Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 21 May 2010

Hfd techno-trip

AUTOCRATIC LOO Yesterday we toured a four-star trio (Ledbury, Great Malvern, Pershore) from Simon Jenkins’ England’s Thousand Best Churches . Ledbury is one of seven churches in Herefordshire where the spire or tower is plonked on the ground rather than the roof. Easier to build of course but for no other known reason. However it was the men’s toilet outside the Pershore church that tickled my techno-fancy. A symphony in stainless steel it plays a recording once the door is locked: “Time spent in this toilet is limited. You will be warned when your time allocation is reached.” Despite my curiosity I discharged my affairs with alacrity and was out before the second message was made plain.

WEED WAR Weeds are emerging between the bricks laid on our heartlessly middle-class driveway. I squirted the green shoots with Weedol which promises “visible results within one hour”. That was two hours and a bit ago and I’m damned if my eyes are able to confirm this claim. But I’m not too disappointed. I ponder the possible effect on my hands had Weedol’s aggressiveness been proven.

IN FULL FLOW The feeble flow of hot water into our newly installed hand-basin was not ordained by law as one of the plumber’s fonctionnaires suggested. The main man inspected the dribble and acknowledged it had the power to irritate. After some discussion about “tails” (an essential feature of mixer taps it seems) a replacement was promised. Happily this turned out to be unnecessary. Removing the installed tap revealed that the hot-water tail was choked with rubble. I’m now less likely to cut myself while shaving.


Plutarch said...

That talking loo sounds sinister. Did you check for bugs, cameras? I suppose curiosity wains after a while: I might have been tempted to wait for the second message just to see what it consisted of. Then just suppose that, enchanted by the stainless steel, you were to take up residence for a while. Would the loo police arrive to evict you? The fire brigade? The Mayor of Pershore? The vicar? The SAS?

Rouchswalwe said...

Do you think the time allocated for men differs from that allocated for women? How was the proper amount of time calculated and decided? Perhaps this is one of those instances where curiosity would have killed the cat. As for weeds, I've had no trouble with this year; however, aphids have been the bane of my garden existence. I used Neem oil on them. It can be used in organic gardens, and it was only after my fingers were drenched with the substance that I thought to read the danger label. Thus far, my skin is still intact, but I've learned my lesson and will read before applying next time.

Hattie said...

My most horrible ever toilet experience was with a high-tech loo in Valencia. It sterilizes itself completely after every use. I was there for the sterilization. I ducked into the crapper before the woman before me could shut the door.
Live and learn, ha ha.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: If I'm feeling lonely all I have to do is blog about bogs and the community draws in around me. Thanx.

Plutarch: Clearly Pershore has its problems. The doors to the loos are of heavily reinforced metal design and the exterior of the very new bog building is emblazoned with minatory notices about police action. I wondered about CCTV and whether there were different announcements in reaction to what the camera perceived ("Stop that. It will make you blind.") For once my innate curiosity gave in to a greater and more powerful sense of menace and I made my excuses.

RW (zS): Man time vs. woman time. We were a party of four and I urged the two women to further my research. But neither was inclined. As to aphids I fear that is the work of a true gardener and, as I explained earlier, we merely have money but no love of gardening. I de-weeded the driveway because my back is in marginally better shape than that of our gardener. It was a job for an idiot.

Hattie: If you were there for the sterilisation does that mean...? No, I can't believe it, although Americans are known for their remarkable frankness about such matters.

Julia said...

This sounds like a slightly simplifed version of the interview question we ask budding software developers: how to define the algorithm for a set of elevators in a busy "insert building where the interview is taking place". I like the loo as a variant on a theme.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: Wow! All I can say is thank God I'm retired and no longer in need of gainful employment in the technology sector. How cruel you are, PP.

Julia said...

I love the elevator question though, because you learn a lot about the person by how they go about trying to answer the problem. And if you think about it, a single elevator has a pretty easy algorithm - keep on going if there are more requests in the direction you're already headed. Stop, or turn back, if there are not. You can also see how people think about where the elevator should head to if it isn't getting called, based on time of day, the floor with the most foot traffic on it, etc.

Barrett Bonden said...

One of my great disappointments about lifts was when I discovered that simultaneous button pressings (One for up, one for down) did not cause the the lift to tear apart in the middle. As to predictive lifts there's something horribly sinister when one arrives, seemingly unbidden, at a floor, opens its doors and disgorges...nothing!

Julia said...

I do agree, that is an oddly terrible sight.

Lucy said...

It could be a perfect flasher's excuse couldn't it? 'I wasn't exposing myself on purpose, your Honour, I was timed out by the automatic loo...'

There are urban myths about small children being washed away down those things, aren't there?

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: And then there are the elderly who can't manage things quite as quickly as they used to. Who might mistake the stainless-steel thingummy for a piece of modern art.

This wasn't one those auto-loos that the French export and which have effected the quietus of many a young Brit. Or perhaps it was. Se depecher was the verb that came to mind.