I burnt the toast again this morning. It is a regular occurrence. In an attempt to multi-task I put the brown malty slices under the grill, let Casper dog out, clean Milo cat’s litter tray, and again…. my breakfast is in flames.

Switching off the smoke alarm I leave the house and pootle along in Casper dog’s car, (after all I am just the chauffer) to the Peace Garden without breaking my fast. Was it Toad of Toad Hall from Wind in the Willows that pootled or maybe he was a Toad racer? Poop! Poop!

Have you noticed a theme emerging? I am getting dangerously close to engaging (get it?) in toilet humour so beloved of the Lets Get Growing members. This brings me nicely to my topic this month. We have a new compost loo!

When a Peace Garden visitor hears about the Ajax, or the Jakes, so named by John Harington inventor of the first flushing toilet, there is a subtle reaction, a slight frown of concern at the brow. You can see the questions flitting across their eyes, yet left unspoken. Will it be clean, does it flush, is there anywhere else to go?

Well, we are very proud of our Can. We raised the funds to buy it and dug the foundations ourselves, laying the slabs with care so it would be level. It is reminiscent of the facilities in every modern home.

Loo resized(Photo courtesy of the Community Foundation)

The travellers amongst you may have various bathroom experiences, some good, some down right awful. I have my own stories of the metal troughs at pop concerts which more delicate friends shun. Oh and the shed perched over a crevasse at an exotic camp site, that was the pits!

Many will remember grandparent’s outside lavvy, cold and damp on a winter’s night, wind blowing round the nethers. Did you have strips of newspaper hanging on a nail? If they were threaded on string you were posh! With no lock on the Privy door you got to be a good whistler. The privy was literally a ‘private place’ where spiders lurked and children quaked. In my Grandma’s comfort station the only comfort I remember was a warm wooden seat.

In the 1880s Thomas Crapper, whose name has been used in devious ways, fitted 30 flushing toilets in Sandringham House, the country seat (ha, ha) of Edward VII. They came equipped with superior cedar wood seats. What a Royal Flush. They must have got through a few tins of Vim each year.

Our compost loo in the peace Garden is a lovely John! It’s an environmentally friendly, clean, hygienic Netty housed in a large, fragrant, throne room. It composts the waste so that it can be used in the garden, not on the vegetable patch I hasten to add for those more squeamish readers. It is a simple process that returns plant food back into the soil without using water. It’s a bog standard system (sorry, I couldn’t resist) especially useful in places where there is no plumbing. Armitage Shanks has nothing to compare.

So if you are visiting Minsteracres and the Peace Garden you may like to pause and partake of the peppermint, loiter by the leek bed, tarry awhile at the turnips and if you so desire, you are most welcome to use the little girls and boys room. No pennies are required.