-It makes more sense than a couple of other things.

Mad Aunt Bernards Tortoise Poetry

"The page to come and visit for a fabulously sensible intake of poetry straight from the divinest of inspiration - and it's only a bit tortoisy. A cracking good read if you're under anaesthetic."
Lord Elpus - The Guardian

Tuesday, August 10

The Portaloo Question?

I've been re-enacting now for three years, and I have a question that buzzes around my dried kernel of a brain....Why are there thousands of portaloos for construction workers/festival goers/people on mountaintops, but two for around fifty re-enactors?

We folk of the quirky nature that like dressing up as people from the days of yore are no more hardy than the rest of you. I may have knelt in a cowpat for my art at Langport last year but I do like comforts and in plentiful supply.


The act of 'a nip to the loo'
Should be a simple old task.
Quick in, quick out and "that's better"
Isn't a great deal to ask.

But folk who dress up in old clobber,
To act and play dead and make bangs,
Find the whole thing so traumatic
They tackle the loos in big gangs.

What about ladies in finery?
All feathered and ticketty-boo?
You arrrange every hem
To keep out of the way,
Yet the chemical dye turns it blue.

Consider the knight of the realm,
How does he cope with the drama?
How does he hold up his chainmail
And avoid accidents in his armour?

Then there's the wretching old hags,
All wood teeth, scabs and straw hair.
These crones are very germ conscious,
And normally hover mid-air.

But what of the trail-hardened cowboy -
Used to squatting in various places?
He hates portaloos when he sits,
Then remembers he's still wearing braces.

Named by the Romans 'Shitus Uncomfus',
By the Greeks 'Craponica Restraina'
They're famous world-over for misery,
By the re-enacting, regular complainer.

Could they be bigger? Or wider?
Hooped undies held up with a hook?
Or room to take off bits of armour,
Drink tea, surf the net, read a book?

Alas they were designed for us skirmishers,
To fit the average grown knight.
That is, in 1500 or thereabouts,
When 4'9" was the average height.

Ok chaps and kitties, I've been off for an awful long time. Truth is, i've bumped into one too many numpties this past month, and far from being the lovable Mad Aunt B, I've turned into an Aunt Vom replica. Most worrying, although much fun until you get arrested by East Sussex cozzers for interfering with the fence at Monkey World.
I'll be back to my normal self soon, Mrs Coddy is looking after the toads, and Aunt Bench is making me plenty of hessian biscuits and snibble cake to see me through.

(If you want the recipe for Snibble Cake it can be found here. Do not bake if you are allergic to any of the following: Snibble or Cake. It also has traces of Pyrodex and swarfega)


  1. We've missed you, Mad Aunt Bernard! Armour accidents can be very bad--perhaps the portaloos need a can opener on the wall.

  2. Such a pleasure whenever you leave us one of these fine gifts.
    Going to the loo whilst camping in full regalia at SCA Wars in California is certainly an experience. The thing there is now the organizers insist on having a great many of the gigantic handicapped person sized portaloos delivered. You can get a whole family in one of those, or at least your armor and broadsword.

  3. Great to have you back Auntie. Love the poem especially the Greek and Roman references. You should get in touch with NanU and rent a couple of those superloos she mentions. Just off to check on the ingredients for Snibble Cake.

  4. You have been sorely missed (ouch)

  5. Portaloo for pee and poo but only two for all you? What a stinker!

  6. Portable loo for a poo and a pee 14,000 just for me :)

  7. Great this internet, for venting stress, quite a useful commodity (pardon the pun).
    Many thanks for your kind comments, with relief, the portaloo re-enacting season is over. No more will I be hunching over, gathering hems, thwacking braces and banging elbows. Portaloos are wonderful things if you leave your knees outside. Contrafibularities, Mab x

  8. Where have you BEEN, Auntie? We've missed you! Love the poem! But let me explain, the WHOLE point of the portaloo is ENTERTAINMENT. Not only can this be verified by any poor sod that's had to use one, but I can tell you that after paying to hire 4 of the buggers for the wedding reception, Jamie was thrilled to find that the kids and their cousins were never far away from their new 'Tardis' (or should that be Turdis). However, we didn't actually see any of the guests use them!