The National Museums of Scotland made an announcement earlier this week:
Congratulations to Emily Dodd – Glenmorangie have chosen her name for the specially created Night of the Mummy cocktail. Introducing… the Tutankhamorangie! Our judges had a hard time picking a name, so thanks to everyone who entered for your inventive suggestions!
The cocktail ingredients are Glenmorangie Original, ginger ale, flamed orange and golden syrup. They wanted a name with an ancient Egyptian/Museum twist… so what inspired me to come up with Tutankhamorangie?
I’d spent hours recreating his death mask… painstakingly gluing on golden lentil after golden lentil, he had to be beautiful. My Tutankham, I was in primary school and ‘he’ was up in the little toilet at home for many years. I’m excited to have won tickets to the fabulous after hours event at the National Museum ’Night of the Mummy‘ but something is troubling me. It’s the little toilet. I’ve realised my family had too many toilets and only one of them was normal. The normal one was ‘the bathroom’, generic matching bath, toilet, sink and tiles. A showroom that guests were encouraged into. But what about the others?
The Little Toilet
You walked in to see King Tut’s life size death mask smiling at you from the back wall. If you dared to turn your back on the pharoe then to the left you could enjoy scenes from the world, postcards from friends, but there was one that didn’t fit. It was a cartoon bum that said ‘Kiss my arse’. Why was it there? Who sent it? *
The sink was also on the left and there was a medicine cupboard that was always locked. The right wall was bare tiles apart from a no smoking type sticker that read ‘no farting allowed’. We weren’t allowed to say fart, but this toilet was allowed. It broke the rules and demanded the impossible.
On the back of the door was a poster of ‘Reptiles and Amphibia of the British Iles’. I was fascinated by the slow worm, it said it was not a snake or a worm but a legless lizard. Like a stick insect telling everyone it’s actually a wingless butterfly. And that mishmash of children’s art, postcards, stickers, legless lizard and questions was the little toilet. But the toilets don’t stop there.
The Downstairs Toilet
Our house was upside down, you entered upstairs and went downstairs to bed – it was built into the hill. It was downstairs that Dad converted a bit of hallway into our third toilet, ‘the downstairs toilet’. The bit of hall he used ended with an outside door and this door had a cat flap in it. Once he put an inside door in the downstairs toilet had two doors, three if your count the catflap. Any moment a cat could pop in, quite unnerving if you’re not used to cats or toileting with a small guest. Guests of course, were not encouraged to use this toilet.
Because it was downstairs it needed to pump its content up the hill making it officially the noisiest toilet I’ve ever been to. After flushing the sound was somewhere between a photocopier and an elephant. The pump wasn’t strong enough for a number two and despite the sign on the door and the toilet itself ‘PLEASE POO UPSTAIRS’, guests would disregard the hand written advice. Perhaps by the time they saw the sign it was too late? Perhaps they thought it was just a best practice suggestion?
The pump would go crazy.. a herd of elephants and churning like little rocks in a blender for several minutes, the toilet was in protest and we all knew why…
The Dark Side of the Downstairs Toilet
The pump woke me up, sometimes it churned for no apparent reason. I adjusted to the shadows and realised I needed to go. I was scared. As I entered the toilet the wind whistled outside. I tried not to look at the cat flap, it was a little window I didn’t want to see out of, my imagination had a habit of playing tricks on me. Suddenly the cat flap blew open, the bang made me jump and I had to look and check the bang wasn’t an arm reaching for my leg. I hoped it was my cat but there was no one there.
My great aunty died, I didn’t know her but I inherited her snake draft excluder. It was in my bedroom for one night and my hamster, Toffee died. I decided the snake was cursed. It had killed Auntie Evie one night and my hamster the next. I thought it would kill me if I fell asleep in the same room so I put it…. in the downstairs toilet. I should have put it in the bin or said something but my family had all gone on about how great the snake was. I didn’t want to be ungrateful or disrespectful to the dead. It made night-time toilet trips even more scary, it wanted me to fall asleep so it could continue its cursed purpose, or so I thought…
Thankfully now my ancient Egyptian inspired imagination has won me whisky, Tutankhamorangie!
*UPDATE: Just had a text from my Mum saying ‘Just read the blog about our loos and laughed out loud!’. She also texted me of the rest of the words on the ‘Kiss my arse’ picture… When I’m in a sober mood I worry work and think, when I’m in a wilder mood I gamble, play and drink. But when my moods are over and the world has come to pass, you can bury me upside down and the world can kiss my arse.
Thanks Mum, is good to be reminded of the poetry I was exposed to in childhood!