Dunny Hunting in Covent Garden

dunny (n) Australian colloquialism meaning a (usually) outside  toilet.  Popularly used as a simile e.g. “As noisy as a dunny door in a storm” or “…stuck out (conspicuous) as a dunny in the desert.” 

One day I am in London on holidays; it is Sunday morning and I am walking around Covent Garden.  Suddenly – probably from an unhappy convergence of the English beer and Pakistani curry of the night before – I need desperately to find a dunny.  Not in the next half hour or even the next ten minutes.  Right now. 

The urgency is such that I cannot trust myself to even walk so I stand very still where I am. I open my street map to give some ostensible rationality to my sudden immobility.   

I look around hoping for a sign of a public convenience but nothing greets my cross-eyed gaze.  The pubs are closed; no gallery or restaurant beckons my bowels welcome. Slowly, ever so slowly, I shuffle back towards the tube station thinking surely this will provide relief in the form of a public dunny complete with graffiti and plastic toilet paper.  Right now that would be a sight more glorious than the Taj Mahal. 

Soon, however,  I know that I am not going to make it.  I stand on the roadside, pretending to be waiting to cross.  There is not even an alley or tree in sight.  I am doomed to humiliation and, probably, arrest. 

Then I notice this angry man talking to himself and crossing the street towards me.  He walks by and  then stops as if he has just remembered something.  He comes back and stands in front of me.  He pushes his half-shaven crazed face into mine and yells at the top of his voice, “F#*K OFF!” 

Then he strides off, frequently looking menacingly over his shoulder as if to dare me to ignore his succinct advice. And then I suddenly realise that I do not need to go to the dunny anymore.  I get on the tube and make my way back to my hotel without a murmur from my hitherto loudly aggrieved digestive tract. 

And I think with gratitude of the strange quirk of fate that led me so unerringly to the one crazy Londoner who could scare me shitless.

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7 Comments

Filed under dunnies, humour, life, toilets

7 responses to “Dunny Hunting in Covent Garden

  1. London is certainly not the place to be ‘caught short’. I used to travel around the city a lot in my working days and had a mental ‘map’ of buildings where I could gain access to a ‘loo’. The British Museum was my favourite. 🙂

  2. I am surprised you couldn’t find a public convenience, to give it its old name, in Covent Garden. There is one there and I have used it many times. You have to go down steps to it but it is clearly visible. Maybe it was closed, though that would surprise me too.

    The lack of properly maintained toilets is something of a scandal. Local authorities, who have to pay for them, have closed many to save costs and “solve” problems such as cottaging, drug dealing and vandalism. I think the situation has improved slightly of late. This site may provide a little help to people intending to visit Central London.

    I have become quite ruthless about going into pubs to use theirs without buying a drink. Staff are usually too busy to care. It’s harder in the early morning when many places are still closed but depending where you are you may find Starbuck’s, Cafe Nero, Costa or any of the many non-chain cafes that abound in London. Then there are department stores: they usually provide toilets though these are often on upper floors so you may have to hunt for them.

    The good old fashioned public convenience has in many instances been replaced by mechanized ones which enjoy a somewhat chequered reputation. I have always managed to avoid using these. In some parts of London, male urinals rise from the pavement late at night for the convenience (literally) of late night revellers unable to contain themselves.

    Email SilverTiger

  3. “…scare me shitless”
    Brilliant ending. Absolutely perfect.

  4. I had a few desparate moments while I was pregnant. I’m not sure that being scared shitless, or pukeless for that matter, would have helped, but I’d have been fully game to try!!

  5. Great story! You got my first loud laugh for today 🙂

  6. Silver tiger – I couldn’t say if Covent Garden is well provided for in respect to toilets now. This was a long time ago and my eyes were somewhat blurred.
    Iced Mocha – thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your comments.
    Beauty Walks – Now, pregnancy is a loaded experience, both tragic and hilarious. But I think only a woman can know the full extent of this.
    Radiant Woman – You can’t beat starting the day with a laugh. Luckily I have legs that give me that effect every morning.

  7. That’s the thkiinng of a creative mind

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