Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Loo of the Year

‘Loo of the year’ award 2004 (http://www.loo.co.uk/m_awardbg.html).
InterPublic Urban Systems, providing toilets for West Wiltshire and Mendip District Councils won best public toilet 2004, and The Centre, Milton Keynes had the best baby change facilities.
I have visited quite a lot of public toilets in my time, more than most, according to friends, but I have never visited one that deserves an award. Most recently, yesterday, I found the customer toilets at my local supermarket, hidden away in the wine section. Is this the most likely place you will need a toilet when doing your food shopping? I don’t know, we where just getting bread and fruit, when my 2½ y.o. decided that this was a good time to need the toilet. Some might say he takes after his mother.
In 1991, or maybe it was 1992, I went to visit a friend who was an Au Pair in Berlin at the time. I only went for a long weekend, but it was quite an eventful weekend. After having my walkman and cash stolen on the journey, and having to report it to the East German police, walked in the middle of the road, in the rain, with my suitcase to see the remaining bits of the wall, my most vivid memories of this trip were the public toilets I visited. The most bizarre being what looked like an old rail cattle truck in the middle of a forest, but turned out to be a toilet. Though most shocking to my friend, the Moevenpick restaurant toilet, where we had to trek straight through the restaurant to get to what turned out to be a tiny dark room doubling up as a toilet.
In some of the hotels I have worked at the toilets where called cloakrooms and you would enter into a room with vanity mirrors and soft seats where you could freshen up and from there you could enter into the toilet facility with linen towels and little soaps with logo’s on them.
But what makes a good toilet?
When I was about 12 my family and I where visiting Venice when I desperately needed the toilet. That was until the only toilet we could find turned out not to have an actual toilet seat, but merely a whole in the floor with footplates either side. Not my idea of a toilet.


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