Room With A Do

Oh, how lucky we are : the good folks at Statens Vegvesen (the highway authority) have commissioned Norway’s most expensive public convenience, currently under construction, not far from us, on Senja. And the price tag – a very ‘reasonable’ 3 million kroner (1/3 of a million of your great British pounds / half a million dollars). The reason it’s so expensive is that apparently they used an architect to design it (although I think that it’s probably mandatory to use an architect when building a public building).

Nestled in Ersfjord (population 28), beside possibly the most beautiful beach in Troms county the beach (we visited on our staff day out although then the new project was but a glint in the architects bank balance concept on the architects drawing board), the facility boasts:

  • environment enhancing external style (it looks like an abandoned snowplough)
  • a stainless steel toilet and wash hand basin (inside)
  • a cold water shower (outside)
  • a store cupboard for maintenance equipment
  • a window in the roof with red glass (and an internal light which is on all the time so people know where it is in the dark, even though it will probably be locked in winter).
  • a car park for 50 cars!

Apparently it’s expected that the new toilet will bring in extra visitors (hence the large car park), benefiting the local shop (located about 5 miles away), the local pub (half an hours drive) and other businesses (mostly deep sea trawlers). It’s worth noting that the new toilet is located only about a mile from Norway’s previously most expensive toilets at the viewing area for The Devil’s Teeth. Therefore they’re presumably counting on a steady stream of architectural savvy, ‘leaky’ visitors (for example bus loads of retired male architects). Or maybe they’ve realised that there’s always someone in the car who should have gone at the first stop with everyone else, but who just has to go immediately after leaving the rest area . . .

Anyway, here are some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago as I drove past (having not stopped to buy anything at the local shop):

Here’s what remains of the previous toilet (worryingly the new toilet is not anchored with steel cables to the bed rock, so perhaps best to avoid visiting in high winds):

Here is an artists impression of the finished project, and a snow plough for comparison:

And finally, here are some of the other many titles I could have used for this post. Do feel free to leave other suggestions . . .

  • Room with a pooh
  • The emperor’s new loo / do
  • Flushed away
  • Flushed with success
  • Available to’let
  • New toilet gets red light

Isn’t it great that do, loo, new and pooh all rhyme?

N.B. Do is Norwegian slang for toilet.

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3 responses to “Room With A Do

  1. “Do” is not slang. It is a standard word for “toilet”. You will find it in the Norwegian dictionary online http://www.nob-ordbok.uio.no/perl/ordbok.cgi?OPP=do&begge=+&ordbok=bokmaal

    The cost of this project is a disgrace, and I got to hear of it only one day after the same radio station reporting it had covered the story of a single mother in Bodø now seriously in danger of being made homeless. The owner of her apartment is selling, and she is unable to afford either to buy or rent because of the high prices there now. The council can’t help here yet because there is such a huge waiting list. So it seems that Norwegian society can afford to spend millions of Kroner buying toilets for tourists, but there isn’t the money to help those who genuinely are needy (a single mother needing a roof over her and her child I would think meet the definition).

    A year ago I was flabbergasted to find that the county was building three bus shelters, each costing some 100,000 KR. One of them is where I live, on the way to Vestbygd. That toilets and bus shelters can cost such a fortune is a damning indictment of the way we value things in Norway. That comes from being pampered by the “curse of oil”.

    And to be sure, the oil is running out. I think in a few decades time, many Norwegians will look back on this time of prosperity with a good deal of sadness and regret, when obscenities like these are exposed in the light of hindsight.

  2. Pingback: Preparing For Winter | Arctic Organist

  3. Pingback: Do 2 | Arctic Organist

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