Between The Line, by Diane Lines, February 13, 2015
As far as I am concerned there can’t be enough face-lifting of public toilets. I have a horror of public loos. Now, I don’t want to put you off your breakfast, so I won’t go in to the differing phobias on this subject and their names.
However, let’s just say that I could write a guide to the good and bad in our county, a bit like the AA or Michelin guide. Actually, there probably is a guide; I know that certain conveniences in Lynn have been awarded the ‘Loo of the Year’ award in the past.
I have been very surprised, on my travels, at the difference in standards. For instance, at what is considered to be a rather upmarket store in our region, I fear having to enter the dreaded chamber (if you’ll excuse the pun).
At another, shall we say less upmarket store, the loos are generally spotless and gleaming. Some country houses nearby, open to the public, have had the toilet from Hell. Obviously this is not the fault of the establishments per se – more the rather curious habits of some of the users.
I would love to see a system here similar to that in other European countries. If you visit a public convenience in France, Germany or Spain, you are met with a fierce-looking lady (or gent, presumably, if you are male) sitting behind a table on which rests a saucer of euros.
You put your coins in, and with a bit of luck you go in to a beautifully clean sanctum.
Another reason I hate loos that are not mine is my propensity to get stuck in them. Without naming names, I got locked in a store in Lynn a few years back, when all the staff had cleared off home at 4.30 on a Sunday afternoon.
Three hours later, after an hysterical 999 call to the police, who had to trace the security company which then had to trace a manager, I was rescued. In another establishment on the quayside, I managed to get locked in to the customer convenience on three separate occasions; fortunately each time I had my mobile with me and was in a position to telephone downstairs to ask to be rescued!
Anyway, back to Hunstanton. Some requests please: could the new loos be airy and well-ventilated, with those dinky little paper-doily type things that one can put on the seat, and liquid wash in containers rather than a grotty little piece of greying soap that looks as if it has enough germs on it to start a biological war. Oh and, people who don’t wash their hands before putting them on the door handle to get out – small electric shocks as a reminder perhaps? All I can say is wee’ll meet again!