A loo, a loo. My kingdom for a loo...
There are those who might say that Soraya Porter has a fixation with PCs - no, not personal computers, but public conveniences - but for those of us who suffer terribly from pre-competition nerves, they are an essential part of any competition. If you spend a large amount of your time occupied in visiting these ‘conveniences’, it is possible to become quite an expert in all aspects of the ‘lavvy
Any seasoned competitor soon develops a ritual pattern for visitation.
first run dash
Big mistake! Now there is a queue. In fact it’s not a queue, but a practice for the town’s biggest Conga line. It’s not even a solely human queue – there are dogs there too! Why? Isn’t the exercise area big enough?
So you stand in line, wondering if you can get round twenty obstacles without losing control of your bladder, whilst shouting frantically at a fast receding hound. Wondering if you should brazen it out and walk into the Gents, wondering...
Finally, you’re there. Into the cubicle you dash, sighing in relief you then discover there is no loo paper. You call in a strangled voice for someone to strangled voice for someone to lob you some toilet tissue.
This has one of two results. Either you suddenly feel like you’re sitting on a loo (with your trackie bottoms round your ankles) in the middle of a ticker tape parade as loo paper rains down on you from all directions. Or ( and this is more common) you sit there in splendid isolation feeling like you’re the only person in the world as you’re met with a deafening embarrassed silence. After all who else wants to admit that they’ve used the loo with no paper or, worst of all, that they’ve just used the last piece?
Having managed to carry out your ablutions in time to still run your first event, you are now vowing to last out the rest of the competition without going to the loo. You start to limit your liquid intake, despite it being a boiling hot day. This doesn’t last though. Eventually, you have to drink something, because even the much-slurped water for the dogs provided at all the Trade Stands is starting to look enticing.
Mini handlers complaint
Paper towels are stuck to every conceivable surface, and none are in their receptacle. At least one door is hanging from its hinges and it’s not the same one as the one missing its lock. All toilet rolls are missing from every cubicle, but some thoughtful soul has provided some from their own stash. Sadly half of this has succumbed to the same ailment as the paper towels, and are stuck to floors and other inappropriate surfaces for the general dismay and confusion of would be users.
The soap has become a master of disguise, and those few examples left have either transmogrified into bad jelly like props left over from an old Doctor Who episode, or, more scarily, decided to grow a winter coat for the more inclement weather ahead, and are now adorned with a variety of hair and grot of all colours and types. Anyone moving too swiftly is likely to be bitten and in need of urgent Rabies jabs.
First up is a common one – the cracked loo seat. This comes in two forms.
For the strong willed this is the answer, but sadly, all too often, the pain is such that you pull away, inflicting a bad bruise at best and, at worst, ripping the seat from the loo which remains firmly attached to your behind. Not only are you in pain, but also you’re officially a loo seat ripping vandal!
I have noticed this does seem to be a habit of elderly ladies with small dogs. Is this the agility equivalent of Alzheimer’s? You have been warned.
Moving on to fixtures and fittings; be sure to check you locks AND MAKE SURE YOU OPERATE THEM CORRECTLY. This is particularly important when making use of the less popular form of PCs - the Portaloo. Remember this door is the only thing between you and the wide, wide world. Humiliation is sure to follow if you do not employ a locks services.
I speak from very personal experience. Sitting with you undies around your ankles, elevated for all to see, is not how I wanted to view the complete stranger who suddenly pulled open my Portaloo door at All About Dogs. Not only did it scar both of us for life, but I bumped into him everywhere I went at the show for the rest of that day.
Lastly, a word to the wise. If you are at a show, try and use the facilities nearest to Jill’s tent. As a seasoned campaigner she has a plentiful supply of toilet tissue and, providing you know the secret password, she may be able to supply you with a black-market roll to smuggle into your cubicle. What’s the secret password? You’ll have to speak to Jill...
Reprinted from the Suffolk Five Rivers DTC Newsletter
Paula Triggs, a victim...