Home WiFi still down - sorry! But Happy Christmas to all.
Friday, 5 November 2010
Hung out to dry
One thing that often irritates me about pubs is the inadequacy of the washing arrangements. Some people deal with this by simply not washing their hands, but if you do want to, it's often not easy. One of the worst examples I know is a pub in Liverpool pub where the wash basin has the hand dryer immediately above it and both are situated in the short passageway between the gents and the main room of the pub; while you use the sink and dryer, no one can enter or leave. The dryer is, frankly, rubbish too.
I wonder at the mentality of building a gents that can accommodate half a dozen or more people, but which has only one or two sinks, and a single dryer, sometimes over the sink. Hand dryers can often take more than a minute to dry your hands properly, which isn't very useful in a busy gents. If everyone queued for the dryer, you could in theory be waiting 10 minutes; perhaps it's just as well everyone doesn't wash their hands! The best hand dryers I've come across are in Wetherspoons; they dry your hands in seconds. The worst are almost completely ineffectual.
My local has disconnected the hand dryer and replaced it with paper towels, and it seems to me that more people wash their hands as a result. I remember when pubs used to have blue roll towels, and my subjective impression is that more people would give their hands a quick dip under the tap and use the roll towel. I think washing facilities are used more when the process can be completed very quickly; you don't have to queue to wash and dry your hands at home so why should you in a pub?
Another failure is when there is a warning sign over the sink that the water is very hot, but there is no plug, so you have a choice of scalding yourself or washing your hands in cold water. It's not as though a plug costs a fortune.
These are not trivial matters - they are potentially health issues, and I am surprised that some pubs' washing facilities are actually legal, bearing in mind that the staff often use the same facilities as the public, so I would have thought that food hygiene laws would apply. I certainly recall that women would object to going into certain pubs because of the state of the toilets, but nowadays it's an issue men take more interest in than they used to. It's long overdue for some pub owning companies to clean up their act.
For obvious reasons, I can comment only about gents toilets!