Tag Archives: train tracks

2 August 2017 in toilets | Four stories from the UK

I love local news!


We start in Hull, where a story in the Hull Daily Mail features one of my favourite complaints ever. Apparently, the city centre has been graced with new fountains that children love playing in, but the nearby public toilets have a sign up stating that the toilets are to be used as toilets only and should not be used for drying off or changing clothes. According to the council, wet floors in the toilets were a safety risk, but local resident, Mr Smith, does not believe them. He says, “I suspect that the prospect of people in Hull having pleasure was too much.” Too much.


Wet children in Hull – photo from Hull Daily Mail


KL FM, a King’s Lynn radio station, reports on a toilet story from Wisbech that I don’t exactly understand. Apparently a man got stuck in the public toilets for three hours. The confusing crux of the story is in this sentence “The man had fallen asleep, when a woman heard him banging on the doors.” Was he knocking in his sleep? Anyway, the police were called but couldn’t release him and eventually the fire brigade managed to extract him. Wisbech Town Council say nothing like this has happened at these toilets before.


The Times reports on train toilets. I was surprised to read that in the UK, 500 trains still flush effluent directly onto the tracks. Gross! Thankfully, for the health of the people whose job it is to clean the tracks, the Department of Transport has announced a change in the law meaning that this practice has to end by the end of 2019. Yay!


Finally, an abandoned monkey. The Metro claims that “an international hunt is underway” for the child that owns a cuddly monkey toy found in the women’s toilets in Gatwick Airport. In reality, it’s just an airport employee tweeting a photo of the monkey in question asking if anyone knows its owner, but still, it’s a cute story.


The as yet unnamed monkey – photo from Metro, originally from Victor French on Twitter


The Queen, a chicken, some porta-potties and an angry mayor

Today’s first story involves poo and the Queen of England, and therefore cannot be ignored. The Edinburgh Evening News is running a story about a historic steam train whose first passenger was the Queen, and which has carried 6500 “railway enthusiasts and day-trippers” since then. The trouble is that the train, which is confusingly called “the Union of South Africa”, even though it runs between England and Scotland, doesn’t have toilet waste containers, like a newer train would, and so the tracks have been littered with poo (possibly including valuable royal poo), which the railworkers have to scrape off. Understandably, they are very annoyed by this, and to mark this, the Edinburgh Evening News ran the story accompanied with my favourite type of picture – a person looking sad next to the thing that made them sad, in this case rail trade union official Michael Hogg, next to a train.


From the Edinburgh Evening News

I feel sorry for the railworkers in the last story, but even more sorry for this poor chicken, who was found dehydrated in a toilet in a 24-hour betting shop in Morden, South London. LBC reported that the chicken was rescued by the RSPCA, who said she had been mistreated for some time and they are caring for her. They have called her “Armitage” and we wish her all the best in her recovery.


Armitage – photo by RSPCA, seen on LBC.co.uk

I had never heard of Corvallis, Oregon before today, but it showed up in my toilet newsfeed because of a “public defecation problem”, as reported in this story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The problem could of course be more properly described as a homelessness problem, rather than a defecation one, but it is good news that the council has decided to pay for two more porta-potties (American names can be very childish sometimes, and a porta-potty sounds kind of adorable) at a cost of $1320 per year.

Another town I’ve never heard of is Gisborne, New Zealand. Its mayor is very angry. Very angry indeed. This story from the Gisborne Herald about a rant from the mayor about some filthy public toilets deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are some of the choicest morsels:

GISBORNE Mayor Meng Foon is running out of patience with “dirty, grubby people leaving inappropriately-placed bowel movements at the district’s public conveniences”. That’s right. He said “inappropriately placed bowel movements”. Public officials talking euphemistically about shit is one of my favourite things.

“I have personally witnessed poos and urine all over the place,” he said.

“I take pictures and send them to my councillors during tea time.”

And you think your boss is difficult to deal with.