By: Blonde Two

Well Blondees and Blondettes, the Two Blondes have survived another Ten Tors weekend.  We sent eighteen fine youngsters out and counted them back in, a few sad faces, most really happy.  I will tell you more about it tomorrow (to be honest, you will probably be bored of Ten Tors by the time I have come back down to earth).

You might have noticed by now that I talk a fair amount about the trials and tribulations of going to the loo up on Dartmoor.  Living at Ten Tors Base Camp for a couple of days brings a whole new lavatorial challenge – the Portaloo.

The Portaloo is a necessary contraption but takes a bit of getting used to.  Don’t even consider entering one if you are claustrophobic – once the door is shut, you have to sit down because your face is nearly touching the door.  I had one panicky moment this year when the digger that had been parked outside started up and I sat there imagining that it was about to lift my cubicle with me in it – in my head, I was going to imerge with my trousers down covered in blue liquid.

Little Miss Blonde One was with us this weekend, it was nice to be “Three Blondes” for a change.  She is a lot like Blonde One and they clearly share a sense of good fortune as yesterday morning, she came back to the tent very excited because she had just found a newly cleaned Portaloo.  You can appreciate from this comment that a clean Portaloo is a very rare creature.  At best there is usually no loo roll, lots of soap and no water – at worst, well it would be beyond my sensibilities to describe that but you can imagine!

As for most tricky life experiences that we face, the Two Blondes have “a system” for managing these rather dodgy contraptions:

1.  Get up before everyone else – the man (obviously a man) who makes decisions on how many Portaloos are needed per muddy field has obviously forgotten that we girls all like to go at the same time.

2.  Chat to people in the queue – this helps you to forget the horrid experience that you are about to have.  Conversations can be started with the sentence “There is nothing that I like better than a blue smelly loo at 4.30 on a Saturday morning.”

3.  Never, ever, ever leave the tent without a handful of loo roll in your pocket.  You never know when or where the next loo stop will be but you can be almost sure that there won’t be any toilet paper when you get there.  This phenomena could well be the result of “tissue hoarding” but do it anyway!

4.  Look at people’s faces as they come out of the Portaloos.  This will tell you which ones to avoid for yourself.  If someone is clutching their tummy and grimacing, stay well clear – small space, big smell – need I say more?

5.  Check out which ones are wobbly – on a windy day, there is nothing more disconcerting than being rocked around mid flow.  We saw some that had blown over in Thursday’s terrible wind conditions – can you imagine the horror!

6.  Watch out for the cleaning truck and learn the cleaning times.  if you are alert and lucky enough, might the pleasure of a clean, paper full, water supplied Portaloo like Little Miss Blonde One did.

I hope you never have to rely on Portaloos – a bush on Dartmoor is a far preferable experience.  But if you do, keep smiling, at least you know that no-one can see you.