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Poo, Pee and Paper

Poo, Pee and Paper

Humanity’s intimate relationship with its bodily waste.

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The man on the left is drunkenly having problems “Pointing Percy At The Porcelain!

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Nineteenth century “Night Soil Men” collecting Londoners’ human waste early in the morning. This was transported out of the city and sold to farmers as fertilizer.

Pooing and peeing is now something that we prefer to do in private and not to give much thought to unless we are constipated or restricted to close proximity to a toilet due to over enthusiasm in the Indian restaurant the previous evening when drunkenly ordered “The hottest dish on the menu!” Once you have flushed the toilet and casually watched the poo, pee and paper slip around the bend you probably don’t worry what it is made up of or where it goes next. 

This book will explain that your gut may contain as many as 100 trillion bacteria belonging to over one thousand species. So, how can we visualise that huge number? If you were to make a pile of sand with 100 trillion grains it would be about 150 feet high!

Your gut ecosystem is as complicated and vulnerable as any rain forest.

Skara Brae is a large Neolithic settlement on the Bay of Skaill on the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It was occupied roughly 5,000 years ago. The dwellings contain some of the earliest examples of indoor toilets. The Babylonian, Minoan and Roman civilisations all had relatively sophisticated toilet systems - many communal. Where better to sit and put the world to rights?

Mediaeval castles had their ‘Garderobe’ toilets which stank so badly that best clothes were hung up in the stench because the moths would not live there!

The  first mechanically flushed inside toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harington, who was Queen Elizabeth’s godson, and he installed it in his mansion. And yet, by the middle of the nineteenth century indoor toilets were still a rarity owned by the rich. Raw sewerage oozing up between the floorboards in slum bedrooms in Dorset was the cause of a deadly cholera epidemic as witnessed by the Rev. Moule in Dorset as he visiting his dying parishioners. He saved countless lives by inventing a cheap and effective ‘Dry Earth Closet’ to collect and store their human waste safely. 

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The picture at left is a modern Earth Closet which the author was delighted to use recently in a remote Suffolk graveyard knowing that his excrement was going to be used as manure on a local vegetable garden. The picture at right shows that the public providers of toilets are now making provision for those men who are exceptionally well endowed.

This fully illustrated book will take the reader on a five thousand year exploration of toilet and sewerage developments right up to the ‘zero gravity’ toilet facilities on spacecraft, toilets in the USA reinforced for users weighing up to 40 stones (560 pounds), the liberating Sheewee devices  that enable women to pee standing  up, an explorer’s claimed experience of using a toilet on a Flying Saucer - and very much more!

Why would an 18th century canal boat owner in the Midlands be angry to be asked “Are you taking the piss?

How many trees are chopped down each year worldwide to be made into toilet paper?

What’s the connections between bidets and trotting ponies?

This book is being written so why not use the waiting time to get familiar with your poo courtesy of the Bristol Infirmary Identification Chart?

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