Archive for February 21st, 2011

a snippet from the past:

On this day in 1804, Richard Trevithick’s ‘unnamed’ locomotive hauled five wagons, 70 men and 10 tons of iron 9.75 miles in 4hrs5mins on the world’s very first laden train journey.

Richard Trevithick (13 April 1771 – 22 April 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer. His most significant success was the high pressure steam engine and he also built the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive. On 21 February 1804 the world’s first locomotive-hauled railway journey took place as Trevithick’s unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. (ref wikipedia).

The "Pen-y-Darren" locomotive

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ok, so the idea for this post came about this morning whilst I was lying in bed, busting for the loo but determined not to get up even 1 minute before the alarm went off!!! daft!  As I lay there chastising myself for being so daft, I thought to myself…..”What I really need is a potty”! hahahahaha. and no I don’t mean potty as in daft, I mean a good old fashioned porcelain potty,

a potty - pic via antiques-now.co.uk

the kind that in the ‘olden days’ we put under our beds at night and used if we needed the loo……saved a long trip out in the dark of night to the ‘outhouse‘.

Blimey! can you even begin to imagine that in my lifetime (and despite the obvious, I am not actually that old) hahahaha, we didn’t have inside toilets. Truly. I remember when I was in boarding school back in 1964, when I was 9 years old, and I went home for the weekend with a chum from school to her farm.  Their toilet was outside; a corrugated iron shack,

outside loo - pic via fotolibra.com

 just like you see in the movies of that period, across the outside pathway that led past the kitchen and up 4 steps.  So at night if you wanted to use the loo you had to get up out of bed (horrors), light a candle, put on your boots (in case of snakes – seriously…think Africa!!), walk down a long passage through the kitchen which was filled with all manner of spooky looking objects that came alive in the dark, a fridge that always chose to shudder and groan as you came through the door, open the backdoor that creaked on it’s hinges and with every ounce of your courage step out into the inky black night, with only a tiny candle to light the way.

a tiny candle to light the way - pic via flickr.com

So my first night there I, to my utmost dismay, needed the loo.  I waited for as long as I could before actually wetting my panties, then I endured all of the above and ventured outside to the loo.  I can tell you that never in my life (up until that stage) had I been so terrified.  All manner of evil creatures with bad intent on their minds followed me down that passage, waiting at every corner to pounce and carry me off!!! And the worst of it was that you could’nt even run there and back, coz if you even walked too fast….the candle would go out!!!!!!!   Anyhow, since I am still here…….

ooopsss and I have gone completely off ‘piste’ (duh! bad pun 🙂 ) so back to Grandma’s house.  My grandparents lived in a massive, rambling house that had little passages and rooms going off in all directions.  It was marvellous for small children and made an awesome place for hide-and-seek.  My grandmother had a tiny room on one side of the house and next to that was a huge room (well it seemed huge to a 6year old), with 3 beds where I, my sister, my brother and my 2 cousins used to sleep when we visited.  Oh! the tales I could tell you about those times……brilliant!  Anyways, since the grandparents did not have a loo in the house at that stage we used to have potties that lived under the beds.   They had lids that fit snug into the rim and when you lifted the lid to ‘go’, you almost passed out from the sulphuric fumes!!!  Which in retrospect was probably a good thing since it took your mind off the spiders that used to lurk in the bowl. 🙂 hahahahahaha, just thinking about that is making me LOL!!!

Now bearing in mind, we were just littlies at that stage and getting out of bed in the dark for any reason was a nerve-wracking ordeal….you just never knew what had taken up residence beneath the bedsprings! To get out of bed to use the potty at night………mind-boggling!  So you hung on for as long as you could, tossing and turning from the discomfort and just when you could bear it no more, you sprang out from under the sheets, grabbed the potty, lifted the lid…..had a squizz, slammed the lid back on and scuttled back onto and into and under the covers as fast as you could….shivers running up and down your spine, hairs standing up on the back of your neck and all the nights horrors escaped by a whisker!!!  and in the morning, said potty had to bed emptied!!!! geez!

Thank heavens for indoor toilets.  Not that it’s made much difference to my urge to get out of bed any sooner than I absolutely have to!!!

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