The Privy.

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Photo for #FridayFictioneers use only.

The privy, or outside toilet, Mother said, was called this because what happened within was private.

On the nail were neatly cut newspaper squares threaded on white twine. It was used if you were outside playing, or you had an upset tummy. Otherwise, we used the bathroom indoors; with the softest of tissue. The privy was a remnant of a bygone age; put to use by Mum.


You could read the newsprint on my bum and us giggling sisters often tried … until Mum caught us and locked the door. The privy was never to be used again.


73 thoughts on “The Privy.

  1. ah. That takes me back to spending time at my Grannyโ€™s, she had an outdoor privy beside the coal cellar. My sis and I would use it if we were playing out the back

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Though they had long gone officially along with pantry’s and sculeries, people with brick ones scrubbed and whitewashed them and used them so as not to get soil in the house from gardening or just mucky kids. Thanks for reading ome back soon. Happy 2018.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My mom visited England in the 70s and said many homes still had outside potties. She said many of the older generation preferred the outside privy to an inside one, due to it being more of a norm there. Is that true? Our summer cabin still has a privy, but we call it the “Hootie”. It’s deluxe, with two seats, a magazine rack, real TP, and a high tech poo fan that blows the stinky air out. It was an integral part of our summer cabin experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, the sixties there were still many, but by the seventies the only ones left were in privately owned homes where they became store rooms or sheds. Some kept the brick ones for when they were gardening, save the mud being traipsed in the house. But yours sounds quite plush … We’d call one like that the “throne room” hahahaa! Happy new year thanks for popping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am soooo glad that privies are no longer a thing. I mean, cold bottoms are never fun…and they really do seem to be magnets for spiders!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We did have an outside toilet, although it was definitely more a home for the spiders. I remember that there was a plant pot in there on which my dad had written “This is a plant pot and not a pee pot” ๐Ÿ™‚ The outside loo has long since been demolished and is not part of a much more comfortable inside shower room. I wonder where the spiders went, And the plant-pot-not-a-pee-pot.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very nice story, Ellen! I enjoyed picturing the little girls giggling over the words from the newspaper clippings. My parents have a cabin that we visit most weekends in the summer, and the outhouse still stands there. It is always a fascination of the little kids, as the outhouse is now on the verge of becoming extinct. ๐Ÿ™‚ It does get used,however, if we brave the cabin in the winter, as the cabin has no running water this time of year. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Yes, we usually try to make it up once per winter for some cross-country skiing and ice-fishing. That little outhouse may just be used yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. FUNNY!
    I named the group, Friday Fictioneers six years ago! I stopped when my ideas started “reappearing” in other posts. Having two casts of characters in my head proved too noisy when writing novels too. I do miss the exercise.
    I remember Russell! Is he running it now?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This was a fun piece, My gramma has an outhouse, the old wooden kind in her yard for the same reasons, so this definitely brought on a case of nostalgia. ” My house should only smell like cookies and blackberry jam.” Thank you for this bitesized read โ™ฅSin

    Liked by 2 people

      1. me too!!!!! ok ok mine typically does beacuase im forever baking something or making candles, atleast it gets rid of the icky teenage funk my younger brother produces.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Ehhhh… you had a privy? That were luxury…. (See ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ Sketch..)
    Wouldn’t it be perfect if the headline was about the Cheeky Girls on the papers that day?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. An interesting read and well made in 100 words and less – gosh, so easy to forget how life used to be… makes you remember not to take everything for granted and be thankful! Sim x

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This made me laugh. Thereโ€™s still a privy or two about and in use. I think most people bring the nice loo roll outside now too lol. My nana has one still and itโ€™s used in the summer when everyone plays outside. My husbands family have one too.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. As a teenager living on my grandparent’s farm, we had an “outhouse” of “thunderbox” We did have regular toilet paper, but often the farm animals would wander in, and reading material consisted of old copies of the Reader’s Digest. Great short stories!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I got a chuckle out it too. Sears & Roebuck catalog was an outhouse standby here. I was always picky about which ones I tore out and tried to save the sporting goods section for reading material while doing my business.

    Liked by 2 people

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