But what happens if one must relieve oneself in the lift before the prayers have been answered?

So which one is going up?

So which one is going up?

A matter of great curiosity to Alf has gone unanswered in the reports he has read.

It’s the delicate matter of how much waste had to be cleaned out after two nuns were trapped for three days in a lift in Italy.

Or did they pray enough to reduce their ones and twos to zero?

Bloody media never get down to this sort of nitty-gritty.

It transpires that one of the pair was a Kiwi nun.

She prayed – apparently – until the pair were eventually rescued by a cleaner.

This prompts the indelicate observation that The Almighty wasn’t in a hurry to respond to their prayers, if the cleaner didn’t turn up for three days.

Perhaps more fascinating, Alf would like to know if the nuns had done something to offend Him that caused the lift to stop with the pair inside in the first place.

According to this account of what happened:

TVNZ reported that the 69-year-old nun from New Zealand became trapped in a lift in Rome on Friday, without food or water.

She was with her 58-year-old Irish companion at the time, TVNZ reported. The lift became stuck after there was an electrical power failure.

The pair were eventually discovered by a cleaner, after her calls to the Marist convent, where the women were trapped, went unanswered.

The two nuns were guests of the Marist Sister House and were the only people in the building over the weekend.

After being rescued, both were taken to hospital to be treated for dehydration.

Alf imagines it would be very alarming to be trapped in a lift for three days, even when faith and the power of prayer assure one of a positive outcome.

If it ever happens to him, he will try to ensure he is in a lift in Japan.

That’s because the Japanese are planning to deal with just such a contingency.

Japan is looking into installing toilets and emergency water in lifts after discovering up to 17,000 people could be stuck in elevators when the next big earthquake hits.

Officials announced that they were considering the plan after dozens of people were trapped inside broken lifts following an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale last week.

The country, which is frequently hit by powerful earthquakes, has around 620,000 lifts, most of which stopped during the quake.

Fourteen of them stopped between floors leaving dozens of people high and dry, some for hours.

The next Big One – according to the seismologists – is almost certain to hit the capital over the coming decades.

It could happen sooner, if naked tourists offend whatever spirits are responsible for earthquakes.

The Japanese Government estimates up to 17,000 people might be stranded in elevators.

A meeting between officials from the infrastructure ministry and elevator industry bodies agreed to look into providing toilets for use in an emergency, according to an official from the Association of Elevator Makers.

These might include collapsible cardboard structures with a waterproof bag or absorbant material inside.

Some recently-installed lifts have small seating areas for Japan’s growing ranks of elderly people, and installing facilities underneath these seats is one possibility.

Alf has brought this enlightened thinking to the attention of the appropriate Ministers.

It has always bothered him, when doing his thing in Parliament, that he might be trapped in a lift, especially one of the rather small lifts that gets him up to the bar in the Beehive and back.

Should he be on the downards journey after a night in the Pickwicks Bar, he is likely to have a very full bladder.

Mind you, there’s not a helluva lot of room in these lifts for a dunny, even a small one.

If it’s compact enough to be fitted in, it is unlikely to accommodate the full outflow from the Member for Eketahuna North.

Oh – and then there’s the thought that maybe all lifts when fitted out for emergencies of this sort should be clearly designed His and Hers.

Alf would be seriously disinclined to drop his dacks to use the dunny in the presence of someone like Crusher.

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