- 5/2/2013 <--Prev : Next-->
Goodness me, it was the smell of the PK in a friend's house recently that took me back to my childhood !!
How well I remembered that smell ! it was Jays fluid, yes, it was unmistakably Jays.
A PK by the way is an affectionate and very old fashioned term for a Zimbabwean loo/ washroom/closet/privvy/lavatory - a PK is a Picanny Kia !!!
There were none of those lavender, vanilla or citrus fragrances in the olden day comfort- stations, nothing quite as genteel as that - there was only the harsh carbolic smell of Jays, a smell that fair singed the hair from one's nostrils.
When I was a whippersnapper, we would frequently visit my Aunty Poppy in her "Paper House" in Que Que as it was known in the olden days, now of course Kwe Kwe.
Aunty Poppy lived on a hill on the top of a gold mine - Gaika Mine - and visiting her was partly thrilling, partly terrifying.
Aunty Poppy and Uncle George's house arrived in a box from the UK, it was made from corrugated cardboard which was later plastered with some light material. It had a meshed-in veranda running the entire way around the house, a tin roof and an outside privy !!
It was like the Hammer House of Horrors, no doubt haunted by the ghosts of many a dead gold miner, and the garden was taboo. The reason being that the entire hill upon which the house was perched, was a honeycomb of treacherous tunnels and mining excavations.
The only person who could ever go in the garden, was the cook Tom, who would step gingerly on specified stepping stones to his quarters every night.
Gavin and I would play on the "stoep" or veranda as it was called, amongst the Burmese teak Morris chairs and ornate carved Indian tables, and indulge in horrific fantasies about the thirty foot long python that lived under the paper house. A story told by all the aunts and uncles, to keep us from venturing into the garden.......
Aunty Poppy had given up owning any pets, or indeed employing any gardeners, as they all eventually came to a sticky end in that Gaika Garden.
Now the fridge was an elaborate little metal cupboard on a stand, surrounded by mesh to keep out the flies, with cool water dripping down the wall at the back and it was the sum total of refrigeration in those areas where electrification had not yet reached.
And the privy - well that was our inescapable nemesis. Gavin and I would dread even the thought of drinking Aunty Poppys lemonade, or eating her delicious gingerbread, because it would inevitably lead to a visit to the PK.
Yes it was indeed a "long drop", an ""outhouse", a PK with a wooden seat..........
A night time visit to a longdrop, in the backwoods areas without power, was indeed untold torture to two city bred children, used to running water, flushing loos and electricity !!
For all the wrong reasons, snakes love longdrops, frogs too love longdrops, flies love longdrops, and for all the above reasons, little children hate long drops........
We never did enquire into the intricacies of just how any form of hygiene was maintained in this hideous little room, but one thing was certain, very few germs could ever deal with that pungent, putrid, olfactory nightmare that emanated from the Jays fluid that was liberally and regularly distributed around the PK.
Now as if the acrid fumes were not bad enough there was that toilet paper! It was not in a roll as we know it today, there were loose leaf single sheets in a small square cardboard box !! They looked flimsy and absorbent, but they were instead rather akin to sand paper crossed with tracing paper, as absorbent as a plank of wood and just as kind to the derrierre !!
If my memory serves me right I understood them to be a Jays product as well !! (Please forgive me if Jays is still in existence !)
I believe there is a toilet paper museum in the USA - 'Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue' where there is a very patriotic toilet paper with the slogan
"Patriotic Americans use Victory Toilet Paper"
"One sheet a day keeps the axis away"
I must possibly visit it one day and see if they have those ugly little boxes of single sheet Jays toilet paper designed to torture even the most robust of buttocks.