Gardyloo!

DSC00079The warning cry of gardyloo* may be ringing through the streets of auld reekie once more due to the latest council cutbacks. In a bid to save a few thousand on the council bill the majority of little black and white – plus pink for girls blue for boys – vaguely art deco sanitary palaces are due to close. No longer will these havens of bladder relief appear like a subverted version of an oasis on the horizon. How many times have I been in the situation of doing a long walk of the city environs – and probably having overdone the tea/beer – have almost cried at the sight of one of these ceramic sanctuaries. I can’t overstate the feeling of desperation, with the lack of a Tena Lady and no pub or cafe in sight. But that means another drink and the vicious cycle begins again…

Of course the whole business of finding relief is going to be more problematic for us women. Apart from the physical logistics, after a certain age it’s certainly more difficult to keep hold. City centre isn’t so much an issue with a variety of museums, galleries and department stores offering sanctuary but stray a little bit further and you’re in trouble.

So what to do? How about a – if not dirty – slightly grubby protest? Gather up your pee and leave it on the Council steps – that should do it! Remember – hurling it from a tenement window may incur a fine…

*gardyloo. It is likely that gardyloo comes from the French term regardez l’eau.Used by servants in medieval Scotland to warn passers-by of waste about to be thrown from a window into the street below. The phrase was still in use as late the 1930s and ’40s, when many people had no indoor toilets.

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