Thursday, 13 October 2011

Splish Splash – I wasn’t taking a bath

There is an unending debate wherever Eribaites meet, whether on internet forums or face to face at rallies etc. The two opposing sides are trenchant in the defence of their firmly held opposing beliefs and neither will budge an inch.
So what is the question that provokes such strong opinions?
It’s simply this:
Advocates of the ‘no Washroom’ view consider the inclusion of the Washroom as a waste of space and only something extra to clean and maintain. And why bother when most of the time most people use full facility sites with toilets, sinks, mirrors and showers a mere few steps away.
On the other side Washroom supporters point out that having a toilet and wash basin on board is the bare minimum one should expect in this day and age and if caught short at night it’s far more civilised to use a loo with a closing door than it is to tramp to the site facilities block through storm and pestilence or use a Porta Potti in the van or awning.
I suspect that your view on this issue will be influenced by your keenness on the ‘outdoor life’, your willingness to don a hair shirt and whether your partner threatens to leave home unless a washroom is included.  
A 2011 Troll 530 Washroom, 4ins wider than its predecessor, with extra headroom and a Thetford 250 swivel toilet rather than the bench version previously provided.
If your Eriba is one of the smaller varieties like the Puck or Puck L then you won’t have a choice as there’s no space to fit a washroom. As you move onto the larger models, Familia and Triton, you get the choice with some layouts having a washroom and others not. And all the ‘big boy’ Troll models have a washroom fitted, although years ago I believe a washroom-less option was offered, as was the intriguingly named ‘fold-up washroom’ which I’ve only ever seen in pictures.  
What both opposing camps totally agree on though is that:
Leave aside that at least one supplier of new Eribas used to have a shower curtain factory fitted as standard and that there is a plastic shower tray with plugged drain hole. For anyone over 6ft tall it’s difficult enough to actually get into the washroom and virtually impossible to bend over and pick up the shower gel. But what seals it is that really the furniture inside the washroom just isn’t built to withstand regular soakings and whilst a clingy shower curtain can be draped to provide some protection I wouldn’t suggest it can be relied on.
The inclusion of a mixer tap that has a spray option and pull out extending pipe on the wash basin encourages the showering notion, but most people agree that hair washing in the basin is really the most that should be attempted.
Overhead view of the 2005 to 2010 washroom with electric flush Thetford bench toilet, grey/brown mottled worktop and chromed mixer tap.
For those worried about such things, Eriba Washrooms, and they are virtually a standard module almost throughout the range, are well provided with storage, with a lot of shelves and several cabinets/cupboards. In fact in mine there’s even a mains electric socket which would surely not be allowed under current UK regulations.
Poppy's 2001 washroom with hand-pump flush bench Thetford toilet, one piece moulded white plastic work surface and integrated basin and just a hint of the plastic mixer tap.
One area where there is an issue is washroom lighting.
For some reason the majority of Eriba Washrooms are fitted with two lights side by side just above the usefully large mirror. It’s a fabulous level of light for such a small room and absolutely brilliant for those who wish to apply make-up or inspect the finer points of their complexion. However people who wish to utilise the Thetford whilst standing up (usually gentlemen, I’m advised) will find that unless they are exceedingly short they will be standing with their back to the lights and a deep dark shadow will be cast on the toilet bowl and surrounding area. It brings a frisson of danger to the whole operation as you’ll find you can be literally ‘p****ing in the dark’.
I’m not sure what the solution is for this problem, clenching a torch in your teeth might be worth trying.
Size matters
There’s really no getting away from the fact that the washroom is small. Knee room for sitting down is restricted and people have been known to remove cabinet doors, or even the whole floor cabinet to provide extra space.
For those over 6ft or so tall there’s another issue. Eriba supply a removable towel rail in many vans that fits from just above the mirror to the other side of the washroom. It’s very useful as a washroom is the ideal place to dry clothing etc. However if you’re over 6ft you’ll find that whilst standing at the toilet your left shoulder may come into contact with the rail and you’ll be forced to adopt a pose not unlike Quasimodo. If you remove the rail you lose the facility but gain some comfort, although the edge of the fixed roof then rests gently on your shoulder.
This is something that has improved on the newer ‘FYised’ Trolls with their extra 4” height and width and unless you're very, very tall you’ll find plenty of head and shoulder space in the redesigned washrooms..
All of the above might be considered a litany of bitching. Maybe it is, but at 6ft 2ins tall and a whippet-like 17 stone I find the Eriba washroom a challenge. On the other hand my dearly beloved at 5ft 2ins and ‘don’t you dare mention my weight’ thinks it’s wonderful.
Who's to blame?
I think here might be an appropriate point to consider the overall sizes of Eribas and their washrooms in particular and how and why they've continued to be produced over five decades. I don't know, but I suspect that back at the end of the 1950's the original Eribas weren't fitted with such luxuries as washrooms. When washrooms started to make an appearance I haven't been able to find out, but consider the picture of Erich Bachem in the second blog. I would hazard a guess that EB is about 5ft 9ins to 5ft 10ins tall and not too portly, based on Hanna Reitsch being about 5ft 2ins (she looks fairly diminutive). Now I can imagine a man of 5ft 10ins designing a caravan of Eriba type dimensions but I can't imagine him being too happy with washrooms the size of the ones generally fitted to our vans.
On the other hand take a look at the picture below, taken at an awards ceremony.
Now I don't know who was the wicked devil that stood Erwin Hymer in the back row and I don't know who positioned him next to the giant on the far left, but you definitely get the feeling that Erwin is not the tallest chap in the group. I'd go so far as to estimate that he's probably about 5ft 3ins to 5ft 4ins tall and he's certainly a very trim gentleman, certainly not a Porky Pig. 
Now someone that's slim and 5ft 4ins tall will have absolutely no problem using an Eriba washroom or having the vision to generate the concept of hundreds of thousands of vehicles that are, to put it bluntly, all somewhat challenged in the space department. So there you have it, it needed a small guy to build a leisure vehicle colossus like Hymer Group. Come on! Could you see George Foreman doing it?
And I think that guy has a soft spot for Eribas and despite all that his armies of accountants and design gurus are telling him he has made sure they survive. What might happen when he passes on is another matter entirely.   

No comments:

Post a Comment