At the farm we have two milk-crate toilets. For those not in the know, that’s a milk crate with a hole cut out of the top and a toilet seat attached, so that even though you have to dig a hole in the bush to go, you don’t have to squat. We have two so that when other people are here with us they can have their own private (or small group) toilet. I mean, you can’t share a toilet with those outside your family group, you might get germs.
And now, he’s building the Taj Mahal of country dunnies at the farm, complete with flush. And no – we’re still not connected to town water, the cistern will have its own two x 200 litre water tanks connected.
I did try to convince him to install a drop toilet, but he said they stink too much, and his poo obsession means he doesn’t want to talk about it, see it or smell it. I don’t think he ever changed a nappy for any of his kids.
Doc’s made a lot of improvements to the comfort of the farmhouse, but he hasn’t installed a toilet. He’s talked about it a lot, mainly in connection with the view it would have if he ever did it, but it’s never really been a priority.
But finally, after all these years, he bit the bullet and decided to install a toilet, our own ‘country dunny’. He keeps telling me it’s for my comfort, but I think his knees are just giving out on him and he doesn’t like squatting any more – even on a milk crate.
Or maybe he’s sick of digging holes for me. I don’t like digging. It’s a bit like sawing, I just can’t get the hang of it. I’m sure I was ok with a bucket & spade when I was a kid, but now unless I’m digging in sand I can’t seem to get below about 6”. So Doc would often come with me to dig the hole, then leave again while I did my business. The things you do for love!!!
Still, you can’t rush these things. The dunny has been taking shape over a few visits.
First, quite a few months ago now, he dug a trench and laid the pipes. The trench stretched out to a big pit way over in the paddock to the side of the house. He borrowed the tractor do to that and had a great time moving dirt around.
Then putting up the shed became a priority and the toilet just sat there. Literally. There’d been a ceramic toilet sitting out the back of the house since before I started coming down 4 years ago, and when the pipes were laid it got moved to where it would eventually be installed. So we had a toilet and the pipe to which it would eventually be connected just sitting there on the dirt looking rather forlorn.
Last time we were here things got back on track and he laid the slab at the back of the shed. Before we came this time we made a trip to Bunnings to get the timber for the frame and slabs for the walls. This involved lots of talking with the blokes at Bunnings about screws –v- nails, timber size, and other stuff that I didn’t listen to. I heard the word ‘studs’ and something about the merits of smooth or ribbed, but it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be.
Now, despite all his bloke skills Doc isn’t a builder, and he hates working in wood, but he also doesn’t do anything by halves. So far it’s taken more time to put up our ‘country dunny’ than the Amish take to raise a whole barn, or a two storey house. And it’s been accompanied by a lot of measuring and writing numbers on bits of wood, swearing, and more use of a spirit level than I’ve ever seen. But now that it’s up our dunny will withstand a cyclone. Not that we get cyclones out here, but if we did, we’re ready for it. The house might blow down, but we could take refuge in the dunny, when we get the roof on it that is.
But the toilet is connected to the pipes, so even without the roof it’s useable. If it starts raining I’ll just take an umbrella. And a bucket of water in lieu of the cistern. I’m sure those things will be finished eventually.
And to make it a real country dunny, I’m going to grow a choko vine over it.