Don’t flush pounds down the toilet ...

Wigan North Western station is having a refit, wok is being undertaken to improve the subway, stairs and toilets at the site
Wigan North Western station is having a refit, wok is being undertaken to improve the subway, stairs and toilets at the site
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IS it going to offend you if I spend this week’s column talking about toilets?

It is?

Tsk, would you mind not reading then? I’m low on ideas and I’m tired from too many seasonal drinks and, well, it’s Christmas next week and I’ve got it off for the first time in years - I’m demob happy.

Aren’t we all, though? Isn’t December essentially one long Friday afternoon?

If you’re not winding down by now, if you’re not metaphorically loosening your tie and sticking your feet on the desk, you’re working too hard. You’re making the rest of us look bad. Go and get the kettle on.

It’s Christmas, and that means the bosses expect us to spend our time avoiding anything that even hints at work and instead concentrate on the important things in life. Like watching a store Santa fall over on YouTube.

What? They don’t expect that? Tsk, what a set of suits.

Still it’s a good job I was surfing the old interweb this week because that’s how I came across what is perhaps the most fascinating research of the age.

It’s about toilet habits so this is where things may turn tasteless - but it was reported in The Times so it’s all scientific and everything.

Not that causing offence would have bothered me once. The more people I offended, the better. Nothing shows people are reading like hate mail. I was certain of my opinions, and certain too if you didn’t agree, you were wrong.

But these days...well, you grow up, don’t you? Realise you don’t know now what you thought you knew then. Or at least you do unless you’re, like, Jeremy Clarkson.

So, talking of turds, the research discovered that British school lavatories are so awful a quarter of children try to avoid going near them and less still ever consider having, ahem, a longer stay.

Sidestepping what that suggests might be left lurking in quiet school corridors, the academics concluded it was a social tragedy young people were not being provided with adequate bathroom facilities.

And I thought: no it’s not. You’re missing the point, you boffins.

Because, as a kid, it wasn’t the horrible toilets that filled me with horror, it was the thought of using any throne that wasn’t the one at home. I wasn’t alone. There was huge social stigma attached to the bog.

I remember one lad making use of the facilities at first school. I remember it because that lad was still being mocked in sixth form.

Strange because, as an adult, there seems to be a (male, at least) consensus that there are few finer pleasures in life than a drop-off on work time. In The Star’s premier male cubicle, there is (I kid you not) a selection of books, several of the day’s newspapers and, until the smoking ban, probably an ashtray and automatic lighter too.

I guess that’s down to growing up too. Maybe Clarkson still refuses to visit the Top Gear gutter.

In any case, let me use this column - which, itself, has been referred to as toilet paper often enough - to tell Times-reading education chiefs that children don’t need pounds ploughed into perfect pots; they just need to be allowed to be kids.

Perhaps there’s a metaphor there somewhere. Perhaps I’m clutching at straws ahead of my holiday. Either way, for now, for me, it’s back to YouTube. Have a great Christmas.