Moving to Holland 5 – the disappearing pissoir

I’m writing this on the plane to Rwanda, where we’ll be visiting Daughter, Son-in-Law and Grandson. I may be that you’d like to hear about that. Well, cheds!, as we used to say in the playground of my primary school in Wilmslow*. I’m chock-full of reflections on the excellent-so-far move that Emigrating Companion and I have made to Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, and that’s what I’m going to be inflicting on you for quite a while yet.

One evening soon after we moved in I saw that just near our house is a three-person pissoir.

pissoir Alkmaar 319.JPG

It may turn out convenient, I thought, though slightly exposed, and in any case it is another of the special features of our new city.

Brother-in-Law came to visit and that afternoon we went on a walk. I took him to see the pissoir. It had gone.

pissoir base Alkmaar 419 luttik oudorp.JPG

Obviously this was a new subject of interest.

It turns out that the pissoir comes and goes with the time of day. It is not lifted up and away like the rubbish bins (see Moving to Holland 3). Rather, it sinks into the ground. Emigrating Companion was there one day to see it rise up from there. (Emigrating Dog barked at it.) Someone unsuspecting might be standing on the disk at the time.


*  Cheds = cheddar = cheese = hard cheese = hard luck, you’re not going to get what you want!

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "Energy Storage" at European Commission, Joint Research Centre

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