Rebecca Front: 'I find myself planning the day around weeing opportunities'

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The Independent Online

The single thing that would improve my quality of life would be more public loos. Not much to ask for, is it? But, living in a city, as I do, you can walk for miles without – if you'll forgive the expression – getting a whiff of one. And while the countryside is a little more permissive in terms of al fresco urination, half the population is not in any position to make peeing behind a tree a convenient option. And let me tell you, if you're not in precisely the right position, it really is best avoided.

I thought about this the other day when my daughter asked me what my favourite iPhone app was, this being her generation's version of "Where do babies come from?", a question pretty well guaranteeing an embarrassing answer.

Imagine, then, her delight when I admitted that my favourite app was – and I do urge you to get it – "Toilet Finder". Not only does the app raise awareness for the charity Wateraid, but it also tells you where your nearest loo is. It's not a flawless piece of software. The "report a loo" function appears to advertise a couple of private addresses, presumably put there as a prank by kids hoping to see red-faced, full-bladdered, iPhone-brandishing strangers turning up at their puzzled nan's house demanding to be allowed to use the facilities. But in intention at least, it is worthy, even though what it tends to reveal is that your nearest loo is, in fact, devilishly far away. Is it any wonder that stairwells in multi-storey car parks pong like a muggy day at Billingsgate?

Of course, you can go to a shop or a café, but if, like me, you feel guilty just using the loo, one can find oneself acting out a ridiculous charade of pretending to go in for something else and merely as an afterthought popping in to the Ladies.

As a result, increasingly, I plan my day around weeing opportunities, seizing them for myself and my children, whether we need it or not, as if it were possible to stockpile bladder-emptiness.

So that's all I ask, a few more public loos. Clean ones, of course. And with easy-bolting doors, because I worry about getting locked in... but that's a whole other story.