Here today in French France, Charlotte dictated that it should be her duty to clean the bathroom.
Now before everyone gets keyboard-warrior-like with me over this and, in an attempt to amadouer* those who say a bathroom should only contain a bath, ‘it’s in the title’ etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah, our bathroom not only has a bath with a shower in it, but also a toilet (no bidet, just use the bath if the curry last night was that bad). In that respect it’s not a typical French ablutions emporium at all. More like a UK one… bath, shower, basin, toilet. No separation for us there then. Pass the loo roll someone!
Cleaning the bathroom doesn’t happen to be one of those chores that I relish. In fact, if it wasn’t for the imminent arrival of a visitor, I’d happily let it be, with an every now and then, splash and dash, lick and a promise, with a quick squirt of bleach and Viakal (other limescale removal products available).
It’s not that it’s particularly dirty anyway. I use the bathroom, unsurprisingly, for washing myself and cleaning my teeth. Both operations involve plenty of scrubbing with soap or toothpaste. All of which is in an attempt to be as clean and bodily bacterially deficient as possible.
Those with a gimlet eye and have read back issues of Carry On Regardless will notice that me being a Gone Native type of chap didn’t last long…
Even the towels could hardly be called dirty as they’ve only been used to dry our clean bodies…wet perhaps, but dirty, no.
Here, in this part of the world, we live on a plateau that was once covered with the salty brine of the ocean wabe. (Yes, ‘beware the Jabberwock my son’). As the area was once a maritime vista, the ground on which we now reside exhibits a plethora of shells, fossilised and compressed into the strata laid down and solidified during the Mesozoic period. You can read all about it here… https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuffeau_stone
The chalky, sandy limestone and subsequent calcification have produced a stone here in the Loire Valley, France, that locally is called Tuffeau. Light and creamy white in colour, it can be easily worked into building blocks as displayed by almost all structures within this vicinity, châteaux, églises et maisons alike.
Our Gatehouse has examples of both new and old. The doorway is an original feature but the window aperture, being only recently constructed, shows no wear through use or from rain erosion as does the doorway…yet.
As the bedrock is such, the water that is drawn from local sources has a high content of calcium within it. ‘Chalky not chewy’. Our kettle will fur up in no time and the many racks of replacement water heater valves on the shelves of Leroy Merlin (other DIY stores available) attest to just how large and widespread a problem this is.
So with Charlotte hell bent on cleaning the cleanest room in the house, I draw you back, lovely reader, to the issue in hand today, which is the actual toilet itself. The WC. The bowl or throne. The seat on which we all have sat and contemplated…some homes I have even known to install reading material or games such as the Rubix Cube or magnetic Solitaire, which is quite fitting really if you think about it, to while away the time spent in solitude.
Not only is the toilet an item that has the most unpleasant of substances regularly contained and subsequently flushed away, it also has quite possibly the highest usage of any water using artefact our house has within its walls. The flow rate from cistern to bowl, to expulsion pipe, to fosse septique (we’re not on mains drainage out here dans la campagne), must sometimes be the equivalent of our local fireman’s big bore firehose. Not that we’ve had need of the fire services here for anything other than to cart me orf to the local hospital, with Charlotte in hot pursuit, when, being rather worse for wear with kidney stones last year, I caused a brief interlude for you when my writings might have seemed to be absent for an extended period, if any of you had noticed at all that is…
Three strapping chaps marched their muddy boots up to our bedroom to scrape me from the floor and manhandle me into their waiting vehicle and race me to the A&E/ER at Châtellerault l’hôpital, where I was then dosed up with morphine and other drugs to help me pass the calcified little blighters. If you’re interested to know, I’m still hanging on to a few of them even now, so in the fullness of Life’s Rich Tapestry, we have something for us all to look forward to! That’s passing the stones, not seeing more firemen!
Anyway, the toilet. With its excessive throughput, it suffers the most with scaling up and staining. Much like one of those stains on a cast iron bath you sometimes see in a very old house, where the tap has constantly dripped for the last fifty years.
“Take a new scourer,” I said magnanimously, allowing Charlotte to use a brand new scourer pad to aid her in the removal of the unsightly stainarge from the darkest recesses of the bowl’s interior.
A while later, having finished cleaning, Charlotte wafted downstairs, accompanied by the redolent aroma of bleach, whereupon I enquired as to her success in using said new scourer. Had she been able to chisel, scrape, encourage, or otherwise buff off with her bare hands, the buildup of chalky stained residue?
“The scourer pad didn’t work,” she said. “I used a toothbrush instead!” 🤮
Oh joy is unconfined (they’ve let her out again)!
I need a new head on my electric toothbrush anyway!
Carry on regardless…
*amadouer, – fr transitive verb – to mollify. I thought of using mollify, but then that is a word we rarely use today either.