So, I was shown round my room at the brand new VIVA MAYR clinic, and it all looked pretty standard. Nice bathroom - all the usual gear except...
'The toilet has a remote control,' said my guide with a flourish. I frowned. Something was surely lost in translation.
She logged the look, reached to the wall and plucked out, yup, a remote control. 'Very high-tech,' she said. 'Just like in Japan.'
Okaaay. But this is Austria. Back at the original clinic I seem to remember the loos all had a shelf so you could inspect your outgoing messages but this was something quite, quite different. Could you fast forward with it? Pause mid-stool? Record your, um, progress???
We looked at one another, the loo and I. It narrowed its eyes and gave me a challenging 'you'll never dare test-drive me, you scaredy cat, unhygienic English person' sneer.
'You bet I will, you weird unfeasibly bizarre Japanese contraption,' I said. And looked around for the instruction manual.
What? Nothing. Picked up the remote and tried to figure it out. I mean, really...a picture of a woman (water jets straight up the fanny?); a symbol for wind (drying presumably) and a flower (deodorising?).
Oh, what the hell. I took the same approach as I do with any remote - just flail around pressing buttons willy-nilly. Oooh...the fanny current was weird but not unpleasant. Then...ouch! OUCH! It was trying to nuke my ladycarriage. I swear I got up singed.
Anyhow. I still didn't really see the point. Until the next day.
You start each day like this:
"7.15AM - Taking VIVAMAYR morning drink (intestine cleaning). Altaussee's Glaubersalt directly from the inner mountain-spring into your bottle. Pour some warm water into this and drink slowly." (sic)
Then you get breakfast, lunch and dinner which consist of...very little. So my dinner looked like this:
No, those aren't dog chew sticks - they're soy bread rolls. And yup, that's a pot of herb tea. And yup, that's it.
Then the gurgling began. Pretty soon I had a concerto going on in my guts - a quartet of stomach, duodenum, ileum and colon. Not long after that I found myself walking smartly to the loo. And again...and again...and again... Let's just say I clocked 15 times within the space of an hour.
And that was when the loo gave me a knowing look. 'Admit it,' it said. 'You need me.'
This may not be the start of a beautiful relationship but let's just say, we've reached an agreement,