Letter: Tow-rags and acrobatic toes

Sir: John Appleton's letter (18 June) referring to the use of tow-rags to clear up messes in hospitals reminds me of a wartime incident involving a nervous young hospital orderly in the Friends Ambulance Unit.

This young man, new to work on the wards (where apparently tow was still in use instead of toilet paper), was embarrassed to hear a hoarse whisper from behind the bed curtains asking for paper. In his embarrassment he ignored it, as he did two or three further requests. Finally he blurted out "use your tow", provoking the swift and angry reply "I'm not a bloody acrobat".


Roydon, Essex