Saturday, 23 June 2007

French life 1: les toilettes

I didn't need another visit to France to remind me of the lavatorial comparisons with Bury St Edmunds, but there is nothing like practical experience to reinforce the message. The photograph above was taken inside the car park facilities in the town of Vire. Unusually this particular loo had a door to it, the inside of which you can see above (any translations?) Most don't, especially for men, and passers by have a pretty full view of what is going on.

So the French really do have a reason to patronise up-market bars and restaurants and manage their lives around such visits - or at least the women do. Although even there they very often have to share the area with men and walk past them before reaching a cubicle. We men can be more casual, and of course in France many avoid the problem by simply using any open space that's convenient when the need arises. Just as well, since not all the French want or can afford to eat out.

All this surely puts Bury in an even better light than our already high rating with the The British Toilet Association. Despite French taxes being high (VAT is already higher and charged on food - Monsieur S wants it higher) they don't seem to put much money into this area of their lives. What would the visitor from Vire think of the supervised Angel Hill/Abbey Gardens loos?

12 comments:

Ruby in Bury said...

H 40 ans cherche femme 18-65 pour moments chauds.

40 year old man seeks woman 18-65 for 'sexy time' (A nod to Borat for the inspiration behind my translation of 'moments chauds' there).

Paul, can we do a 'Graham Norton' and ring him up to do a live blog interview with him about writing on toilet walls? (I have feeling your answer is going to be 'how bout no' to that one).

On the subject of writing on toilet walls, no one seems to do that any more. When I was a kid, all toilet walls were written on. The ones in Leeds City Centre were always totally grafiti covered and I used to sit for ages reading the ones at the seaside. Very educational. I wonder why the decline in toilet wall writing? I see the tradition is alive and well in France though.

(Apologies if 'any translations?' was a rhetorical question)

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

No it wasn't rhetorical Ruby, but if I'd bothered to look harder (I never thought of clicking to enlarge) I might have not invited such daring comment. Don't translate the piece above it as I think it is much worse.

I'm all for ringing him up (I see its a French mobile) but I think you should do it - or one of your many lady bloggers - as my voice has long since broken.

david said...

Nice to know that Bury's toilets-too-far are better than those enjoyed by the Normans. Deep Joy!

What's this? 40 year old man prepared to consider a 65 year old woman. I thought 18 sounded about right.

Anonymous said...

What an ofensive picture! I don't think it's really necessary to ask for a translation of "baiser" do you??? I thought this was a serious blog. Clearly it's more of a bog than a blog now...

21st Century Mummy said...

For anyone interested in Bog Blogs here is one:
http://bogblog.wordpress.com/

;-)

My biggest memory of a loo in France was when I went on a school trip in the 80s. I was desparate for the loo and there was no scheduled stop. So the teacher asked the coach driver to pull up at the nearest "convenience". This happened to be the house of an elderly couple. My teacher knocked the door, asked politely in her best French. The lady guided me to an outdoor shed, which had a wooden bench with a hole in it. Much relieved, I came out to see the rest of the coach party queuing behind me. I hope the elderly couple were as amused by this as I was (and I'm glad that my leadership skills have since changed direction) :-)

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

"Too far" David? From where?

Tres embarrassmente 21CM!

david said...

Too far from the Buttermarket and Cornhill.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Approx 3 mins from Corn Exchange.

david said...

Approx 1 min too late if desperate. Even more infuriating, there are toilets in the Corn Exchange but they are locked.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

David, I am confident you can organise yourself accordingly.

david said...

Paul - yes, I do. I start to head off in the direction of Nelson Road approx 3 mins before I need to go. I therefore arrive just in the nick of time.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Well done David.