Wednesday, April 08, 2009

LPoD - UK toilets

Okay, this is not really a learning point for me. Consider this a public service post.

Apologies for the return to the Jeff Dunham theme, but last night he revealed that he was perplexed by English toilets. It was rather reminiscent of that moment in Demolition Man, when Sylvester Stallone, aka John Spartan questions the 'three seashells' which have replaced the toilet paper of his own day.

So, because I have no qualms about discussing such matters, just in case any other Americans (ahem, Mrs Vicki) are planning to make the trip across the pond, I thought I'd give you a heads up.

In the UK, all newer toilets in private homes and public loos (erm... bathrooms - have never understood why they're called that when there is no bath), are fitted with a two-button flush device instead of a single handle, or hand wave sensor thingy (how I hate those - they always go off and the most inconvenient moments!). This is a requirement. I'm not sure at quite what level this requirement has been set, but if you stay in a hotel or visit a public convenience, you will almost certainly be faced with this mystery.

One button will always be larger than the other. The large button will result in a full flush, emptying the entire cistern. The smaller one is one you have to hold down for as long as necessary for each occasion. A user-controlled flush, if you like.

I leave it to you to figure out when you might need to use which. I realise there are limits to what you would be comfortable reading here.

The reason for this is that it saves water. Europe is far more focused on environmental issues than many American citizens are accustomed to, it seems to me (no offence, or anything).

As I'm writing this, I can think of all sorts of learning design analogies, but I guess that might be pushing your tolerance too far, as well, so we'll leave it there, shall we?


Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

They use toilets like that in California and saw some in Qatar also, they make a lot of sense.

I went "across the pond" around 1998, but don't remember as I was such a youngster then! ;-)

V Yonkers said...

This reminds me of my first overseas experience as an exchange student in Holland. My host family in Holland still talk about my first evening, having arrived after 4 airplane changes 24 hours after leaving home. Needless to say, I was tired and needed to use the bathroom (btw, in the US, there are tubs or showers in most of the bathrooms).

Almost half an hour later, there was a knock on the door, my family afraid something was seriously wrong. What was wrong was that I didn't know how to flush the toilet (which was a pipe that you pulled that went along the toilet). I spent alost half an hour trying to figure out the toilet, but still had to ask for instructions in the end! They were relieved that that was the only problem I had.

Now at least I will prepared if I visit Europe any time soon. Thanks for the lesson.