Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Dean Bradley Street

So I have started to cycle in to the office again for the final few days I'm here. All well and good, except that there's a refurbishment of the changing rooms taking place at the moment. This means that I am forced to use one of the smaller showers located around the building. The one I like the best always seems to be occupied (for, I suppose, fairly obvious reasons) so I then just go to the next nearest one, which is actually inside one of the gents' toilet blocks on the 6th floor. It's not ideal, because the space in which to change is so cramped. It's almost impossible to arrange comfortably one's cycle bag, office clothes, towel, sweaty shirts and shorts and all the other paraphernalia, and it is very difficult to squeeze into one's shirt.

This morning did not constitute the best way to start the day. In order to make some space, I stepped into the shower before turning on the water. I was about to turn the lever when I thought better of it. Conscious of the potential freeze/scald hazard, I quickly stepped out again, carefully avoiding the clothes lain on the floor just outside, and turned the lever, allowing the water to cascade safely and checking the temperature with my hand before stepping in again. However, in doing so, I forgot about the lip at the bottom of the shower cubicle, and caught the third toe of my left foot as I stepped back in. Looking closely a little later, I saw that I had actually slightly cut my toe, which really pissed me off. But worse than that, I was becoming aware of an urge which I had thought was safely suppressed, realising with alarm that this was definitely not the case. Indeed, the head of the turtle was beginning to emerge from its shell, and no amount of buttock clenching was about to prevent its stately progress. I was in a quandary (almost a quagmire, one might say) but could not dilly dally too long, so I quickly grabbed my underpants and dashed into the toilet area butt naked, making a beeline for the WC. I was in luck. There was nobody else around, and I safely made it to the point of evacuation, doing my best to hurry the process so that I could get back to the shower before somebody did arrive. Again, I was in luck, and was of course even able to fully clean up any collateral damage under the hot stream.

So, relatively speaking, and notwithstanding the slightly gashed toe, all well and good. I contorted my middle-aged body as best I could into my clothes and gathered my belongings together, heading back to the now smelling WC to put on my shoes and socks, where one last surprise awaited me. I have been caught out before, but it's easy to forget when in a hurry. This being the Department of the Environment, there are many sustainability initiatives in place. One such is the installation of infrared flush activation in many of the toilets, and it is too easy to accidentally waggle one's arse or arms across the beam, causing the bloody thing to flush. Which is not so good when one is wearing one's trousers.

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