Thursday, 10 November 2011

Where have all the toilets gone?

There are certain times in your life when you are pressingly aware of needing a public toilet immediately. When you are pregnant (although it is apparently still legal to pee in the street when enciente, although I believe the bit about a policeman havign to offer you his hat is made up), when you are elderly, when you are in the company of any child under the age of 6, and when you have had children and your pelvic floor is in the basement. So, for a woman, pretty much 85% of your entire life is spent saying to yourself or a child "just hold on! Let's look for a John Lewis!"

Because there are no public toilets anymore. When living in London, this did not affect me, as public toilets were for drugs and sex, and there were a lot of John Lewis and cafes. Now I am rural, the lack of loos is much more obvious, because there are no shops open on the high street, none with loos you'd use, anyway (although I suspect the man in the hardware shop with the large array of knives in would let you use his, i'm just not sure he'd let you out again), and the library isn't open when you need a pee (although they are most obliging when they are). Luckily for me, I live in a small town (no, really, it is. A Town. It has a library, and a charity shop. See, town) which is richly endowed with 2 public toilets. They both have those utterly horrible metal contraptions that pretend to be seats (and the kids hate: "It's COLD! MY BUM IS COLD NOW!"), but they are there. I am grateful to them at least 4 times a week. And whilst they may suggest that some girls in town are of loose morals and one boy, too, they are clean and the graffitti is so badly written as to be unreadable phonetically by my 4 year old.

However, these little rooms of ease are under threat. Fenland District Council, in its' infinite wisdom, has decided to cut the budget by closing down a large percentage of them (reported here). Now, I appreciate that cuts are being made. But I also appreciate that this is a council that recently approved of a 25% hike in pay for themselves (although it's been stopped: apparently the manner in which they approved it was unethical, so it's been shelved, temporarily, until they can presumably decide on how to do it ethically, but nar nar anyway), and, hilariously, has also been in the news, yet again, for the Peegate scandal.

If you are going to cut public toilet provison, please do make sure that your council members, and crucially, Mayor, are not elderly, with pea sized bladders.  Or your Mayor and two councillors might get reported in the Daily Fail for weeing behind bushes and exposing themselves.

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