Berry & Green

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In Praise of Public Lavatories

Comrades. I am writing this on the toilet*.  

When one becomes freelance, no longer desk-chained, the world opens up in strange and magical ways. For example, one advantage of not being office-bound is that I am much fitter. No desk, more movement. Ergo fitter.  

In addition, I see more stuff. I can go to galleries at 10am when everyone else is stuck under strip-lighting, in meetings or watching the clock until lunch. The other day I noticed a statue of J H Greathead. Having no clue who he was, I looked him up. Turns out he was instrumental in creating the London Underground. So they built a statue. Brilliant.  

One of the interesting quirks to freelancedom is a new-found appreciation for public lavatories. Those of you in offices would never give this a second thought but for the rest of us (we happy few), the topic takes on gargantuan importance, particularly after a long meeting with copious water  

There should be a guide - maybe I'll write it - to the best and worst places in London for a quick flash-pooh (copyright Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Hotels are usually good although you have to look as if you're there "on important business". The Langham Hilton, for example, is a joyful oasis in the West End - in the front door, turn left, down the stairs.......bliss!

Shops are sporadically handy - yes, I mean you, Marks & Spencer Moorgate - and railway stations are a mixed bag. Liverpool St is a 30p lottery where you can occasionally find a cubicle with a functioning lock. Piccadilly Circus appears to have Bulgarian people living in the cubicles. They've even put up net curtains.  It's homely but non-conducive to a relaxing experience.

The gleaming jewel in the porcelain crown is the 50p WC at Bank station. I am rarely at Bank station but have, of late, been known to go out of my way for its delightful cleanliness, peacefulness and all-round Britishness. Bravo, Bank station toilet.  Long may you flush. 

* I'm not really.