Beswick was asking about motorway service stations on his show this morning, and it led me to think about the one thing that really pisses me off, not just at service stations, but in any public place. Bad bogs.
You spend ages searching for a bog which has a working lock on the door, and then have to deal with loose or missing bog seats. Then you have to hunt for bog roll, or search your pockets for scraps of tissue. Then you try to flush it, but no matter how many times you punch the stupid plunger, it just won't co-operate. Some service stations have started using ones with a light sensor now, so you just waft your hand past it, and the bog will flush. These are great, unless you are wearing a hi-vis vest, like I do when I'm out on the bike sometimes. The hi-vis constantly triggers the flush which can be rather interesting when you're sat down.
And who designs the bloody cubicles? Do they not realise that when they make them so small that when you open the door it scrapes against the bog seat then it also means that you have nowhere to stand whilst you try to shut the door? I've taken to stepping up onto the bog so I can close the door. Perhaps that's why the seats are always broken... Then there's those nasty little sanitary waste bins. The cubicle is so narrow that the bin has to be rammed right up against the side of the bog, so that when you sit down, you have one thigh resting on the cold edge of the bin. It's not nice! Some places have started to use bins which are smaller in height that the bog, and that's great, but not many places have them yet.
OK, so why you've finally managed to use the bog and extricate yourself from the cubicle, without trapping your feet between the bog and the door, you have to negotiate the washing facilities. Whoever designs those stupid 'press to operate' taps, please have a rethink. You press the button and get a split second's worth of water and not enough time to get your hand from the top of the tap to the water flow, so you end up leaning on the tap with your arm whilst trying to contort your hands under the water. I understand that these taps are designed to prevent people from leaving the water running, but it would be nice to be able to get some water at all! If you're lucky, there will be someone else around to hold the button for you, whilst you wash your hands, and then you can return the favour.
Finally, there's those dreadful hand dryers which operate off a light sensor, so that you have to wave your hands around like an idiot to activate the damn things and then they switch off after 2 seconds so you end up doing a stupid John Cleese-style war dance to get the bloody thing to work. Bring back roller towels!
Designers of public bogs take note: Please make the cubicles a minimum of three feet wide and six feet long. It is better to have fewer, usable cubicles than to squash in as many as you can and make them damned awkward and uncomfortable to use. Sanitary waste bins are not nice to sit upon, please bear this in mind. Make sure the flushing mechanism is heavy-duty and actually works. This is a public bog, not a home one, and it will get a lot of use, so it needs to be up to the job. Please provide at least one cubicle which has a sink in the cubicle. Sometimes, one needs to wash things which one would prefer not to display in public.