Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Retractable, Double-Barrel What???

We recently spent several days each in Denmark & in Holland.
Countries which share a lot, like general flatness (if not downright concavity), lots of water, thatched roofs, ubiquitous cycle-tracks and friendly natives who speak better English than the BBC these days.

One area in which they are radically different though (apart from the Euro) is Public Loos.
In Denmark, it is hard to find yourself out of visual range of a WC sign & if you investigate you will certainly find something free, clean, tidy, unvandalized, well-lit, with loo paper, spare loo rolls, sink, water, soap & probably hand-drier.
In Holland, there seem to be no public WCs at all!
I finally went into a Tourist Office to ask what was the secret & was told "Railway Station".
Sure enough, if you can get to a station, pass the barriers, wait in the long queue & find a 50 cent coin, then you are happy.
Otherwise, you can try asking in a restaurant or café.
Several have notices specifying 50 cents to use the loo for non-customers.
Actually quite an intelligent solution if generalized & advertised.

For half of us, at least in big towns, there is a variety of pissoirs...
Usually of traditional French style - just a scroll of steel plate at midriff height & a nasty smell.
Sometimes more arty, like this elegant inclined affair with explicit logo.
Rarely, like the heading photo, an ultra-modern device, with 2 work-stations but little privacy.
When not in use, the whole thing retracts into the pavement!
At least you hope it is only when not in use...

I did a bit of Googling on this & found an old BBC article saying 3 of these devices were being installed in Newquay, Cornwall.
Not dated April 1st either.
More Googling showed they were closed soon after:

Parting thot: "There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs." - Thomas Sowell