Within her Balham flat, my nan had an inside toilet.
An outside toilet would have been, three-floors up, singularly impractical, also, her sense of balance was poor, and she constantly refused abseiling lessons.
My nan’s toilet did suggest many a mystery: did every old person’s toilet always contain a tin of pre-war talc; smelling salts (you didn’t sniff those by accident twice) and an empty bottle of 4711 eau de cologne? I often wondered whether eau de cologne was some form of Franco-German mouth wash?
Which leads directly on to, and begs the question: who on earth came up with “toilet water”? Not even eau de toilette lightens the thought of popping something behind your ear which smells like Harpic. I assume the “before” toilet water is more expensive than the “after” version? 😊
Did this idea come from people escaping from revolutionary France armed only with a secret selection of toilet ducks containing toilet water? And what marketing whizz suggested calling it that?
However, it was in this “smallest” room which determined why I’d never become a plumber: within the cistern my nan explained was the ballcock, which helped the actual toilet function.
When you’re eight and prone to giggling at comedic words, I felt my credibility would be blown as a professional plumber, should I ever have had to have uttered the words: “I think it’s your ballcock, love”.