Saturday was overcast but dry. Sunday was overcast, miserable and wet. Not a weekend for walking in the countryside.
After the recent hot weather, I spent a couple of hours on Saturday watering parts of our garden. The courgettes (American: zucchini) received a good soaking as did the runner beans. The wilting leaves of the blue hydrangea told me that it was also in need of a good drink. It perked up in super fast time.
If I had known for sure what Sunday would bring, I wouldn't have done any watering at all. I could have saved myself the bother of unwinding those fifty metres of hosepipe and soaking my shoes.
It was an unmemorable weekend. On Sunday afternoon, just for something to do, I headed into the city centre. There were a couple of things I wanted to check out at the Wickes D.I.Y. store and I also thought I would venture on to The Moor. I could do with a new pair of shoes and I thought that Atkinsons department store might be open but it wasn't.
I noticed a handful of furtive homeless people about, looking unwashed and aimless or sheltering in shop doorways from the persistent rain. Even ten years ago you would not have seen such sights in Sheffield.
A familiar feeling came over me. You may have experienced it yourself. Quite simply, I needed to use a toilet. But where could I go? There was nowhere. Atkinsons have customer toilets but the store was closed and the public lavatories at the bottom of The Moor were shut down five years ago for economic reasons. It would be a long walk to the nearest McDonalds.
In a civilised society, the ability to access public toilets should be a human right and it is a stain upon all of us when citizens have nowhere to go. Back in Victorian times, British cities had many well-serviced public conveniences but nowadays it is their absence that is noteworthy.
Because I could not wait, I ended up relieving myself round the back of some wastebins near a shop loading bay. Quite humiliating really - and nowhere to wash my hands. It shouldn't have to be this way.
With thin rain still falling, I decided to head home where I watched the World Snooker Final for an hour - coming live from The Crucible Theatre in this very city. Ronnie O'Sullivan was well on top heading to his sixth world title.
Around four thirty I began preparing our Sunday dinner. A nice wedge of silverside beef with homegrown runner beans, potatoes, courgettes and carrots with small Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy. There was also bramble crumble and custard - using brambles I had picked from the bottom of our garden on Saturday.
At nine o'clock I headed out to the local pub to meet up with Steve and Bert and four pints of Tetley's bitter. A live Manchester United match was on the big TV. They were playing Sevilla in the Europa Cup. In spite of their dominance United managed to engineer a defeat. "The best team lost", remarked their captain - Sheffield lad Harry Maguire. Ah well, there's always next season.
And that was the weekend done. As I write this treatise on Monday morning, the weather remains grey with a thick blanket of cloud separating our small part of the planet from the blue skies and the golden orb concealed above. The 3,489th week of my life is just beginning.
1. Telling us that you ended up relieving yourself round the back of some wastebins near a shop loading bay is Too Much Information, really.ReplyDelete
2. You tell us that courgettes are zucchinis but you neglected to tell us that brambles are blackberries.
3. Why didn't you also tell us where you relieved yourself after drinking four pints of bitters at the local pub? We know you jolly well had to.
!. Sorry for causing unintended offence.Delete
2. I thought blackberries were old school mobile phones.
3. First in the pub toilet and then back home.
Why count weeks when you can count days, nay hours, minutes? I myself am perfectly content to reflect how many more Christmas geese I will roast. Keeps the number down.ReplyDelete
Don't feel humiliated by having to relieve yourself in the open. You have to do what you have to do. Men have it good that way. All they need is a tree, or a wall and they do it standing up, with their back to the public, trousers covering their bottom. One of God's master strokes on day one of his creation. By the time he carved Eva out of Adam's rib he was a bit tired. "Let her fend for herself", he said, exhausted. And so womankind finds herself in amazing queues, not least at the Oktoberfest but also at the Opera during the interval.
Anyway, hot tip of the day, though dare say the English and Yorkshiremen too shy to do so: If you need the loo walk into the nearest upmarket hotel. With the unmistakeable air of being one of their guests. You will be "Madam"ed, no questions asked. Bliss and a proper towel to dry your hands will be yours.
Madam"ed? That sounds like fun.Delete
Okay. Here's a question- what is the "top" of the garden and what is the "bottom" of the garden? Please explain.ReplyDelete
"Top" of the garden is closest to the house, "bottom" is farthest away. I believe. (Correct me if I'm wrong, YP!)Delete
Steve has passed the British citizens' test.Delete
In my mind I imagined something like that but was not sure. Thank you, Steve and Mr. P.Delete
It's good to still have working class heroes and legends like Ronnie 'Rocket' YP. How much is a pint of Tetley's these days?ReplyDelete
Oh dear... £3.60 at our local. Far too much Dave.Delete
I was paying 2 Pounds for a pint of Sharps Doom Bar Cornish bitter in Wetherspoon's in Kent last August and it's a real ale. Do you have Wetherspoon's near you YP?Delete
We have two or three but they are all a bus ride away.Delete
You sound a tad melancholy, YP. I hope that's just down to Sheffield's loss! The lack of access to public bathrooms is a problem, I agree -- in London many of them have been closed as well. I usually duck into a Starbucks and buy a coffee whether I want one or not, and that gives me access to the bathroom. But that may have changed now with Covid.ReplyDelete
Manchester's loss, I mean.Delete
Only a tad melancholy because of the greyness of the weekend. I don't care about Manchester United.Delete
It was nice to hear about how you spend your time when not out walking. There is not too much sports to see around here these days compared to what there used to be at least. What little there is does not allow fans to attend but it can be watched on TV. They keep trying to get teams up and going but some of the players always end up with Covid and that causes problems as you would expect. Unfortunately the number of Covid cases here are quickly rising and are much higher than ever before and that affects everything.ReplyDelete
Your Sunday dinner sounds lovely! Shirley is fortunate to have such a wonderful cook as you!
You say some kind things Bonnie. Things could be worse in Missouri. I see that at the moment your death rate is 237 in a million. Much less than in some other states. For example in New Jersey the death rate is 1801 in a million.Delete
Sadly, the issue with public toilets is similar here in North America. It is often very difficult to find one. Why so essential a facility is not part of every city planner's design is beyond comprehension really.ReplyDelete
We shouldn't have to sneak into rest rooms attached to businesses like McDonalds. The lack of public toilets must even exclude some people from city centre visits. Thanks for calling by David.Delete
You have some good and some bad here. The poor old homeless guys get none of this except to pee in the back alley.ReplyDelete
You are right to point out that toilet visits must certainly be a daily challenge for the homeless.Delete
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