Picture the scene. It’s mid 2000’s and I haven’t had a crap for ten days. I’m stood, crossed legged, clenching so hard it’s parting the hair on the back of my neck.

“With Dr. Atkins you can eat what you like and STILL lose weight!”

I was two weeks into the crazy new Atkins Diet. Brad Pitt had used it to get shredded for Fight Club and that was enough for me. I had lost weight, of course, but in those days the diet that would evolve into today’s Ketogenic lifestyle, which is full of shit-shifting fibre and fats, was basically all the meat, cheese and eggs you can eat. The whole book told you what to put in your body for a carb-free diet, but there was very little on getting it back out again.

I’d tried everything. Half a bottle of laxatives, castor oil- you name it. I was stuck and so was my digestive system. I feared I might never poo again, and my arse would just heal up like an old piercing, leaving me to just keep filling up until I had brown ear wax and the worst breath on the planet.

Then, I read an article about a guy who went on a ‘colonic retreat’ to some Buddhist temple in the Himalayas where they ‘douched’ him every day until he finally heard a marble he’d eaten as a kid rattling in the pan. This must be my salvation! I thought. I immediately started looking at ‘colonic irrigation clinics’ in my area. There weren’t any. I was living in rural Norfolk, about ten minutes’ drive from the nearest pint of milk, so I had more chance of finding a bum-centric Buddhist temple.

A different approach was needed. A lot of research had led me to a basic understanding, and it turned out to be a pretty simple process, not dissimilar to putting the dishes ‘in soak’ when you’re too lazy to wash up. You fill your colon with warm, soapy water, leave it as long as you can, sit on the bog and hold on tight. I mean, how hard can it be? Right? I scanned eBay for DIY kits. They were there (what isn’t?) but they were mostly just galvanized buckets with a brown rubber tube coming out of the bottom, and they were ninety quid! NINETY QUID?!!! I think not!

I decided to make my own colonic irrigation kit. It’s basically just plumbing, and while my knowledge of ‘Zen and the Art of Thrutching’ was minimal, I did know a thing or two about plumbing.

First on the list was an upgrade on that bucket. Why have a wide, open-topped thing that can spill everywhere, when you can have a closed vessel, like… a hot water bottle? Not only won’t it spill but you can hang it up on a nail to ‘inner-swill’ in private, without someone stood next to you, holding a bucket and asking awkward questions like, ‘are you sure you’ve thought this through?’ I bought myself one from Dunhelm and even managed to pass on the ‘baby cow’ fluffy cover it came with as a ‘pajama pouch’ birthday present to someone’s kids, so it was real a win-win!

Now for that tube. I decided it needed to be long, clear (unlike the brown rubber ones on Ebay) so I could see the water’s progress, and of course, VERY thin. My trip to B&Q was brief, it’s amazing how your view of pipes changes when you’re looking to stick one up your bum. I ended up in Halfords looking at three-metre-long hoses that connect your windscreen jets to the reservoir. Clear, thin and long! Boom!

After melting a small hole in the bottom of the water bottle and fixing the hose in it with silicone sealant I was feeling pretty chuffed. Then I looked at the ‘business’ end. While it was only a few millimeters thick, it was flat and sharp. The thought of that snagging and tearing the lining of my colon made me shudder. I needed an ‘applicator’ and, before any despair could set in, it appeared before my eyes! There was a biro on my desk. It was an old 5 Star, clear, thin and with a long, rounded, nose-cone tip. Perfect! Not only would it slide in with the grace of an otter, it was also a specific length, so I’d be able to see how far up it had gone. One of my worries with the tube was that I could be pushing for ages, thinking it was barely in there, and then suddenly feel the water bottle against my cheeks as the tube emerged from a nostril! I removed the ink cartridge and inserted the hose, it fitted perfectly!

My kit was assembled and, if I say so myself, it looked a damn sight more medical than anything
I’d seen online.

A final bout of research gave me a few more pointers. I needed warm soapy water, but it had to be the gentlest soap there was. The lining of the colon is sensitive and you don’t want an itch you can never scratch. Johnsons Baby ‘No More Tears’ formula seemed made for the job and aptly named. Then there was the issue of ‘friction’. Not for the insertion, that was going to be painless and easy, apparently. No, this was to make ‘evacuation’ easier for the water cannon my arse was about to become. As this was my bum’s first time dealing with ‘goods inwards’, I opted for extra-virgin olive oil. If I was going to let something enter me in a way only my doctor had, I wanted it to share my journey into uncharted territory with equal trepidation. Plus, it was cheap, organic, good for the skin and allowed on the Atkins Diet (always thinking). Finally, I had to make sure the pressure was as low as possible. Hang the bottle just high enough to create a gentle trickle that can easily and safely work its way around those blockages like a slow-moving stream. You’re already in a serious amount of pain, you don’t need a jet that could clear the moss off your patio adding to it.

I filled my water bottle with lukewarm water and added a squeeze of baby shampoo, hung my contraption from a nail in the bathroom door, two feet off the floor, and lay, naked from the waist down, on an old towel next to the bog. Then I gently pushed an old biro covered in olive oil up my rectum. (the things you do for a shit, eh?)

It all went very well to be honest.

After ten minutes of thinking nothing was happening, I noticed the bag was now empty and I wasn’t lying in a puddle. I waited. My guts were already solid and hurting so I had barely noticed the added pressure, but now it started to work. Things gurgled, things moved. I got the urge to go but I knew better- it was like the Braxton Hix I’d read about: false contractions that you need to just relax and let subside. It worked. Then, after twenty minutes, I could take no more. I tucked my heels under my bum, grabbed the edge of the toilet and sprung onto it like a Russian gymnast.

I was afraid to let go at first, but I had little choice, so I grabbed hold, stopped clenching and hoped for the best.

The blast was so strong it soaked the back of my thighs and the underside of the seat. At one point, a bit of half-digested mushroom flipped up between my legs to cartwheel in the air like a performing dolphin. And it went on, and on, and on. For every cup of water I’d put in, it felt like a gallon came out. I genuinely feared I might die of dehydration at one point and wondered if I’d be found, months later, crumpled and empty like that ‘baby-cow’ cover and draped over the rim of a broken toilet like a casually-discarded condom.

It eventually ended. I pushed and leant to both sides but not a drop occurred. I was about to get up and call the council to destroy my bathroom with nuclear weapons, when I recalled a throwaway line from another bit of research. It said that, when you think you’re finished, you should look over your right shoulder. It seemed silly but what harm could it do? I looked behind me and, with no warning, the heavens, all the rivers and lakes of the World, and the whole of Neptune’s realm fell out of my backside.

Once it was over, I felt lighter than air. I was so impressed with my little contraption that I’ve done it several times since and, having heard this tale, several others in my inner circle have even asked me to make them one. I’m not advocating you try it because I probably broke entire volumes of the health and safety laws and risked getting everything from colitis to ‘atheletes ring’ but I will say that a little research and improvisation got me out of a bad situation and for that, and to Halfords, I will be eternally grateful.