A toilet seat, my Kingdom for…

King Richard III though he has turned up in a car park in Leicester didn’t say that but an English girl  in Milan did when asked what she missed about England and hadn’t found here in Italy. Well not the Kingdom bit but she was bemoaning the fact that most Italian restaurants and bars seemed to remove this important part of a toilet ( restroom) or loo as we Brits say.

I am amazed that it is the same  up in the north as it is down here and whilst for obvious reasons it is far worse that the Ladies loos should be without them let me just add that the gents are equally as lacking. She goes on to say she has been to Italian houses which are also missing the required article but I have never seen that. What is more amazing is that she says she doesn’t want to talk about the number of ” Turkish Bathrooms” that she meets on opening the door of the loo in many places up north ( click on it to see one).

I’m not sure why they take this away or whether they buy them for restaurants etc without them. Down here one suspects there is a black market for them and ships are leaving Brindisi nightly loaded with toilet seats for some far off dictatorship. But surely not up in posh Milan.

I know childish but I couldn’t resist it !

We probably don’t want to belabour this topic  but let me just add that Italian men don’t seem to lift seats if there are seats attached. Maybe it is something Mamma did for them or if there are no plastic gloves in the loo like they have in Petrol Stations for the guys to keep the smell of petrol off their hands then they won’t lift but it is grim believe me. There is no Italian word for toilet seat so maybe that’s a clue and there is no seat on a bidet so that’s another. I asked Geraldine about missing seats and she said years of me taking her to the cheapest bars around the world had taught her to be grateful just for a door let alone a lock but did then add the missing seat was far better then the normally missing loo paper in most Puglian loos.

A place I was amazed to find lacked them was restaurants and loos in the USA . My first visit there was when working for P&O Orient Lines  on the old Orcades


We sailed into San  Francisco and hit the first nice bar on Market Street went to the loo and found no seats and doors that seem to have been cut in half. It was a big surprise.

I see this morning that a group of businessmen are to start a regular passenger service between Southampton and Sydney. They are building two ships of 70,000 tons ( poor Orcades was just 19,000 tons) and the trip will take 25 days via Suez, Dubai, Bombay, Singapore and then Fremantle the port for Perth.  All outside cabins and prices starting at £2,995 one way. The ships say the blurb will recreate the style of the old passenger ships on the route. Not sure many of our passengers on F Deck in 6 berth inside cabins would quite describe it like that. The Burma road F deck was known as, because the heat from the engine room made the bulkheads ( walls) too hot to touch. Mind you one lovely old lady from F deck told me at dinner one evening that her daughter had told her P&O would look after everything and she confided they have. ” I have to shake my medicine when I am at home but on this ship I just put it on my bedside table for a minute and it shakes itself ” !

I wonder if the new ships will have the same send off from Australia that we had every voyage. This was Orcades leaving Fremantle for Durban in 1968


They took sailings seriously in those days. Sydney used to have bands playing and thousands of streamers linking the ship to the shore which slowly parted as the ship moved away from the quay as did Fremantle on a much smaller scale.


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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4 Responses to A toilet seat, my Kingdom for…

  1. richard houghton says:

    Helen Hedges informed my wife about this and she has found it to be true. Of course my wife didn’t help when she collapsed the loo at Billy Bunters pad when last we met !!

    • hereinpuglia says:

      Billy has been looking for the culprit. He is here tonight bringing me a sink for the outside kitchen which is at the drawing board stage of development.He found this one in the woods behind his house where someone had hidden his broken toilet seat !?

  2. Rp says:

    Mike, I can add another dimension to the Italian toilet seat conspiracy. When we met in Latiano the other day I mentioned that I had just built a new house in the UK. Well part of the house was a rather fancy Italian bathroom suite. The toilet did in fact come with a seat and lid but unfortunately we chose it from a catalogue, so there was mo try before you buy. I had my suspicions that it was style over function as it was shaped like a keyhole but SWMBO insisted that we should have it. Well, using the seat, I have to say is the most uncomfortable experience imaginable BUT the solution is to lift the seat and petch ones bot directly on the porcelain which is remarkably comfortable. So the blighters hav managed to design out the necessity of a seat but for the stupid foreigner AKA me, still squeeze an extra couple of hundred euros out of me for a totally useless seat!

    • hereinpuglia says:

      Yes we have a keyhole one too which kind of moves about so you must sit very still.So I have now tried your system and yes it is better though I’m not looking forward to winter visits to the little room.Do italians make loo heaters ? Thinking about it those bidets when not sock washing in them must be pretty cold to the touch of sensitive parts too.

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