Just around the corner on the end of the next street from ours lives a man who runs a stretch limo business. Every Friday he fetches both of his cars, one black, one white, from his garage under the railway arches down in the town. He always spends quite a bit of time cleaning and polishing them and then adorning them with flowers and ribbons for the weekend’s weddings or parties. He is a dapper little man with a perpetual tan who usually wears shorts and deck shoes, no matter the weather, and takes great pride in his work; he does, though, look as if he should be on a marina or quay side in the south of France rather than on the corner of a street on a 1970s housing estate. Anyway, the reason I mention him is that as I walked past today I had to look twice at the limo parked just off the main road because it wasn’t black, it wasn’t white but it was pink, a sort of strawberry ice cream pink, just the ticket for those ‘girly’ nights out. It did, however, look rather forlorn and extremely dusty in the wind and rain with fallen russet leaves sticking to its windscreen. I bet ‘Mr Limo’ had just popped in the house for his sponge and bucket though.
In today’s Guardian the playwright Simon Grey was asked what he would do if he had the money. One of his answers was ‘First, I’d make sure that there are lots and lots of public lavatories in all the towns and cities in the country; properly attended with security guards if necessary.’ I’ll second that and add that can they be open 24 hours a day and be spotlessly clean too? And please, please not those ones where you press buttons, pay and get in and then panic in case you can’t get out again? I have strong memories of P and I driving back through the night from the ferry port at Portsmouth, after a super holiday in France, both upset because we’d hit a rabbit and not being able to find a public convenience that was open for ages and then, when we did, it was one of those ‘tardis’ things, in the middle of a car park, in the dark, in god knows which town because I’ve never been able to remember.