John McCullagh September 22, 2004
Portaloo
A century ago in Ireland a couple searching for a holiday home chose the West of Ireland and after much house-hunting, they found a country cottage to their taste.  They hadn’t inspected it fully and when they returned to England the woman asked her husband whether it came with a suitable W.C.  He of course, couldn’t remember either so he wrote to ask the landlord.
 
 
 
Unfortunately the landlord didn’t understand the new-fangled term W.C. (for water-closet – contrasted with a ‘dry-toilet’) and studied an Ordnance Survey map to check.  There he learned that a Wesleyan Chapel – named for the founder of Methodism, John Wesley – was so abbreviated.
 
 
He wrote back immediately.
 
 
Dear Sir,
 
 
I regret the delay in this matter but I have much pleasure in informing you that the W.C. is situated nine miles from the house.  It is capable of seating two hundred and fifty persons.
 
If you are in the habit of going regularly, this is unfortunate for you.  You will no doubt be interested to know that a great many people take their lunch with them and make a day of it.  Others who are more pressed go by car and often arrive just in the nick of time!  These are people who are generally in too much of a hurry to wait.
 
The last time, six years ago, that my wife and I were there, we had to stand all the time.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Seamus Murphy.

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