you!

We did see this dog, and another, which was a dead ringer for the cute mutt on the underground that prompted Amy to start blogging in the first place.


  1. I can think of many train journeys where having your own loo would have been a great advantage ...

  2. I hope you were flushed with success, carrying that around the railway cistern...

  3. Of course most trains now have pumpout toilets but when we went up to Ricky for our Jam 'Oling fun on London Midland there was a sign warning you not to flush when the train was in a station... Gosh, I reported back to Jim, it's got a sea toilet.