Before we go upstairs would you like to come outside again with me? Actually, I’d never have asked that back in the days when grandma lived on the farm but today let’s go out of the side door of the house, across the courtyard, turn left straight after the arch and along the garden path. I am inviting you to go to the privy.
Whenever a few of grandma’s descendants meet the conversation will eventually turn to that privy, or, more accurately, those privies. You see, it was quite a friendly set up, rather like the one in the photo which is not actually of the privy I knew so well. It was a two seater, intended for two very good friends I feel. Actually only one side was “charged” (ie in use) at a time. It was in a small brick-built shed facing down the garden but shielded by an evergreen hedge. I can never remember closing the door when I was in the privy but I certainly learned to sing loudly!
Each week the “dilly cart” would call at the farm to empty all the privies. (There were four dwellings in the farmyard and a further four on the farm.) I have not found this usage of the term outside Lincolnshire but a “dilly cart” was the local description of a night soil lorry. We always made sure we were well out of the way for a while after it had been as the pong could be a bit powerful.
Some comments suggest that I am giving the impression that my grandparents were quite grand. They were not and although I loved going to visit or stay with them I would not want their house or their lifestyle for all the tea in China!