Pooh !........ and other french specialties......
(The public convenience of Rayol......carefully decorated.....this kept mass-tourism away ..until 2009 when it finally got renovated...)
>The Belgians, so it was said, were to blame for the majority of accidents because of their habit of driving in the middle of the road, forcing the famously prudent French driver into ditches to avoid being "écrasé". The Swiss and the non-camping section of the German population were guilty of monopolising hotels and restaurants and pushing up the property prices. And the English-ah, the English……They were renowned for the frailty of their digestive systems and their preoccupation with drains and plumbing. "They have a talent for diarrhoea", a French friend observed. "If an Englishman hasn't got it, he is looking for somewhere to have it."
There is just enough of a hint of truth in these national insults to sustain their opinion of English sensitivities.
A couple with their small son were having coffee, and the boy indicated his need to go to the lavatory. The father looked up from his two-day-old copy of the Daily Telegraph. "You'd better make sure it's all right," he said to the boy's mother. "Remember what happened in Calais?"
The mother sighed, and made her way dutifully into the gloom at the rear of the café. When she reappeared it was at high speed, and she looked as if she had just eaten a lemon. "It's disgusting. Roger is not to go in there." Roger became immediately interested in exploring a forbidden lavatory. "I've got to go," he said, and played his trump card. "It's number two. I've got to go."
"There isn't even a seat. It's just a hole." "I don't care. I've got to go."
"You'll have to take him," said the mother. "I'm not going in there again." The father folded his newspaper and stood up, with young Roger tugging at his hand. "You'd better take the newspaper, "said the mother. "I'll finish it when I get back." "There is no paper," she hissed. "Ah. Well, Ill try to save the crossword."
The minutes passed, and I was wondering if I could ask the mother exactly what had happened in Calais, when there was a loud exclamation from the back of the café.
It was the emerging Roger, followed by his ashen-faced father holding the remnants of his newspaper. Conversation in the café stopped as Roger gave an account of the expedition at the top of his voice. The "patron" looked at his wife and shrugged. Trust the English to make a spectacle out of a simple visit to the "wa-wa".
The equipment that had caused such consternation to Roger and his parents was a "toilette à la Turque", wich is a swallow porcelain tray with a hole in the middle and foot-rests at each side. It was designed, presumably by a Turkish sanitary engineer, for maximum inconvenience, but the French had added a refinement of their own: a high pressure flushing device of such velocity that unwary users can find themselves soaked from the shins down. There are two ways of avoiding sodden feet: the first is to operate the flushing lever from the safety of dry land in the doorway, but since this requires long arms and the balance of an acrobat, the second option -not to flush at all - is unfortunately much more prevalent. To add to the problem, some establishments install an energy-saving device wich is peculiar to the French. The light with an automatic timer that plunges the occupant into darkness after thirty-eight seconds, thus saving precious electricity and discouraging loiterers.<
From: "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle ( Pan Books ISBN 0-330-33091-8)
Unfortunately you can no longer visit this fine French speciality in Rayol. One of the last specimen, has recently been renovated next to the tourist office.........you must agree, the local authorities did everything to keep mass-tourism out of this area!
...and, who believes that the French have no sense of humor, must have a look at another fine French invention, mailed to us by very French friends, Jacques and Evelyne.
"Il suffait de l'inventer pour les Français!"