31 May 2016

Toilets

On the BBC News website, an item appeared today that was all about public toilets or the lack of them. Go here.

Of course there's no profit in public toilets and they have to be serviced and maintained. Consequently, cash-strapped councils across Great Britain have been shutting them down. It is scandalous.

One thing that all human beings have in common is the need to excrete every day of our lives. Some of us need to excrete more often than others and if we have certain medical or dietary conditions or are simply old, the need to excrete may become very urgent indeed.
Back in Victorian times, our forebears built thousands of  public toilets. In cities like Sheffield they were everywhere so that when citizens felt the urge to excrete there was usually somewhere they could visit in that particular vicinity. In contrast today, there are hardly any public toilets left so if you desperately need to "go" you have to find a pub, a McDonalds outlet or a department store. 

It shouldn't be this way. Surely, it is a basic human right here in the western world to have public facilities we can go to in order to defecate or urinate. This fundamental human need should not be connected with profit making. It seems to me that the provision of clean, well-maintained public toilets is one of the hallmarks of a responsible, caring society. Failing to provide toilets or blithely shutting them down says a lot about what is wrong in the world today.

27 comments:

  1. Another excellent reason not to go into or in towns. I believe the internet is excellent so some compensation for having to change ones knickers.

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    1. Why does one need to change one's knickers when one is languishing on a farm in Fife and the entire British countryside is available as an open air toilet?

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    2. I don't I can pee anywhere but I can't text and piss as there is no signal.

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  2. I read a similar article today and this lamentable situation has been blamed on cash-strapped councils, but closing public toilets has been going on for years. My dad used to be in the AA (no, not that one) and I recall reading an article in their regular magazine bemoaning the lack of conveniences alongside our major highways fifty years ago.

    Mind you, with the state of some of the public toilets I've come across, you'd really would have to be desperate to use them.

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  3. My turn to apologise. That should be 'you' not 'you'd'.

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    1. Fifty years ago there were far more public conveniences in town and city centres. That's where toilets are mostly needed. In the countryside you can always pee behind a hedge.

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  4. I hate public toilets. I can't recall the last time I entered one. It probably was when I drove from Mackay to Gympie back in 1998 (a distance of 8 hours 44 min - s785.6 km)...and then it would've been a toilet at a service station when I made a stop to refuel my car.

    I don't travel far enough nor am I away so long from home long enough at any given time to have the need to use public toilets....I have a great capacity to last, to hold on until I get back home!! The power of positive thinking!

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    1. Your control is incredible Lee! You should be in The Guinness Book of Records.

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    2. Yes but that's for downing the largest volume of wine in an hour.

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    3. Lee, you're not going to let him get away with a remark like that are you? Hit him with a wine bottle, or better still, get Clint to come out of the fridge and duff him up !

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    4. Eh? Lee is proud of that record. You're only jealous because all you can manage is a small dry sherry every fortnight.

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  5. and some of the groups you mention will not go very far from home for the reasons you suggest.

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    1. Your are right Red. People with bladder problems will think twice before visiting a place that has no toilets.

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  6. I hate having to use public toilets and only go there if it is absolutely necessary. Here in my town, I know the "good ones" that are reasonably clean (and heated in winter). When I am elsewhere, it can be a real challenge finding an acceptable toilet.
    But I don't blame those who have to service them for the often disgusting state of the toilets. It's the "ladies" who have been using the toilet before me that I am disgusted with. Why, for instance, would one drop toilet paper on the floor and then just leave it there? Surely one is aware of it falling down, and can pick it up and flush it down with the rest? And how come people "forget" to flush after they're done?
    It's the same inconsiderate and disgusting behaviour like leaving rubbish behind after a snack in the park or elsewhere outdoors.

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    1. I am also annoyed by such things.
      When you say your preferred public toilets are heated in wintertime - did you mean the seats?

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  7. This is a subject very close to my heart (or rather other parts of my body to be precise). Since my cancer operation 18 years ago I've had a much greater need for toilets than the average person. This does determine, to some extent, where I am able to walk or go and is a major consideration in my daily life. Now I fully accept that such facilities cannot be provided on the basis of the needs of the few but, as you say, this is actually a need of every single one of us: the only thing that varies is the degree of need.

    The Isles of Lewis and Harris have excellent, clean and relatively plentiful public toilets provided by a combination of the Council and communities. They are usually clean and well maintained.

    New Zealand is, however, without a doubt the best place I have ever been when it comes to the provision of such facilities. I have no idea how many there are in the central area of Napier, for example, but there are a lot and the ones I've used have always been clean and well-provisioned. One of the things about travelling in NZ though is the very long distances between places so planning stops can be important. However generally speaking where there is a small community there is very often a public convenience. Some are basic and some are quite smart but they are usually present.

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    1. This could be a way of marketing holidays to New Zealand. Forget the Maoris, the kea kea and The Southern Alps - "Come to New Zealand - Public Convenience Wonderland...where you're never far from a shiny loo".
      In contrast, Newcastle-upon-Tyne - "Come to Newcastle but keep your knees crossed!"

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    2. Hate to disagree with Graham, but when we've visited New Zealand, many of the toilets have been awful ! They were better on South Island, but many of the ones on North Island, in smaller towns, were quite often disgusting, and unusable.
      We once stopped for lunch at a small country hotel on the way to Queenstown, and afterwards when I asked to use the "facilities" I was told they were not available to casual passers-by ! They sent me across the road to an earth floored shack that hadn't been cleaned for some time. Needless to say I didn't avail myself of said facilities, and went back and insisted I use those in the hotel! The female owner was most put out when I told her what I thought of their "arrangements" - and their so-called hospitality!

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    3. I should add that it's the first and only time we've ever come across this, and we've travelled around the world quite a bit !

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    4. Graham is employed by The NZ Tourist Authority. In fact they sponsor his blog. Consequently, he frequently puts out ultra-positive messages about that faraway country.

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  8. We particularly noticed the public toilets on our holiday in the Nethrlands and Belgium. They are well-run and spotless.

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    1. They must have got a grant from The European Union. Are we in that?

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  9. I'm with you! Whatever happened to the idea of self-cleaning pay toilets? I mean, ideally we shouldn't have to pay, but they're better than nothing. We have some around London but I haven't seen any new ones going in.

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    1. I have never been in one of those new-fangled toilets Steve. I don't understand them.

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    2. Those self cleaning toilets frighten me to death ! I've used one in Carcassonne, and in spite of it being fairly new, it was the dreaded hole in the ground ! I kept wondering if it would start cleaning of it's own accord, with me still in there ! I think I prefer to cross my legs and wait....

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    3. It would have been horrible if you had been accidentally flushed away CG! Your pleading little face and your waving hand would have been the world's last view of you as you disappeared down the hole. Horrible!

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