Follow-Up to the Human Bed Warmers

After reading Tuesday’s Human Bed Warmers link, faithful reader and friend o’ the site Sash was reminded of a story from Roald Dahl’s early-years memoir, Boy: Tales of Childhood. I’ve reproduced an excerpt below:

It meant that the Boazer1 wished to use the lavatory but that he wanted the seat warmed for him before he sat down.

The six House lavatories, none with doors, were situated in an unheated outhouse and on a cold day in winter you could get frostbite out there if you stayed too long. This particular day was icy-cold, and I went out through the snow into the outhouse and entered number one lavatory, which I knew was reserved for Boazers only. I wiped the frost off the seat with my handkerchief, then I lowered my trousers and sat down. I was there a full fifteen minutes in the freezing cold before Wilberforce arrived on the scene.

“Have you got the ice off it?” he asked.

“Yes, Wilberforce.”

“Is it WARM?”

“It’s as warm as I can get it, Wilberforce,” I said.

“We shall soon find out,” he said. “You can get off now.”

I got off the lavatory seat and pulled up my trousers. Wilberforce lowered his own trousers and sat down. “Very good,” he said. “Very good indeed.” He was like a wine taster sampling an old claret. “I shall put you on my list,” he added.

I stood there doing up my fly-buttons and not knowing what on earth he meant.

“Some Fags3 have cold bottoms,” he said, “and some have hot ones. I only use hot-bottomed Fags to heat my bog-seat. I won’t forget you.”

Sash commented “It seems like this is a sick tendency in British culture. What is with them?”. I really don’t have an answer.


  1. “Boazer” was term used for a prefect2, at Dahl’s school. ↩︎

  2. You didn’t go to private school either? A prefect is a student whose seniority and/or accomplishment grants him authority over other students. ↩︎

  3. A “Fag” was a student assigned to a Boazer, tasked with menial duties. ↩︎