more on bidets

September 27, 2006

The first year I lived in France I rented a room in a flat that had no bathroom. My landlady washed in her bedroom using a large jug which she periodically filled with hot water from the kitchen. I washed in my bedroom, using a large jug which she periodically filled with cold water from the kitchen. Not a bidet in sight. If I needed to obey a call of nature, I scrambled onto the balcony and into a box shaped like a phone kiosk designed for midgets. On completion, you pulled a lever which, on a good day, made an opening through which  whatever you had deposited trundled noisily down the ageing pipes. This was, mind you, a long time ago, shortly, I imagine, after the invention of perfume. Doubtless nowadays the French are amongst  the most thoroughly washed nations on the globe.

When I left, my landlady sent me a postcard on which she had written ‘partir, c’est mourir un peu.’ I sent her one on which I wrote ‘mourir, c’est partir beaucoup.’

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