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 Goodbye To All That!

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 17:38

Some things are consigned to history just because their time has run its course; some with silent consent, some with loud joy at their departure. In this historical version of Room 101 (a la BBC not Orwell) just about anything can be nominated, though perhaps we should give priority to those things we ourselves have seen off in our own lifetimes, and of course of which we're reasonably certain we're sure to have seen the end, never to return.

I'm kicking things off with a hearty shove into the pit of oblivion that malignant bane of my young life in "Holy Catholic Ireland" - the bigoted, sadistic, often extremely hypocritical and even more often dangerously stupid people who, through dint of their garb and little else, tenaciously attempted to control every aspect of everyone's life. I will stress that it is not the church in its entirety that I am cheerily waving goodbye to - I anticipate that nut to be a tougher one to crack - but instead the venomous breed of parasitic destroyers of so many lives that it wilfully engendered for so long. Such people of course are still with us. But this particular manifestation of their power (and what power they enjoyed!) will not be missed at all.

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 19:04

You can insert whatever your own comparable brand was here. In my case as far as I recall it was a product called "Santex", though the yellow paper packaging with repeated pictures of shells and starfish simply encouraged the pronunciation "Sand tex". And sandpaper it most definitely was. The only brand available at the local store, its glossy surface defied one to fathom how on earth it should be used. Simple direct application to the area to be cleaned merely meant that reams and reams of brown-stained paper filled the toilet and the nether regions remained as soiled as before, probably even more so. Crinkling it up first to try and fool it into being soft simply resulted in converting it into a thousand jagged edges - more effective right enough than uncrinkled, but absolute agony to apply. And of course any more than three sheets were enough to block the loo. I couldn't find a picture of the brand that blighted my childhood but this image conveys the sense of it pretty well ...

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 21:58

@nordmann wrote:
Some things are consigned to history just because their time has run its course; some with silent consent, some with loud joy at their departure. In this historical version of Room 101 (a la BBC not Orwell) just about anything can be nominated, though perhaps we should give priority to those things we ourselves have seen off in our own lifetimes, and of course of which we're reasonably certain we're sure to have seen the end, never to return.

I'm kicking things off with a hearty shove into the pit of oblivion that malignant bane of my young life in "Holy Catholic Ireland" - the bigoted, sadistic, often extremely hypocritical and even more often dangerously stupid people who, through dint of their garb and little else, tenaciously attempted to control every aspect of everyone's life. I will stress that it is not the church in its entirety that I am cheerily waving goodbye to - I anticipate that nut to be a tougher one to crack - but instead the venomous breed of parasitic destroyers of so many lives that it wilfully engendered for so long. Such people of course are still with us. But this particular manifestation of their power (and what power they enjoyed!) will not be missed at all.



Nordmann,

"I'm kicking things off with a hearty shove into the pit of oblivion that malignant bane of my young life in "Holy Catholic Ireland" - the bigoted, sadistic, often extremely hypocritical and even more often dangerously stupid people who, through dint of their garb and little else, tenaciously attempted to control every aspect of everyone's life."

I already tried (in our BBC time) to compare my Roman Catholic childhood life in Catholic schools end of the Forties, start of the Fifties, with your "young life" in Ireland. What I read from it and saw in documentaries pointed to a lot of similarities, but I guess that only the real experience of Irish life can give a hint to how it in reality was.
I think our "college" life and that of my sister's Catholic girl's school  (only some year difference in age) has, in reality, although the obvious similarities, more to do with the equal Catholic French system...

"tenaciously attempted to control every aspect of everyone's life"

Although the priests and the nuns tried to do the same, was life in Belgium much more liberal and socialist orientated than in Ireland I suppose and as such our parents had a broad choice to seek for alternative schools as the municipal and government schools, which were layman orientated (and many times also liberal or socialist orientated), but especially in the beginning of the Fifties these schools were not yet at such a high level as the old Catholic ones. And yes there was in the parents' choice (even the laic parents) also that bit of denigrating feeling for the less elite public in those "socialist" schools with their "dirty" and "vulgar" youth...

Perhaps the Roman Catholic schools in Belgium of that time, were never that harsh as the Irish ones because of the all day competition from the other "official" school networks...?

Perhaps it is therefore that both my sister and I had never that very negative aspect of the Roman Catholic school.  And that in spite of all the flaws we encountered. And you can recken we can tell you whole stories about it...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 22:12

The crucial difference between both our experiences was the extent to which the church had embedded itself into the state administration in each case. While being no expert on Belgian history I would reckon that Ireland held a rather unique position in that the church had, from the foundation of the state, marched unopposed into absolutely all the positions of authority it wanted (and even some that it hadn't overtly requested), protected both by the political patrons who felt they could not counter or gainsay it and the population on a whole who had grown to relate its presence to national aspiration. There were dissenting voices, most notably communist and radical socialist, but they were thin on the ground indeed. By the time you and I arrived in the picture Belgium had undergone a fundamental trauma to its machinery of state during the war that had, as with other countries, invited an equally fundamental reappraisal of identity, state control and notions of progress once the war was over. I imagine that would in itself have stymied any great political ambitions on the church's part there.

In Ireland however, where the war had effectively been bypassed, and the country in the meantime plunged into a stagnatory enforced isolation, no such re-examination was undergone. In fact the narrow-minded introspective nationalism that had led in part to church domination grew even more intense, if anything. In Poland the church had been all but subdued by the new communist regime. In Italy it had long been circumvented as a power by the political authorities. In Spain and Portugal it had ensured its continuation through a direct deal with fascist dictators in which it had to thereafter know its place. In Ireland on the other hand, knowing full well that they effectively ran the show, they could portray "Ireland" (ie. themselves) as one of the last great bastions of Catholic power. Worse, we as citizens were effectively brainwashed into supporting this claim and being happy for it. It was a bad place to be, at least if one wanted to exercise a free conscience. As bad as any fascist state in that respect, and in some respects even worse.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 22:37

But just to show that this thread is an invitation for further examples, here's one outside my direct experience but of which I do remember a dumbfounded father almost lost for words as he tried to explain to us what he had witnessed in the merchant navy when a trip had brought him to the southern states of the "land of the free".

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 22:54

@nordmann wrote:
You can insert whatever your own comparable brand was here. In my case as far as I recall it was a product called "Santex", though the yellow paper packaging with repeated pictures of shells and starfish simply encouraged the pronunciation "Sand tex". And sandpaper it most definitely was. The only brand available at the local store, its glossy surface defied one to fathom how on earth it should be used. Simple direct application to the area to be cleaned merely meant that reams and reams of brown-stained paper filled the toilet and the nether regions remained as soiled as before, probably even more so. Crinkling it up first to try and fool it into being soft simply resulted in converting it into a thousand jagged edges - more effective right enough than uncrinkled, but absolute agony to apply. And of course any more than three sheets were enough to block the loo. I couldn't find a picture of the brand that blighted my childhood but this image conveys the sense of it pretty well ...

Nordmann, Nordmann,

you and Caro bring me always in such situations that I start to elaborate about such toilet events...which sometimes ends in more realistic descriptions...

"The only brand available at the local store, its glossy surface defied one to fathom how on earth it should be used. Simple direct application to the area to be cleaned merely meant that reams and reams of brown-stained paper filled the toilet and the nether regions remained as soiled as before, probably even more so. Crinkling it up first to try and fool it into being soft simply resulted in converting it into a thousand jagged edges - more effective right enough than uncrinkled, but absolute agony to apply. And of course any more than three sheets were enough to block the loo."

No in our first house and even in our second new house in the beginning there was no loo with a water closet, nor in my grandmother's one. And we were not alone, it was common practice that the "cabinet" was outdoors, with a door to enter with a small opening on eye's height in the form of a heart. To see if it was "occupied"? I guess? It is still after all those years a mistery to me...

The "closet":
or it was a thick plank on a little wall and with a round hole in it, the hole could be locked with a round cover for the stench. As I was young and still small I could do the two "actions" at the same time in the round hole, but I wonder how the grown ups in that small round hole could...it is still a mistery to me...or they had to do first one "action" and then sit in another position for the second "action"...? I wonder...
or it was already as in our house a porcelain toilet but with a straight neck immediately to the concrete chesspool.   And there there was a "modern cover" which didn't cover completely the oval porcelain pot. You can guesss the stench during summer time...

One advantage however was, as the stuff in the chesspool was not diluted by a water closet, one could use it (as we and many did) for there garden or our vegetable garden. (if I remember it well, it was there that Caro and I had a similar experience?).

And now to the toilet paper:
In most houses the toilet paper were old papers, which were made in small parcels from some 6 inch on 6 inch, but sometimes it were whole journals and one had to tear it in pieces before or, when forgotten, during the "action". Sometimes by lack of papers my parents provided magazines with more "glossy" paper and from that experience I can imagine myself in what you, Nordmann told me in your message...

Hmm, the indoor water toilet and the modern two layer toilet paper (I have something against three layer...same consumption and advantages as the two layer and more expensive...I don't say the one layer, as in some public toilets, is not...) is something overhere more from the Sixties on...perhaps in the cities it was earlier?

PS. As I saw your "sand paper" image I thought about cleaning the neck of the toilet when it was "crusted"...not with the hand of course...although I knew some, who did it that way...

Kind regards and as usual with esteem,

Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 23:13

Don't get me started on the outside loo! Running in pyjamas and unlaced shoes across a rain-swept backyard to a small unlit building in the middle of winter while trying to shield the candle flame against the elements. I kid you not. This was my alternative to a chamber pot until early adolescence.
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 23:28

Although I don't remember Santex, I still shudder at the memory of Izal. 

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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 23:30

Oh, you posh cow! Medicated even! I think Santex used anthrax as its antiseptic ingredient.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 23:56

Mustn't forget this one. In our school the sadist would be armed with a leather strap but the modus operandi was exactly the same.

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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Tue 01 Oct 2013, 07:29

We were one up on you Nordman, with our outside loo we had a hurricane lamp I remember running down to the bottom of the garden, but at least the light would work ok, although the neatly cut squares of newspaper did tend to leave printers ink behind so to speak.
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Tue 01 Oct 2013, 10:36

A slight digesseion, I remember one of my teachers telling of some underwear made of parachute silk, where an opening at the buttocks was addorned with the text, "Pull, and count to three" ...
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Tue 01 Oct 2013, 10:51

Suffer though you all did, spare a thought for the  night-cart team. Buckets aloft on shoulders high to slop, slurp tip into the foul brew and clunk the bucket back,  then  chug onto the next set in the dead of night whatever the weather.

In pre war days, my young parents in full evening dress walking back from a town 'do' passed our local night cart where the men were in a fix because it wouldn't go up the hill. My mother less befuddled than my giggling father then noted that it was slipping backwards - and if set on that course headed straight for our place. So dad - driving since he was 12 -  and filled with scotch-confidence got into the cab, got it started and up to the top of the winding hill. He was then arrested by the local beat copper for being hysterically laughing drunk and stealing the night soil cart. The team resolved this issue when they eventually caught up.  Later, my mother  made dad go straight into the back garden to strip wash. The suit had to be put down; no medals were awarded for his valour however  and mercifully it didn't get into the local paper, either.
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Tue 01 Oct 2013, 11:04

My experience of Catholic schools - in England - doesn't seem to be as bad as those of Nordmann and Paul in Ireland.  I can remember a couple of lads being caned by our Irish lay headmistress at primary school because they looked at pictures of footballers during prayers.  Their sin - they were having false gods before God and breaking the first commandment, because during prayer time they should only have been thinking about God.  To the best of my knowledge Catholic schools are not like that nowadays - I hope not anyway.

I was a posh(ish) bird though - we had an inside loo, though I heard stories about the outdoor ones from my parents' generation.

I can remember the switchover from horse-drawn milk-floats and bread-carts to the mechanical ones.  I was very young but I was saddened - you couldn't feed a sugar lump to a milk float, but maybe if the horses were happily (I  hope) retired their teeth were less at risk.
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Tue 01 Oct 2013, 11:23

@Priscilla wrote:
Suffer though you all did, spare a thought for the  night-cart team.
And also maybe say a prayer for the soul of poor Roger the Raker, who in 15th century London, slipped and fell into his privy's cesspit ... "and so did die monstrously in his own shitte".

silent 

EDIT : Although of course a raker was a professional cesspit cleaner who sold the excement he removed as fertilizer, or for the manufacture of saltpeter to make gunpowder. So Roger's demise might not actually have been a tragi-comic domestic accident, but rather a terrible accident at work when he fell into the pit he used to store all the ordure that he'd collected. Either way it cannot have been a nice way to go.
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PostSubject: Re: Goodbye To All That!   Wed 02 Oct 2013, 18:37

What was required was this  

"Clean round the bend" or am I getting this thread confused with PITT?
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