Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Pause in Advent - Week 1

This year I'm joining in with some other bloggers for A Pause in Advent. 

It's a blogging tradition that goes back a few years - a chance for a reflective pause amidst what, for many of us, is a busy time of year as we prepare to welcome the light (in whichever sense you celebrate that - religious or not).

Angela at Tracing Rainbows is hosting PiA this year, and if you visit her blog you can find links to the other bloggers taking part and sharing their Pauses

I'm hosting the "Pause In Advent" here - continuing the tradition started by Floss

Perhaps you're thinking that finally this is the point where my writing becomes deep, meaningful and full of insight. Sorry! You'll have to visit some of the other Pausers for that.

Over the weekend I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would write and I'm afraid the best I could come up with is a toilet. 

A toilet.

But not just any toilet - this toilet in Cambodia:

It's twinned with the toilets at the Friends' Meeting House in Redland, Bristol*, where I happened to be using the facilities on Saturday. Its photo hangs above the wash basins along with its longitude and latitude so that you can be locate it on Google Earth.

This gave me pause for thought, quite literally. I'd never come across toilet twinning before but what a fantastic idea. Simple but so thought provoking. I've already thought of a few toilets around here that could be twinned.

The scheme, organised by Cord and Tearfund, allows people or organisations to fund raise to twin an existing toilet or toilets in a home, organisation, village or town with a community in a developing country that does not have a toilet, so that they can build one. 

Shockingly only 1 in 3 people in the world has access to a toilet and many health and hygiene issues result from this lack. For me, this really puts the excesses of Christmas into perspective, especially in the light of all this new fangled (over here in the UK) Black Friday/Cyber Monday nonsense.

This season I'm going to pause gratefully and remember the riches I already possess, including clean water and my very own flush toilet, right here in my house.  Even if I only pause for a minute every time I go to the loo, over the next few weeks that'll add up to a substantial pause in Advent...

* Sorry I didn't think of taking a photo of the Meeting House toilets - it felt eccentric enough taking a photo of the photo of the Cambodian toilet...If you imagine a few clean toilets in cubicles with wash basins and squirty soap dispensers you've pretty much got the Bristol picture...


  1. It's food for thought indeed isn't it. I remember seeing a slum on television a while back in Dhaka where there was one toilet for 400 people. A fact that has stayed with me. There's so much here that it would be easy to take for granted. A very thought-provoking post. Incidentally I used to live near Redland, so I know it quite well.

  2. Being thankful for what we have. A good start to Advent I think.

  3. A very thought provoking pause. Thank you.

  4. A great post - we do so easily take our 'conveniences' for granted. PS thanks for the lovely card!

  5. Twinning toilets. I'm going to have to do some more research on that. The picture brings back memories of my grandmother's toilet also known as the outhouse.

  6. What a great idea about toilet twinning - and an unbelievable statistic about how few people have access to toilets. We spent a few days this summer with a compost toilet that didn't work very well so I try very hard not to take my own loo for granted..

  7. Thank you for this post! It made me smile! Maybe you should have taken a picture of your toilet, though if it's like mine you would have had to have cleaned the whole bathroom first and debated whether or not to remove the Playmobil submarine. I'll leave that as deliberately ambiguous...

  8. Awww, you made me smile! I love this!x

  9. I wonder if they have twinned toilets in Looe?

    1. Good one Gary - gotta love a bit of toilet humour!

  10. I got a twinned toilet in India for Christmas from my best friend!!