Toilet Paper, Toilet Paper, My Kingdom for Some Toilet Paper

Total Croatia News

toilet-paper (1).jpg

March 17, 2020 – Toilet paper has become a global currency in recent days with the coronavirus crisis. Making plans to cope when supplies run out.  

Someone emailed me yesterday to ask if I could write a funny blog to lighten the mood of this very serious situation we find ourselves in. I realise that humour at a time of crisis rarely goes down well with all, but at the same time, humour is one of the best medicines of the soul. And so I decided to try and come up with a relevant topic to hopefully put a smile on at least a few faces. 

And, as I was scratching around for a topic as I was doing the business on my throne in the bathroom yesterday morning, I reached for the toilet paper and realised that there was the topic of my article – toilet paper. 

A product that many of us have always taken for granted has suddenly become one of the hottest commodities on the planet, and Australians distinguished themselves more than usual recently, fighting over toilet paper purchases in the shopping aisles of Australian supermarkets. 

It was a moment in time during a serious global crisis which has already been immortalised in this quite epic piece above, The Ballad of Dunny-Roll, by S.J. Paterson. 

The thing is, though, hand on heart, how many of us would be comfortable if our toilet paper supplies run out? Which they will in all probability. 

It was one of the topics that weighed on my mind as we took a family decision on how to deal with the corona crisis as a family. Self-isolation was beyond question, and with schools closed and no tourists coming to our rental home in Jelsa, we decided to hole ourselves up away from everyone there – at least we would have sunshine and that great terrace. 

Choosing to spend what will inevitably be a couple of months, not weeks, minimum, comes with its own calculations. As some food shortages will happen on the mainland, those will be accentuated on an island. This is offset somewhat by the fact my wife’s family has a field and grows a lot of its own food. And rather tasty it is too.

But one of the items which is certain to be in very short supply quite quickly is toilet paper. So what to do? 

toilet-paper (1).jpg

The natural thing to do, of course, is to stock up on all you need to see things through. There are two problems with this plan. If we all go panic buying, we will end up like our Australian brothers. Secondly, we don’t know how long this will last. Should we have bought toilet paper for two weeks? Two months? Six? And what happens then, when there is no more toilet paper to be had, but our daily urges continue? We will be forced to do what humans have always done in times of crisis. 


I am as scared as anyone about this virus, but rather than panic, I see it as an opportunity for reflection on our lifestyles in some ways. We decided not to panic buy, but to stock up sensibly, and whatever comes next, I know we will emerge a lot stronger as a family because of it. The kids are excited about no school of course, but it is also the case that these years and whatever comes next will be one of their strongest childhood memories. If we can try and inspire community values and togetherness in this time of crisis, perhaps those values will be remembered later in life as well.   

As the ferry from Drvenik pulled away, destination eastern Hvar, there was no turning back. We had what we had, and we would self-isolate at home. I decided to test the solidarity of the team with my wife and two daughters.

“So how many toilet rolls do we have in total?”


“Hmmm, ok so 5 each then, is that fair? Seems fair to me, so that each is responsible for their own stash. This will teach you to be economical. And when yours runs out, it runs out. Deal?”

“Not really, Dad, we all know that boys don’t use toilet paper on their weenies after peeing. It would be much fairer if we all got six and you two.”

Life in a democratic household run by women in 2020.

toilet-paper (2).jpg

And so, here I am, reduced to two rolls of toilet paper until my luck runs out. What then, I contemplated, while taking in the early morning Jelsa terrace view. 

And what will everyone else do?  

Well, I think it could finally see some households in the Balkans making use of a device for which it was designed – the humble bidet. 


One of the many minor fascinations of life in this region over the last 18 years is the number of bidets I have come across in Balkan bathrooms. Bidets which are out of use, due to their function as a storage area for, among other things… toilet paper. (NB, Although I now regret not documenting some of my favourite classics, which included someone growing plants in a bidet in Dalmatia, there photos are courtesy of a highly recommended article – Bidet? No way! 7 Alternative Uses). 


Bidets also function as excellent bathroom mini-libraries, for those keen to spend an extended period of The Throne.  


And don’t underestimate the amount of bidet pet action seen by the domestic animals of the region. 

But now, at a time of national and international crisis, is it time to mobilise and requisition the bidets of Croatia and put them to their original use, which includes washing bottoms?


For those who are not quite sure how a bidet functions – and I guarantee there are some judging by the suggested Google searches above – we should learn a lesson or two from the French, not a recommendation I usually give.

The French don’t do many things well – well apart from wine, cheese and striking. And allegedly they are pretty good in the sack, better than the British, although I am sure this is an urban myth. Oh yes, and the French are VERY good at washing their bottoms with bidets. And while researching this article, I learned that ‘bidet’ means pony or small horse. The mind boggles at what really goes on in French bathrooms. Here is how they do it in the video above.   


Don’t have a bidet? I found these poor man solutions online for £1.99, if Amazon are still delivering where you are. A word of caution, however – these water pistols require expert precision to do a proper job, a little tricky unless you have a loved one willing to help out. 

Of course, if the wellbeing of your bottom is a key consideration in this crisis, then you should have chosen Japan. Japanese toilets are INCREDIBLE. No need for bog roll there, just a selection of squirting speeds and techniques and blow-dry finish. As you can see from my video tour of my bathroom at the Tokyo Grand Hyatt Hotel a few years ago, on a trip for TCN, the Japanese toilet is the benchmark to which all bottom cleaners should aspire. 

Ah, those were the days. And here I am now, stuck on an idyllic island with just two rolls of toilet paper to my name. 

“Don’t worry,” said my sister-in-law cheerfully. “We are used to life without toilet roll. When we worked in the field as kids, we used leaves all the time.”

“Cool. Do you have any recommended leaves?”

“Oh yes, there are several, I can show you no problem. As well as the leaves that I would definitely NOT recommend.”

I can feel a video series on TCN coming soon. 

In the meantime, I will economise with every sheet until the last sheet is used. And then, Operation Bottom Adaptation will begin. 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment