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» Shit Stories: Part Number Two

places I've pooed
I'm a lucky girl. When I was in sixth form, my school (a rather nice one in Guildford) decided to raise the stakes for school-trip one-upmanship and take a few of us to Tibet for sight-seeing, hiking and fun.

Current affairs side-track: I've *seen* how Tibetans live. When people say the Chinese are nice to them and we should all leave them to it, they can fuck right off. Destroyed monastaries litter the country-side and the people live in absolute oppression. It's dreadful.

back to the point....

This trip afforded some amazing toilet experiences. So much so, that at the presentation we did on our return, I was made to speak for 15 minutes about the different lavs we'd seen, and attempted to use.

My favourite by far, was the al-fresco shitting.

In remote parts of Tibet, they don't exactly have access to sewage systems. They have to find alternatives. There are advantages to their locale though. The high altitude means flys are rare and the air is dry. Perfect conditions for storing poo. So that's what they do.

When they build a house, they have a room with no doors or windows and a lower roof than the rest of the house, so it can be accessed easily from the upper floor. They cut a couple of holes in the top and hey presto! Loo! They don't bother with a roof over it, but they do build a low wall to stop you falling off in excitement.

When the room's full, they fill in the hole and build another one. I think then after a few years they've got a room's worth of fertilizer, but I'm not sure.

We were fortunate enough to stay in one of these houses for a couple of nights while visiting Everest base camp.

Nothing will ever compare to the experience of leaving my bed in the night, fitting my head torch and heading out to the roof. Concentrating only on balance and aim, as I squatted precariously over the hole, I bared my shining white arse to hundreds of miles of the pointiest mountains in the world. A humbling experience if ever there was one.

if I get clicks I'll tell you the tale of the trough.
(Sat 29th Mar 2008, 16:20, More)

» My most treasured possession

not a fire
but I lost a lot of stuff in a flood nearly 2 years ago.

Now I know exactly what I'd save should similar occur again. My photographs.

Would you like the story? Oh yes, you know you would.

though bloody hell this has ended up long!

It was way back at the end of my degree. Ah yes, those fine halcyon days when I didn't have to be ground-breaking, I just had to do exams. *sigh* It's so much easier to motivate yourself into doing "hard sums" when you've got an exam to do. Fucking research. *grumble grumble*

yes, you may have noticed that I'm riting this in office hours. In order to hide my slacking, I'm currently typing in WinEdt, so it looks like I'm doing work. If a few LaTex ommands creep in, that's why.

er... where was I?

Ah yes.

So, the scene: I'm about to finish and get hucked out of my house. I'm also going to move o Nottingham to do more physics (or pretend to) in September. In between are 2 months of living with the parentals and 2 siblings.

Now, the house my boyfriend and I had lined up or Nottingham (for he too is an uber-geek, albeit of the more mathsy variety) was quite large, with a garage. There's a reason we need 3 bedroom house with pleanty of garage/shed type storage. We have a lot of stuff. I in particular have material possessions enough to make even the most prolific shopaholic blush.

I'd like to point out at this juncture, that it's my hobbies that cause this: I'm big on music, so have many many cds; I like sewing, so have a sewing machine and several large boxes of fabric; similarly, I like to knit so have boxes of yarn; to top it all, I play the sodding tuba (or rather *can* play the tuba. I don't do it very often these days). This is of course, ignoring the many boxes of books. They don't count. Books are a necessity.

I inherited this tendency to accumulate things from my parents. Their house is full of junk collected over the years. I really mean full too. You know those TV shows about crazy people who haven't put anything in the bin for 8 years? Full like that. There was no way I was getting me and all my stuff into their house, even if it was only for 2 months.

Clearly something had to be done. So I found a self-storage place in Coventry (I went to Warwick uni, so yes, I've lived in Coventry. Some days I miss it.). Plan was to put things I wouldn't need over Summer in there then pick it all up en route when moving to Nottingham. Nifty hey?

Well, I thought so at the time.

I carefully sorted my stuff out: Would I need my dictionary? No. My parents have one. Would I need my washing machine? No. Would I need my evening dress? Hell no. Would I need my lecture notes? God, I hope not. You get the idea.

So, I pinched the parents' volvo for a weekend and moved all my stuff around. I filled in the form saying I wanted the place for 2 months (though only paid for the first month straight up). Then I ticked the best box in the world. The box that said: "Yes" in response to the question "would you like insurance?".
Second point to make: if you need/have contents insurance, check it now. Really *think* about how much you need. Your stuff is worth more than you think. Take the time and do some sums. If you're a prolific purchaser of DVDs, count them and multiply by 10. That's what they should be insured for. It's a pain the arse, but if you're under-insured and need to make a claim, they really screw you over.

I left my stuff secured by padlock and went my merry way back to Surrey, whence I proceeded to mark foundation level maths GCSE (soul-destroying) to earn some quids.

Amazingly, I've forgotten the date, but after a while, I got a letter saying there had been a flood. An epic flood. 3ft of muddy water from Coventry canal had entered the storage unit. It was the first time on record that the area in question had been flooded, so the water had really gone all out to make up for poor performances in the past.

Needless to say, I leapt in the volvo and hot-footed my way up there to see how bad it was.

It was bad. Up to the 3ft level, everything was covered in brown sludge. I'd purchased cardboard boxes for the storage, and man, I'm glad I did. They were bastard big things, made of corrugated cardboard so fucking strong, and almost exactly the same height as the water level. So luckily, only the lower boxes were trashed. And my washing machine.

I was slightly sad as I lobbed my evening-gown in the skip set up outside. My love of books caused some minor pain as I hurled my dictionary, and my complete collection of inspector morse books. I almost felt some pleasure at chucking out a large pile of cuddly toys, which I'd never quite had the guts to chuck out before. I laughed with glee as I flung my old computer away and enjoyed the pleasing crash it made into the skip. I breathed a sigh of relief at seeing my lecture notes undamaged and I was thankful that crockery can be cleaned easily, but in general it was fairly amusing just throwing things away, which I knew could be replaced.

Then I noticed something which made my stomach heave. My shoebox of photos was in there. And the negatives. I had to sit down and I sobbed for several minutes. See, photos don't do well in water. The picture literally washes off. My memories were trashed. Images of people I've known and might never see again, lost forever. Wonderful photos of wonderful places I've been (and I've been to a few wonderful places) gone forever.

I was inconsolable

Until I realised something. Not all my pictures were there.

A year previously I'd decided to buy a fookin' huge photo album for my favourite pictures, and this I'd felt was too precious to put in storage. Similarly, my photos from Tibet were in my box of "things from Tibet" and also had not been stored. The box of stick ex-photos didn't need to be worried about, these were pictures I simply didn't care too much about.

I can't remember a time I've felt that relieved.

Since then I've actually remained woefully lax about photo storage, but remembering this has made me want to sort that out, so a few hours will be given this weekend to backing up my digital photos and putting the discs somewhere safe. No way I'm going through that again.

Also, any self-storage place I use in future will have to be on high ground.

Length: about 6 inches, bright purple and made of silicone.
(Fri 9th May 2008, 15:00, More)

» How nerdy are you?

I feel remarkably un-nerdy
After reading a few of these I actually feel *less* nerdy than usual. This is impressive as I'm a theoretical physics PhD student who collects warhammer 40K.

Oh, and to echo crackhouseceilidhband, these things are made slightly worse by being female. (I have glasses *and* currently braces though, so I think I win a bit)

Somehow I expect this QOTW is going to be an exercise in one-upmanship as we each try to out-nerd the other. That in itself is pretty nerdy. How ironic.
(Thu 6th Mar 2008, 14:38, More)

» Pathological Liars

my little sister
Claimed to remember the 1987 hurricane in the South of Britain, which Michael Fish famously failed to forecast. She was born in 1989.

Oddly, she didn't admit to lying when I called her on this, I can't for the life of me remember what her reasoning was.
(Tue 4th Dec 2007, 14:43, More)