Sunday, 30 November 2008

A ship shape and scanty sea shanty

I recently won a lunch and tour of the P&O ship The Pacific Dawn. I'm a huge fan of boats and ships, but up until a few weeks ago the biggest ships I've been on have been car ferries. The ferry from Dover to Calais many years ago was, of course exciting; but it was part of an absolute marathon bus ride I took from Cleethorpes to Zagreb, and the excitement may have been from merely being outside the bloody bus.

Once, from Dubrovnik to Bari, I learned that it is impossible to use a squat toilet on a ferry.

The tour and lunch aboard the Pacific Dawn was to celebrate its first birthday with P & O. The ship itself was painfully, woefully, middle-class, middle-aged, white and straight, and while it was fun for a brief while I don't think I could ever do a whole cruise. Whether by design or good fortune we were seated with the only other gays at the whole event, which made lunch infinitely more tolerable.

The toilets were certainly ship shape, but there was a queue of 4 women in front of me and only 3 cubicles. This was toilet 'rush hour' - between the main and dessert. We had been directed to use these toilets by the banquet staff and I was surprised that they didn't make more toilets available. I can understand that they didn't want people wandering over the ship, but 3 cubicles is pretty measly for a whole banquet hall of people. I wonder how they fare when the ship is full?

Friday, 28 November 2008

Friday Flush 28.Nov.08

Welcome back to The Bog Logger! I've been on a wee hiatus, but I'm back now with news, reviews, and the view from the loo.


There have been a few exciting toilet openings this week. First of all, the famed Charmin Restrooms have opened for the third year in New York. The 20 luxury toilets are serviced by tuxedoed-attendants after each use. Charmin is a toilet paper manufacturer in the US, and the toilets in Times Square have become quite a holiday tourist attraction.

We may not have tuxedoes, but in Australia we had the opening of the country's highest toilets on Mt Kosciusko, and I think they're really gorgeous.

It looks like they've used local rock to ensure the facility complements the surrounding landscape but without sacrificing function for form.

Residents in Peebles, UK, have decided to combine form and function by opting for single occupancy unisex toilets, believing that they are less likely to encourage anti-social behaviour. I'm not a huge fan of these toilets, but I do understand their purpose. The important thing for the people at Kingsmeadow is that they have adequate, clean facilities.

It seems that the people of Atlanta, USA, have not learned from the mistakes of Seattle and have decided to buy $300,000 apiece spaceship toilets. The comments on the article are generally not favourable to the idea. It makes no sense that councils continue to be fooled into buying those expensive monstrosities which intimidate all but the least reputable people. Portland, USA, has a much better toilet solution proposed.

This eco-toilet comes at a smaller price tag of $140,000, runs on solar energy and has panels which are easily and cheaply changed in case of vandalism. They are designed to be 'privacy-reduced' in order to discourage loitering.

And finally, in the UK, a Plymouth man is taking his very serious campaign for more toilets to the European Court of Human Rights. Eric Johns says that Plymouth used to have 67 toilets in 1984. Now, that number has dwindled to 31. The town of Devonport only has 1 toilet. The Court has accepted his initial submission and will hear his case next year.