Let’s not beat around the bush. We’ve been building this place for more than a year, and we just built our first toilet. I call it, The Sables Non-flushing Toilet Mark I, Modified Edition. Everyone is probably like, gross, we don’t need to know anymore. So if you want to go and do something else now, I understand. Maybe you’ve got a bit of Sudoku to catch up on, or a facebook update to compose. Go, without judgment. But seeing as you’re getting an in-depth rundown on every nail and bracket we’ve used, you should really know what’s happening to us, as people.
On a trip in Tasmania early last year, we stayed in an eco village half way up the east coast. This accommodation is so off the grid that they don’t have a website, and answer email enquiries only on the full moon. The booking process was quite secretive, and although probably unnecessary, I somehow felt obliged to drop into conversation that I knew people with dreadlocks. Short of providing old bank statements that showed I once made donations to Greenpeace, I somehow kept my cool and got a booking. However, it was worth the process. In a rural setting, perched on the edge of a white sandy beach, this idyllic little escape was a lesson in proper alternative living.
Anyway, there was a composting toilet in our ‘villa’. I was impressed, to a degree, that it didn’t smell. Matt on the other hand was so impressed that he documented the construction details in a series of photos and videos and asked the owner to take us through the building process. Who was to know that this toilet would become the muse for Toilet Mark I?
It took both of us, a set of drawings, a calculator and a couple of afternoons to build an MDF box around a large rubbish bin in our garage in Brisbane. It was the simplified version of the Tasmanian model, but it did have a proper toilet seat on the top and we were feeling positive.
We took this toilet contraption out to the farm and installed it in the cabin, in the newly built toilet room, just off the bathroom. Matt then went about making what I can only describe as a nest of sticks and grass in the bottom of the bin, which I guess was a nice gesture for the first user. Doubts started to arise about how solids and liquids would go in the same bucket, and about how affective sticks and sawdust would be at masking the odour, given the proximity to our bedroom. The two of us then gazed upon our new toilet for a while, looked at each other and without a word moved it outside.
It wasn’t just moved outside. The toilet was marched 400 paces away from the cabin, where Matt and two of his cousins dug a hole and placed the toilet over the top, minus the rubbish bin. Complete with some leftover cladding propped up against a tree for privacy, it was our first WC.
It’s not fancy, I’ll admit, but a long drop is a step in the right direction. More significantly, it marks the end of an era for ‘poo shovel’, which I believe has now been promoted to the esteemed position of ‘concrete mixing shovel’.
The next exciting instalment of ‘General Hygiene’, will be all about the shower, and why a shower in the cabin starts with a surge of adrenalin, followed the words, ‘It’s on!!! Go go go!!’..