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Sadly, yet another cleaning industry event has had to be postponed because of the pandemic... This time one more local to me but one that's nevertheless highly anticipated by the hundreds who attend each year and which also attracts the attention of the world's press - perhaps since public toilets still seem to enjoy their own brand of humour, despite being one of the most important parts of our away-from-home activities. Yes... industry colleagues expecting to pick up certificates and trophies at the Loo of the Year Awards 2020 will unfortunately be having to do so away from the joyful celebration, razzle dazzle and toilet humour that make this ceremony so special. This is a real shame.
Public toilets 'across the other side of the pond' are also in the news this week, with the announcement of the 10 finalists in the America's Best Restroom contest 2020. I always enjoy the pictures that accompany the competition's press release. The lengths some organisations go to in ensuring 'guests' have an enjoyable visit astounds me, considering that so often we in the UK encounter facilities which - despite being good - are simply not looked after by the general public. Nor do most of them have money thrown at them either! I wonder whether the fabulous facilities entered into the US contest are sometimes treated with disdain too, or whether because they are so gorgeous and interesting, they're treated with reverence?
During my 20s I travelled across a lot of the US and a little of Canada on a seemingly never-ending series of Greyhound buses, and while the facilities were generally very basic at the many stopovers we made, they were always spotless. That there was often an attendant, probably made a huge difference, but I felt that the attitude of the users in North America was also lots better.
In preparing the two releases for today's broadcast I wondered at the terminology: 'Restrooms' v. 'Washrooms'. Both terms seem to be deliberately avoiding what most of us go into these facilities to do - to 'use the loo' in current speak although many might consider this to be slang. Rarely does one visit one of these establishments to rest and although some of us will pop in just to wash our hands, I think that's probably rare! 'Stalls' v. 'Cubicles' is another one and I can't help but wonder at the origin of 'stalls'. Something to do with horse or dog racing perhaps? If you know the answer, please enlighten me.
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1st October 2020