Friday, 15 March 2013
Wet knickers and Monty Python
The above, dear reader, is a Female Bottle. It's called that because of the distinctive shape of the spout, which fits over a woman's nether parts so that she can pee into the bottle if she needs to.
The way women are constructed, you have to bare your bottom and squat behind a bush if you are far away from a proper loo - out on a country ramble, say. And apart from the problem of finding a bush that will make you invisible to prying eyes, and the occasional difficulty of shooing away inquisitive animals, or finding you're hovering over a wasps' nest, this can be a serious physical feat if the ground is uneven or sloping or slippery, or your leg muscles aren't used to squatting for long.
And that bare-bottom business is a decidedly chilly ordeal when it's a breezy winter afternoon, and there's still snow on the ground. Add to all that the facts that a woman can't aim her pee, can't really see what she's doing, and can easily spray herself if she's not careful, and you can understand why women like to carry tissues to mop up with, which the more environmentally-conscious then need time to poke well into the ground. It's not surprising that some women, if they can, try desperately to hold it all in till they reach a civilised place to relieve themselves.
I don't suppose there are many women under sixty who would feel seriously inhibited about dropping back and disappearing into a bush if they had to, but notions of modesty die hard, and in mixed company I for one would certainly hesitate to do it. Men can be embarrassed much the same, but young bloods and bluff types just unzip and do their business against a tree, and it's all over inside half a minute, and very likely nobody will notice or care. But a woman might have layer upon layer of clothing to hoick up, or pull down, and then afterwards tuck in and rearrange, and it's not possible to do it in a flash, and without drawing attention to oneself.
Believe me, men have it easy.
Well, yesterday I went for a South Downs walk by myself. It was a sunny but cold day, with plenty of deep snow still lying in sheltered spots. So I wore my Dubarry boots for grip and style:
I have to say yet again, these boots amaze me. They are waterproof and warm, and clean up so easily. I also had my trusty hazel stick with me, as a 'third leg' - and in the slushy or muddy spots, it saved me falling over many a time. (Quite apart from its possible utility in holding off attacking men, or raging bulls, or lions)
The photo makes my stick look very substantial, but really it's not much more than a twig.
So long as I kept moving, I stayed cosy. But it was really slippery underfoot, and slow going, and I knew that I'd be caught short long before I got home again. In fact I needed to have a pee only twenty minutes into my walk. Fortunately (a) nobody was in sight, so I could dive into a wood without going through some pantomime to suggest that I was Britain's Wildlife Expert, and had just spotted a lemur or octopus rarely seen on these Sussex uplands; and (b) I had with me, in my trusty rucksack, that green Female Bottle.
I'd bought that bottle from Boots two years ago, and I'd been keeping it in Fiona's boot, just in case. But hitherto I'd always found a proper public loo. Or else it was simply easier and less fuss to hop over a drystone wall, as found on the High Pennines, and squat there - although the parked Fiona always gave away the fact that Someone Was Having A Pee On The Other Side Of The Wall as clearly as if I'd stuck a notice in the ground saying 'This way for a great view of Lucy's bottom'. Although I'd make sure that the likelihood of anyone coming along was highly remote. On the particular Pennine occasion I have in mind, I'd parked high up on the wild and desolate moorland road that connects Dent and Garsdale railway stations in Cumbria, a real Road To Nowhere, and it was close on sunset and getting dim. I'm glad to report that no sex-crazed men came along, nor any hill farmers with sharp-toothed sheepdogs; nor was I menaced by stags, or eagles, and no helicopters with searchlights and loudspeakers hovered.
Back to the bottle. Now because I was wearing my Dubarry boots, which come up to my knees, I wouldn't be able to haul my jeggings and knickers down very far, which meant that they would prevent me squatting with my feet planted wide apart. But there was enough space to get the bottle into position, more-or-less standing up. This I did, and started to fill the bottle. But the next thing I knew, there was pee all over my knickers and jeggings. Damn! The only way I could continue was to squat right down.
After mopping up, pulling on my somewhat damp garments, emptying the bottle, wiping it with snow, and popping it inside a plastic bag in my rucksack, I pondered the disaster. I think that not having my legs wide apart meant that the golden fluid couldn't jet, but merely dribbled, and some of it dribbled over the lip of the spout and onto my garments not far below. Proper squatting got these garments out of the way, and let all the dribble run into the bottle. So using a bottle was not a completely duff idea, it just needed the right technique. Although frankly it was more trouble than it was worth.
It was hard to continue in style with wet knickers. But these things happen, and I wasn't going to let it spoil my walk. (Obviously, once back in Fiona, I sat on a blanket, and everything went into the wash)
I mention all this at length, just in case you have been toying with using a bottle when out in the sticks. I know you can get a special plastic contrivance or device that is supposed to equip a woman with a 'penis' for peeing through, and give her a man's ability to do it standing up (and presumably whistling), but on this showing I have my doubts. I'm going back to squatting properly, and just hope for decent bushes or drystone walls when I need them.
The walk itself was good, but at the most outward part all I could do was a loop around a field, and then return the same way I had come. This was because the intended return path was knee-deep or more in snow:
Ooh, that's a bit too deep. You couldn't walk through that. Suppose a leg snapped off? That would slow me down. And if both legs went, I'd be in real difficulty. So I did the sensible thing, and backtracked. It was a good walk all the same, and justified a hearty meal once home again!
All this discussion of urinatory matters brings to mind a scene from Monty Python's Flying Circus on TV. A scene I remembered only from the phrase 'The King is like a bat's piss'. This was the actual script: see http://www.phespirit.info/montypython/oscar_wilde.htm.
I think that's quite enough on the entire subject, don't you?