Written by Felicity Ward


The Porcelain Bus

TripAdvisor covers hotels, cities, adventures; even goddamn cups of coffee. But who is reviewing the toilets? Enter Felicity Ward who as a comedian and IBS sufferer takes the state of a public toilet very seriously.

loo-1LOCATION: Starbucks, Brunswick Square.

OCCASION: Treating my IBS to a local delight.

URGENCY: On the Nando’s Peri Peri Chilli Chart this one was “Extra Hot”.

When Mach 5 hits your colon you prioritise. I imagine that’s what it’s like to have children: suddenly everything becomes about them.

IBS is no different.

So when, on a frosty January day, I was having a romantic stroll through Brunswick Square with my fella and IBS wanted a menage a trois, the hand holding stopped and my mission to find a safe place to disembark began.

I am sometimes surprised at the lack of public toilets in parts of London. Local pubs have been bearing the brunt of this burden, but in the last decade or so the multinational franchise Starbucks has shouldered a little of the weight as well.

Although I don’t particularly rate the coffee, and as far as companies go it’s a bit wretched, Starbucks does offer the people of London a lifebuoy in the toiletless ocean that is this great capital.

Unfortunately when I made use of their “customer only” facility it seems I’d caught them on a bad day. Who knows if it was a warning set up to scare away people not buying their wares, but things weren’t good.

Never one to be too fussy as to where I lay my cheeks; I have to say this was a mean feat. A bin decorated with hand towels (inside and out) the toilet roll touching the ground like a dispenser with its tongue hanging out and a sticky ‘I haven’t been cleaned for a day despite what that chart next to the door says’ floor.

It was rough, people. And as I panicked at the distance between the door handle and my seat, never entirely sure I’d locked it properly, I noticed another piece of rubbish that hadn’t quite made it to the hole: a tinny of Jack Daniels and Coke.

Maybe that person was just trying to get through the experience too.

To top off this worst case scenario they had those mirrors that are actually just made of shiny metal so you feel like you’re in prison. How am I supposed to inspect my pimples now? I barely remembered why I went in there in the first place! Oh that’s right: explosive diarrhoea. My bad.

Cleanliness: 4/10. My lowest rating so far.

Smell: Not great. Not offensive, but not great.

Special features: Accessible toilet so they have done some good.

Flush: One of those nice on-the-side push down levers. Very English. I like them.

Music: My ears were filled with blood and fear. I remember nothing.

Recommend to a friend? When the going gets rough; the rough take what they can get.

Overall: 5/10. It still saved me and flushed the paper. Main goals achieved.


  • googleplus
  • linkedin
  • rss
  • pinterest

Written by Felicity Ward

Felicity Ward is an Australian comedian, writer, actor and full time knucklehead, based in the UK.