Confessions · Family

When Toilets Don’t Flush

Two weeks ago it rained like nobody’s business, blew a million mile gale (you may have read about the tree that I didn’t axe down), and cut off the power to 3,000 residents for three days.

My parent’s included.


As I happened to be on babysitting duty, while the boss was holidaying overseas, I became stranded out of town with no power.


Here’s the thing. When you live out of town in the country, as my parent’s do, and the power goes out….it’s kinda, sorta the end of the world as you know it.

It’s like getting sucked back in time.


Think of the horse and cart.

Hand delivered telegrams.

Rib crushing corsets.

Think fashionable lice infected wigs.


Now think of the chamber pot. Because thinking about the chamber pot is exactly what you do when out of town in the country with no power.

Why? Well. Here’ the thing. When the power goes out in the country EVERYTHING stops.

Including the flushing facility on the toilet cistern.

No power. No electricity.

No electricity. No water pump.

No water pump. No flushing facility on the toilet cistern.

You follow?



So what you find happens is self-inflicted constipation. And strange as it may sound, self-inflicted constipation becomes the prefered method to live when the toilets aren’t flushing.

The alternative is rather smelly.


So while my sister and little brother became mesmerised by candle light, my sixteen-year-old brother and I were running around outside, climbing water tanks in the dark, filling buckets and pouring water into non-functioning toilet cisterns.

Maybe you’ve never wondered what it would be like if you had to live in the era of chamber pots. Maybe you’ll never have too.

But here’s the thing. Now that you’ve read this post, next time you go use the toilet, chamber pots just might pop into your head.

If that happens, here’s what you should do. Thank the guy who made the chamber pot. Because that gave another guy an idea and he invented the flushing toilet. Then thank your lucky socks you have a flushing toilet.

Then think of me and the three days I lived without one.

I’d be very grateful if you did.


May you always have a flushing toilet,

xx The Girl in Trousers




2 thoughts on “When Toilets Don’t Flush

  1. I remember those good old days! Not the chamber pot days, but the no power days. We get them down here a fair bit too, never had one last 3 days though. I love black outs, but do love my power too.

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