When you've got to go....
... you really mustn't go
When you've got to go, you really mustn't go
This week I need to talk to you on a delicate subject.
Not that I am losing it, you understand, but there's a risk and it comes at night, in my dreams.
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Fairly often, I have to get up in the night, having imbibed a surfeit of coffee and tea during the evening, but the danger comes when I don't get up.
In short, I dream of toilets.
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In one recurring dream I am walking through verdant pastures. The sun is shining, there are happy families picnicking in the meadow. Butterflies frisk with spring flowers. It is blue sky and green fields as far as the eye can see. But there is a problem. I need to “go” and there is no sign of a Ladies.
Then, suddenly - what is that in the distance? A small white edifice on top of a hill - what could it be? I walk closer. It is a toilet; a single solitary piece of plumbing atop a grassy knoll.
In moments, I am there and then I realise I am surrounded by hundreds of people in a huge public park and I can't use this unshielded facility without breaking any number of public decency and nuisance laws.
From this lofty pedestal, you can see three counties - and they can see you.
Happily, even in my sleep I seem to have a sense of propriety.
In the other recurring lavatory dream, I am in a maze of changing rooms. They seem to be modelled on the ones at my secondary school. Slatted wooden benches under a row of coat hooks, dusted with Imperial Leather talc.
This time I have to find my way through the changing area to the loos. And here they are - dozens of them… ah, but none of them have doors. Some of them are out of order. Some of them are twin loos, presumably for couples.
I wander through, but each time I think I have found one that is working and offers some privacy, there's some bizarre feature that prevents me from using it… Thank goodness.
At some point the dream ends and I wake up, urgently needing to go.
My waking nightmare is that one day, my dream will offer me a capacious and pristine bathroom facility with luxury loo paper and a fully locking door. And that, dear reader, is the day I am really dreading.
Did I mention I am taking part in yet another all-singing, all-dancing theatrical production? You may remember that last year I injured my shoulder, badly bruised my right boob and twisted my knee during a production of the musical Spend Spend Spend.
Considering I became the most frequent entry into the theatre's accident book since it was started in the 1980s, I was surprised and flattered to be asked to take part in this year's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.
As usual, my vanity overcame all obstacles and I accepted the part of Emily, half of an ageing husband and wife (I'm the wife) former Vaudeville act. My stage partner and I have a 40-60 second song and dance routine to perform. The timing rather depends on how quickly I can get my feet to move.
Last week we set one of the big dance numbers and I was required to do a few Charleston steps before standing still for a few bars of music.
I am not a gifted dancer. It is one of the very few things I have in common with John Sergeant.
The extremely gifted and patient choreographer tries to help.
“Right foot, Lynne”
“Opposite arm, Lynne”
“Lynne, that's two to the left, point. Don't take your foot off the floor.”
“You should be standing absolutely still there, Lynne,” she calls, the despair beginning to show.
The thing is, I was standing absolutely still. When you have wobbly body parts, as I do, it takes a couple of bars of music for everything to stop moving after you've come to a standstill.
My number one correspondent, Ron Longland, of Clare, Suffolk writes with an example of daft user instructions:
“Recently I bought my wife a potted plant, a hydrangea. The label must contain one of the silliest examples of silly labelling.
- Place in the light but not in direct sunlight.
- Water twice a week.
- Do not allow pot to stand in water.
- After flowering plant in the garden.
- Intended for decoration not for consumption.”
He asks if it is just him that fails to find the last piece of information sensible and adds: “Perhaps, when all else has failed and all our pension money goes towards supporting retired chief executives of banks we will be reduced to eating hydrangea bushes. At the moment I will forgo that pleasure.
Just in case though, does anyone have any recipes for roast, grilled or fried hydrangea leaves? The flowers will have faded! So will I!”
I am also grateful to Ruth Matthew, of Great Ashfield, Suffolk, for the cutting from a Norfolk magazine that mourns the passing of an old friend called Common Sense. I quote from the end of the piece: “Common sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot…”
By marrying Ron's label and Ruth's cutting together, I think we may now be able to work out who they were aiming at when they warned that the hydrangea was not supposed to be eaten.