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I was greatly relieved the other day: I found the only public WC in Epsom had re-opened after weeks of closure for ‘essential repairs’. These turned-out to be the installation of a wall-sized glass splash-back, quirkily emblazoned with several roundels, presumably the aim of the project. In Quillan, by comparison, our French home town, the sole surviving public urinal has had its pipes joined, and this singular engineering achievement will be much applauded by men of uncertain plumbing who prefer dry feet.


Noticing these things, I am vaguely troubled to realise that 'loos' seem to have become as important to me as I recall they used to be during my childhood.


How scandalised my parents were years ago by our miscellaneous French lavatory adventures. They spent considerable effort ensuring we recognised the right door to enter (if there happened to be a door), and were totally baffled when sometimes both doors lead into same enclosure. Sometimes, strong willed members of our party would refuse point-blank to strap-hang from porcelain footprints, preferring to risk exposure to motoring France. I have a vivid memory myself – staring out over an unexpected chasm, wild-eyed, bladder-seized, knowing that a momentary lack of concentration would bring certain death – after entering what appeared from outside to be a perfectly harmless hotel toilet.


Has anything changed?   

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I prefer isolated farm gates and the edges of woodland personally

Oh, absolutely.  In fact, close to where we usually stay in France there's a farm track disappearing into woodland that we regularly stop at on our way home from local large town and shopping, etc.  for call of nature, we've grown quite fond of it over the years.  And we have other favourite spots dotted around the SW for such essentials.  You can keep public inconveniences in any country.  M

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