After getting the 'Four-Minute Warning' I hastily collected my ablution kit, shovel and head torch and set out for the distant tree line that was our outdoor latrine. The trail to the area had quickly filled with blown snow so I was route-finding and breaking trail again in the dark! The Four-Minute Warning was now turning into a Four-Second Warning and I was not yet at the designated drop zone. I had run out of PRFs and was now holding back solids and the one-way valve, the ol' barking starfish, was starting to quiver. I decided to take a dump on my shovel and then ferry the goods to the latrine in an 'Arctic egg and spoon race' stylee. I tried to drop my strides as I assumed 'the position' but horror-of-horrors - I was wearing salopettes! I reached for the salopette straps but they were covered by my smock. I zipped up the pocket on my smock so my lighter, camera etc did not fall out and I quickly removed the smock. I reached for the salopette straps again but they couldn't be found! I realised that I had added a woolly jumper after I started to cool down after tea time. My knees were now doing an Elvis impression and I still had a layer to go! I franticaly removed the jumper throwing it thirty feet into the air. I reached for my straps but now it was too late, I had been deserted by the PRFs and was now weeping solids. I say solids, but think of the forgotten Toblerone you find in your car glovebox at the end of a warm autumnal day (complete with abrasive bits of nougat). Anyway I now assumed the position and eased springs. I had a quick shufty behind me to make sure my aim was true but again, my luck was out. One of the straps had become entangled and I was not dumping on my shovel but in the back of the salopettes! I couldn't free the strap or close the bomb bay doors so I tried a 90 degree sideways turn to alter the point of impact. Sadly I was squatting in a path of my own making 18" deep, either side was a frozen wall of snow which could have acted as a make shift ski-jump for my turds. With the way my luck was going they'd have found their way back into my strides via the snow bank. I only had one option left, sacrifice my trollies to save my salopettes. Luck was now working in my favour, I was wearing undercrackers with elasticated legs! The elastic was in good condition as they were a new pair, part of a 3-pack given to me at Christmas by my mother.
Marks and Spencer trollies, one of the surviving 2 pairs. (that's a rust stain on the carpet)
I quickly pulled my trollies up above my knees to a position that would guarantee a hit and then finished the job. Remember this was my first bowel movement in 3 days and I was living on a diet of ration packs, it was not pleasant. I was now crouched in a stress position balancing a heavy pair of dung hampers above my knees. I now needed to find a way of removing the soiled strides without further spillage. Fortuneatly the salopettes had full length side zips and with a bit of fumbling I removed them. I was now crouched in a stress position balancing my steaming trollies over a pair of Sorel boots. I would need these removed before I could lower my trollies. I thought about cutting my trollies off but my knife was in the pocket of my smock which had gone into a low orbit about 30 seconds earlier. I had to remove my boots and this is not an easy task at the best of times; when your thighs are burning it is almost impossible. Removing my feet from the felt liners of the boots resulted in a bit of spillage onto the wool collar of the boots. I was planing on selling them on eBay once the course was over but I now think that is out of the question.
I was now stood naked from the waist down, I decided to put my feet back into my boots while I evaluated the situation. My salopettes had taken damage at the back but that was quickly scraped off with my shovel. The straps were also soiled and they were not cleanable in field conditions, they'd been hit by the looser parts of the movement. My nether regions were heavily soiled and wiping with paper was not proving to be sucessful. I had to scrape with my hands then use the paper to clean my hands. My socks came in useful too. I had 10 medicated wipes with me and they featured heavily in the clean up procedure. The foil wrappers were useful for scraping down the back of my legs, and once I'd scraped as much as possible the medicated wipes were used for the final clean up.
Bog roll and wipes
Once I'd cleaned up I put my salopettes back on and shovelled up all the detritus I had created. I shuffled off with my shovel of shame to the tree line and made my final deposit.
I then turned around and returned to my basha to try and clean up properly. As I passed Ted he said 'Success this time'? 'No' says I, 'I've 5hat meself'! 'Oh' said Ted, not really knowing what to say. I returned to my basha and undressed. It was about minus 10 but I didn't care I had some serious scrubbing to do. I had some anti-septic gel in my medikit and this, along with some more sacrificial socks and t-shirts allowed for a good decontamination. I didn't bite my nails for the rest of the week however, and if somebody came around offering to share their GORP or crisps etc I politely declined; best not put my poopy hands into their food I thought. So, sporting my last pair of emergency undies I returned to the fun. Chris and Ted were sitting on our new wooden bench by our fire and this gave me an idea. I couldn't, with a clear concience, leave my now frozen undercrackers to polute someones farm so I picked up my shovel and went to collect them. I soon returned with them and all of the other waste paper etc.
The once steamy pants of shame
Upon my return I placed them onto our well established fire, Chris looks on in disbelief.
Close up of the frozen pants of shame turning back into the steamy pants of shame before becoming the fiery pants of shame.
The pants took an absolute age to burn, I was quite embarassed, I thought they'd burn up in short order but they hung around for ages while Chris was trying to cook. Sorry chaps!