Following on from yesterday's successful but somewhat scatalogical post, let me tell you about the fitting of our last toilet seat. I feel a lot easier in using the word 'toilet' and not 'lavatory bowl' or the prissier 'loo', during the Hattatt's little break from Blogland, but I still experience a slightly uncomfortable suspicion that they may be reading and not writing. This is just inverted snobbery, so 'toilet' it will be.
We needed a new toilet seat a few years ago, and I vowed not to buy a cheap one like the last, which was made from MDF and fell apart in a very short while due to the ingress of urine. MDF is like a sponge.
There seems to be about three different sizes to standard toilet-bowls, and three different materials used to make the seats. Two of them - plastic and MDF - were not being considered by me and a smart-looking gentleman in suit and tie, as we stood in front of a display of solid hardwood seats in our local Homebase shop.
The seats were pinned to a vertical wall in rows and had a variety of hinges and fittings - some in yellow brass, some in chrome and some in stainless steel. H.I. refuses to have any dark wood in the house, so I knew that once I had bought a suitable seat, I would have to take it to the workshop, take it apart and sand it down ready for her to paint in some pastel colour before I reassembled it again and fitted it. I knew from the outset that this was not going to be a simple matter of taking off the old seat and bolting on the new.
The man in the suit and I stood staring at the array of seats on offer, comparing the quality to the prices, and we were both struck by what looked like an obvious bargain - a solid hardwood one with heavy chrome hinges and fixings, and a 'soft closing' mechanism which prevented the wood from slamming against the ceramic when you lowered the seat or top cover. It was about £20 less than any of the others of a similar quality, and we began to discuss it with each other.
"Hmm," the man looked at it thoughtfully, "There must be something wrong with it."
"Well it doesn't mention any defects in the ticket and I cannot see any. I'm going to buy it." With that, I picked up the boxed version on the rack beneath the display, paid for it and took it to the workshop where I prepared it for H.I.'s re-painting.
The removal of an old toilet seat and the fitting of a new one is a laborious, awkward and sickening task, even if you are only dealing with your own stale urine which has accumulated in out-of-the-way places that ordinary cleaning cannot reach, but after an hour or so, I had done it.
I lifted the seat, and was surprised at the resistance which I encountered when trying to lean it against the ceramic cistern. Then I let it go and it slammed hard against the porcelain as it closed itself again.
The 'soft closing' mechanism had been fitted the wrong way round in the factory, and Homebase knew this but had not disclosed the fact. They just lowered the price without explanation.
If any male stranger visits us as they tend to do around Christmas, you can hear the seat slamming against the bowl about five times before they give up and piss all over the woodwork in frustrated anger.
I am guessing that the man in the suit was a businessman. Probably quite a shrewd one at that.
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