27 July 2001

Sanctuary

An article by

Tom Montgomery,

"The Outdoor Privy" (Farmlife, June 8) moved a Somerset reader to verse:

I must go down to the Loo again, to that old fashioned countryside Loo.

It came furnished complete with a nice wide elm seat, designed to accommodate two.

With an old Daily Mail hanging limp on its nail, and the door opened wide for the view

And a dose of aperients to aid the experience – I simply must go to the Loo!

I must go down to the Loo again, with that old crescent moon in the door

To assist observation, and through ventilation of what someone left there before.

To perform ones ablutions in these institutions is character building, its true;

Ones attitudes harden as one strolls down the garden to do what a mans got to do!

I must go down to the Loo again, down that long, winding, slippery path

Where the rich, spicy fragrance discourages vagrants, and the chill nearly cuts you in half.

As you muse on that seat, with your pants round your feet and wait for the trains to come through

To obey calls of nature "Aux toillettes champetres" you need to dress warm in the Loo!

I must go down to the Loo again, for 10 minutes respite from toil

And the old "low tech" bucket – if youve somewhere to chuck it – is wonderful good for the soil.

You may daily give thanks to Armitage Shanks (as a lot of you city folks do)

But you cant grow clematis, or early potatoes like us, whove an earth closet Loo.

Its lovely to be in this Loo again, although in my 97th year.

Its very rewarding surveying the garden, and waiting for things to appear.

Ive cherished this Loo since Nineteen Oh Two and I know that its no use complaining,

But – the whitewash is flaking, and my hands wont stop

shaking,

Ill be glad when they put the main drain in!

George Withers