Tuesday, 14 July 2020

When you've got to go, you've got to go!

I’ve been racking my brains these past few days thinking about something to write, but it’s been a hard slog since my last post, and I’ve really been struggling to find a topic that’s interesting, topical and mildly entertaining. Regrettably, I’ve still only been in two pubs so far, since the partial lifting of restrictions, and I blame that on all work and no play.

Not having been anywhere exciting, let alone different these past few weeks hasn’t helped either, and whilst things might change this coming weekend, I’m still rather stumped regarding a subject that’s relevant, or even remotely connected to the world of beer and pubs.

Fortunately, all is not yet lost as whilst browsing the net at lunchtime, I came across this little piece in the New Statesman and it’s not only about a problem that affects us more as we grow older, but it’s also something that is closely related to beer drinking – or indeed the consumption of any liquid. I’m talking about having to use the toilet – empty one’s bladder to be more precise, and it’s an issue that is becoming more acute as lock-down restrictions are gradually being lifted.

Public toilets up and down the land have been closed for months now, despite many parks and other open spaces remaining open to the public. From the very start of the lock-down, people were encouraged to get some outdoor exercise; a sensible compromise in my view, rather than imprison the population in their own homes 24-7. But with local councils reluctant to reopen public facilities, there has been the inevitable rise in people finding alternative places to do what comes naturally.  

As the saying goes, “When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go,” so now government ministers are leaning on local authorities to reopen their toilets – in a safe and responsibly social-distanced way, of course! The trouble is many health experts were concerned that toilets might pose a greater risk of spreading Covid-19, than other public places, due to them being dark, enclosed, with a lot of touch points and a high footfall.

These concerns may have been partially true but were probably not quite as serious as many of these self-proclaimed experts believed. There are also various protocols that users of public toilets can adopt to minimise any potential risk, but rather than me listing them out (this is not a public information service), you can find them online.

The New Statesman article bemoaned the fact that many of the nation’s public toilets have been privatised, sold-off for other purposes or closed altogether. Here in Tonbridge we have lost a couple of our public toilets, one having closed completely, whilst the other partially demolished and then rebuilt as a coffee shop – just think of that next time you’re enjoying a cup of coffee!

The affects of this loss weren’t quite so acute, pre-lockdown, as there were plenty of facilities inside shopping centres, along with toilets in pubs, cafés and restaurants, but whilst these establishments are now slowly reopening, there are measure in place restricting the numbers of people who can use them at any one time.

Okay, the issue is probably getting better than it was at the height of lock-down, but the lack of toilet facilities was discouraging people, women in particular, from straying too far from home. Shewee, the manufacturers of the namesake product for women, reported a 700% increase in UK sales since the start of lockdown, providing relief, if you’ll pardon the pun, for scores of women who want to go outdoors and enjoy themselves without having to find the proverbial bush to squat behind.

That’s probably too much information, but Mrs PBT’s was certainly one lady put off from going out a couple of months ago. I won’t repeat her response when I suggested she purchase one of the aforementioned devices, as that is something best kept between husband and wife, but I’m sure you get the gist of the problem.

So with social-distancing and other Covid-19 control measure likely to remain in place for some time to come, and opportunities to enjoy a spot of al-fresco drinking at an all time high, then how about providing us all with some proper relief?


Britain Beermat said...

I thought you were taking the p*** when I first read this ��

Curmudgeon said...

Maybe toilets will be considered safer if everybody has to wear a mask when using them 😷😉

Paul Bailey said...

BBM, it might have come across like I was extracting the urine, but it’s a serious subject, especially at the moment, and for females in particular. As for Shewee’s, well we won’t even go down that route!

Mudge, you could be right about the masks, but better not suggest it, in case another bunch of Tory MP’s threaten to resign over the issue. On second thoughts???

RedNev said...

We all benefit from a bit of light relief.

retiredmartin said...

Mrs RM bought a shewee for use when we go camping. There's a photo on one of my blogposts if you're as fascinated as I'm sure you are.

I'm pleased to report that pub toilets seem much improved since reopening.

No wee puns from me. I'm a serious blogger.

Paul Bailey said...

Yes Nev, especially at the moment!

Martin, I seem to recall us having the Shewee conversation a few weeks ago, so it's definitely time to move on.

Glad to hear about the improvement in pub toilets. I haven't has occasion to make use of any yet, despite me blogging about this issue!

Curmudgeon said...

Been in plenty now, with no problem. No social distancing measures, unlike toilets in motorway service areas, where typically every other urinal is taped off, and sometimes (pointlessly) every other cubicle.