Saturday, May 31, 2008

A thought about loo rolls

One of life's little essentials, the toilet roll. In days of yore our ancestors tried all sorts of items to perform the same familiar task that we're all managing without undue difficulty (I hope) today.

My dear old Auntie Mag was fond of telling the very young and impressionable Millbrooker about the torn off strips of newspaper that she had had to use in the outside privy.

Doubtless she had once been regaled in her childhood by an older relative with stories of having to find the best sized dock leaf in the water meadow before hunkering down to business.

To the point, however: Mrs The Millbrooker is a thrifty shopper and only ever buys such things as loo roll if it's on offer. After all, whichever variety you buy it's all going to taste much the same. Or at least it's going to perform its function in the same manner and will be as efficient as its wielder's skill allows.

This brings me to the current batch at Millbrooker Towers. I was surprised to find myself able to detect a faint aroma of flowers whilst tearing off a sheet or two during the morning's procedural events. Yes, we have obtained a pack or two of scented toilet paper, because that was what was on offer in a special value-for-money deal at whichever supermarket we'd bestowed our business upon during the last expedition to top up essential supplies.

Now I have to ask myself, as I asked Mrs The Millbrooker immediately after the discovery, what is the point of scented toilet paper? Does it have the merest scintilla of a raison d'etre?

You're not going to spend much time sniffing it before use, unless you have a particularly odd fetish. During its accustomed use, it's a considerable distance from any olfactory organ so the fragrance is completely wasted there. After use, in my experience, very few people bother with a quick sniff of the paper (perhaps I should be asking more people about their post-polishing habits in an effort to clear this one up).

So why make it scented in the first place? Surely the artificial fragrance is worse for the environment? Even if it's not made up from unpleasant chemicals that do actual harm in themselves, the additional energy expended in manufacture can hardly be worth the effort for such a pointless affectation.

I'm off in search of a decent sized dock leaf.

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