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

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Brothers betrayed by toilet paper

A decade ago rational members of the wider Bonden family urged me and my two brothers to see more of each other. It was, they said, what normal relations did. Thus began a series of orgies at Good Food Guide restaurants all over the country leading to enormous credit-card debt. Last weekend we spent three nights at the remote lodge of a lairdish castle south-west of Oban (ie, in Scotland)

We self-catered our dinners, or rather Sir Hugh did while Brother X (who is not of the blogging community) and I washed up. The place names alone suggest what an alien part of the British Isles we had strayed into: close to an exhilarating cart-track short cut we passed through Ardanstur, Brother X (a long-time yachtist) looked fondly at a Rassy 29 at the Craobh Haven marina, we contemplated but rejected using the ferry to the island of Luing.

We did take the 150 m ferry crossing to a tiny island with the disappointingly anglicised name of Easdale but the disappointment was purely linguistic. In the pub a half-lobster salad cost £13.95 and a salad based on five giant crab claws £6.95.

There were downsides. To Brother X’s outrage we were vouchsafed a mere four or five sheets of toilet paper each – the potential for a genuine anti-social crisis since none of us had brought this normally ignored but ultimately vital commodity. Also Brother X was never able to rest easy about the quality of wine he’d brought. He castigated his Bordeaux as “similar” and refused to be comforted by the excellence of a Meursault and a 2001 Bordeaux with a volatile bouquet that suggested a genuinely mature claret.

More on Prague (its food, beer, text messages, trams, etc) to follow.


Plutarch said...

How was the toilet paper dispensed? I picture the Bonden brothers having to approach the laird whenever nature called; and the laird repairing to his safe in order to issue the rationed sheets. The paper was, I assume, the hard and shiny Bronco variety, which I recall from my wartime childhood.

The Crow said...

Plutarch, I will be laughing all through my accounting test tonight because of your response.

I remember hard and shiny t.p. from Girl Scout camp MANY years ago, but have never heard it referred to as bronco. The only broncos I know of (other than Ford SUVs of the same name) are the broncos that wild-eyed cowboys rode in Texas rodeos from my childhood.

Now that I think of it, the t.p. from GS camp was about as rough on the derriere as bustin' broncs must have been to the rear ends of those rodeo cowpokes.

BB, I'd love to read more about the places you and your brothers visited - with photos, if you could, please?

christopher said...

While I am not sure how one could know beforehand to bring tp, I am quite sure that 4-5 sheets of tp are not adequate for this bum.

Rouchswalwe said...

The cost of TP here once caused Rouchswalwe to exclaim, "I shall gather leaves from the yard and utilize them instead!"

Sir Hugh said...

I was a bit annoyed with myself for not having my own tp. I had meticulously planned the menu and taken all provisions required, but unfortunately tp was not one of the ingredients on the menu.

When I am backpacking tp is an essential item stowed in the lid pocket of my rucksack for rapid access and kept in a dry-bag.

Ardmaddy was an enjoyable trip with BB and Brotherx, and it is a good time of year to go to Scotland to avoid the emphatically unbearable midges.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: Neither Mrs BB nor I would consider anything other than "quilted" paper. Picking up on your wartime experiences there was another brand, San Izal, also hard and shiny, which had one of a sequence of joky statements on each sheet. A remarkable feat of marketing which encouraged users to over-consume.

The Crow: I've picked the best, I'm afraid. One of the other days we drove to the Co-op at Oban there to deposit our self-accusatory pile of bottles into the bottle bank, to acquire toilet paper and to look for towels (another defect of the rental and a source of further rage in Brother X - we bought tea-towels which are unpleasant on the face). However, if you access Sir Hugh's blog you will find a parallel account of this mini-holiday. There is even a photo of me though not big enough to identify my face in a police line-up.

Christopher: Had Brother X not been so inflamed by this shortcoming I dare say I would have improvised. Just how is beyond me at the moment.

RW (sZ): During my years in the USA there were references to corn-cobs in this context. When asked to explain my informants merely giggled.

Sir Hugh: Glad to hear that. I wouldn't have favoured toilet-paper ragout.

Lucy said...

Two sheets at a time at least are required - one to clean and one to polish. My late father was a great one for Izal, and we were rather egregiously - since post-rationing abundance was otherwise the order of the day with household provisioning - brought up with this, until family rebellion finally ensured the introduction, if not of Andrex then of something a little more kindly.

Oddly, I seem to have inherited something of his Spartan tendencies in this area after all, since I eschew the fancy and to my mind rather decadent quilted stuff preferred by Tom and favour a somewhat harsher recycled product (the idea of recycled toilet paper is always troubling, I know...). Marital discord on this matter has been averted by having the one type downstairs and the other upstairs - and no, that isn't a euphemism.

It must be a bit of a bummer - pun intended - when you write a varied and interesting post about a wonderful-sounding trip like this and everyone just latches onto the loo paper issue. But it was ever thus.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: You packed several double entendres into that little lot. I wondered whether your adherence to Bronco (not literally - gosh, I'm picking up the tendency) had something to do with a public school education and a willingness to mortify your flesh. But previously you've always come down rather heavily on hedonism. Token mortification, then. I'm delighted to find we share the two-sheets-at-a-time preference.