I was away at the weekend, camping down in Sussex whilst we attended The Festival Of Speed at Goodwood. If you're a petrol head this is an excellent event to go to, Supercars, Touring cars, Rally cars, Vintage cars, Le Mans Cars, F1 cars, you name it. Unlike at Grands Prix you can get up close and personal around the machinery on display, and also the personnel. Sez Jez came away with Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux's autographs, and also a kiss from M. Arnoux, lucky bugger. We were six inches from the old siver fox himself, Damon Hill, swoon. Seb Vettel was everywhere where Sez Jez wasn't, everybody else saw him. Our old mate Bruce is now best muckers with Jensen Button, Murray Walker is still a motormouth and Sir Jackie Stewart is still the perfect ambassador for the sport.
The weather wasn't too bad, warm and sunny at times, just one or two heavy showers and a howling gale. The tent stayed up alright, in fact far better than some on the campsite, so we were able to sit around in the canopy, snug, warm and dry, drinking vast quantities of ice cold bottled beer, ice from Lidl, 89p per bag! who'd have thought it. We did decide if we actually wanted to put ice in our drinks, Pimms anyone?, we would have to lash out an extra 11p and get the ice from Sainsbury's, there being no Waitrose nearby.
But then the downside. Copious beer equals copious widdles. So off we kept trooping to the loos.
And spending so much time in there I came to contemplate the utter uselessness of the giant toilet roll.
Giant toilet rolls first made a debut way back in the 80s. They were heralded as god's gift to public toilets. Last longer, need changing less often, less likely to run out, cheaper in the long run, more hygenic as they came in an enclosed dispenser, and able to find a cure for the common cold to boot if my memory serves me, or so it seemed at the time.
Its thirty years now and the bastard things are still there.
But if something ever turned out not to be a great idea, then this has to be it.
Because the roll is so big and heavy it doesn't actually unroll very well, so you have to stick your hand up inside the casing and manually rotate the roll until the end eventually flops down. Very hygenic. Then you start pulling and one of two things happen:-
a) you pull hard and unravel at least four feet of the stuff, economical see?
b) you pull hard and the paper snaps off leaving you with 3 inches and the need to stick your hand inside the cover once again.
Then there are the times when the roll has run out. Because these rolls are so valuable the dispensers have locks on, so spare rolls can't be left out cos nobody except staff can fit them anyway. They also can't be left out cos they're quite heavy and if some poor unsuspecting punter tried to lift one they'd probably give themselves a hernia. Elf and Safety hazzard innit?
And of course, you can't actually see if there is any paper left on the roll when you enter the cubicle, so you can sit down, commune with nature, stick your hand up the dispenser, twiddle away for a bit and then discover its grope through your pockets to see if you have a tissue, resort to the bare hand wipe or ,hoping there is nobody else about, gather up ones trousers and shuffle to the next empty cubicle time.
There's only one conclusion I can come up with about these abominations and that is, as us gilies use a lot more of the stuff than the boys, IT MUST HAVE BEEN INVENTED BY A MAN.