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4:00pm on Monday, 3rd July, 2017:

Bog Blog


At noon today, the navigation officer came over the tannoy and gave our exact latitude and longitude. To provide context, he informed us all that this placed us 140 nautical miles east of the town of Hornsea. As Hornsea is my home town, I had actually heard of it, but (apart from my wife) I don't suppose many other passengers had. Its fame grows...

I mention this (pun incoming) in passing, because of the captain's welcome announcement over the public address system yesterday.

So, when we were queueing to embark yesterday we were given a short note on hygiene to read. It talked about two things: norovirus and the fact we shouldn't flush anything large down the ship's lavatories as they have small pipes. When we got to our cabin, er, stateroom, there were some notes on the bed welcoming us and so forth, one of which told us not to flush anything large down the ship's lavatories. The TV was on, showing a welcome video. It covered several aspects of ship safety, such as where to find our lifejackets, where to look for our mustering point, that we should use alcohol gel to avoid spreading norovirus and that we shouldn't flush anything large down the ship's lavatories.

While we were unpacking, the cleaner came and introduced himself. He told us to leave a card outside our room when we weren't in so he'd know when to make it up, and that we should contact him if we had any problems. He also made sure we knew not to flush anything large down the ship's lavatories.

After he left, the captain came over the public address system. Normally at such times, the captain welcomes the passengers aboard, puts us at our ease, builds excitement about our forthoming journey, mentions some timings so we'll know when we pass the White Cliffs of Dover or whatever and tells us to attend the safety drill at our muster point. This, he did. He also, very insistently, told us not to flush anything large down the ship's lavatories.

At just gone 4pm, the ship's alarm went off and we went to the safety drill. Here, we learned to put on our lifejackets so that in the event of a disaster rescuers would be able to find our bodies easier. As I mentioned yesterday, this was so boring that I dozed off while we were being told not to use the lifts. However, I woke up in time to be instructed in no uncertain terms that I shouldn't flush anything large down the ship's lavatories. That brought new meaning to the term "evacuation procedure".

It was therefore with some trepidation that, once back in our cabin, er, stateroom, I approached the lavatory. There was a red card on it. Written on the card was a final notice saying not to flush anything large down the ship's lavatories. Adjudging that liquid isn't large, I duly took note. I flushed the toilet and —

— nothing happened. I tried again, but nothing happened. It's a vacuum flush like on aeroplanes, so something should have happened, but nothing happened. I tried a few more times, but to no avail.

I left the bathroom and told me wife the toilet hadn't flushed. She looked up, whereupon it flushed. Much as I suspect that my wife does have psychokinetic powers, on this occasion I don't believe she was employing them. I think that there's maybe only a certain amount of vaccuum available in the system, and that when you press the flush what happens is that it's queued up until there's sufficient suction for it to do its job. Either that or it's like at a petrol station forecourt and has to be approved by a human operator ("hmm, they've had six flushes already this afternoon: no more until 8pm").

Today, we haven't had any warnings not to flush anything large down the ship's lavatories. All the passengers are in such a state of fear that there's now no need. I'm wondering if I should seek out a public toilet when the time comes to deposit anything not liquid, so that if it does bung up the system they won't know it was I who caused it without either a DNA test or a forensic examination of the offending matter cross-indexed with last night's orders in the restaurant.

We've also been told not to throw anything into the sea, although they only did that twice and not nearly so threateningly. I'm wondering if they were perhaps trying to plant ideas in our heads...

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).