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.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.
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!
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.
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?