Rate my Pre Match Poo

Our roving reporter Phil “Floater” Richards gives a full run down on the facilities for the Pre Match Poo at all the local swimming pools

Check back each week for new additions and updates.


Introducing Part 1 of this two part mini-series, which sees our roving reporter, the Floater a.k.a. Poobacker out of his usual, moist poolside environment, sampling the delights of water closets through out the ages – from Tudor times to the ultra-modern.

The Wedding Crasher

Having snuck a wedding invite on a technicality (Weeble’s lack of actual friends), yours truly found himself outside a delightful pub in Egham, sharing a few wedding warm-up brews with Messers Hollah and Ogg on a sunny Friday afternoon. Feeling sufficiently lubricated to make conversation to other human beings, we made our way across to the wedding venue, expecting to be tracing our way via the frozen footprints of Mrs Weeble-to-be and her exceptionally cold feet. But no sign of these could we see and therefore it was assumed that all had gone to plan.

As we approached the venue, I could feel my internal combustion engine already begin to kick in. The excitement was too much… first a wedding, and then this. What a venue! Steeped in history, this venue had seen so many historic lavatory trips, that I didn’t even know where to start…

This grand building was erected during Henry VIII’s time for the big man himself as a fancy music festival Portaloo and en-suite shower facility to retire to for some peace and quiet. Usually visited following the 1,000,000th recital of Greensleeves, the no. 1 16th century chart topper, it certainly had the proportions and finesse one would associate with those somewhat large, presumably ginger buttocks. Countless guests since then must have used the facilities for rest and play, culminating with the finest of the lot – Gimli’s wedding.

I attempted initially to mix with the other guests, suspecting that it would be poor form to rush off straight away for some stinker-tinker time. Notably there were certain members there that were already looking worse for wear, which is always nerve-wracking as they have a penchant for occasionally wrecking the ambience of the smallest room in the house. But we come to that later. I was delighted to introduce myself to the mother of the Groom, who initially looked somewhat puzzled that I had been allowed into the venue. Upon conversation, however, it emerged that she too was an avid reader of the B-Log, and therefore assumed I was there in a strictly professional capacity.

Time passed, and it was no longer good form to ignore the various means by which Mrs Brown was attempting to communicate to me that she was about to lock herself out of the back door, either with or without my permission. I scuttled off to find my Tudor sanctuary for a moment’s reflection, which was only too right and respectful on this, most meaningful and glorious of occasions. Having wandered into various rooms that were not deemed fit for purpose by the staff, who, despite my protesting to them that I was well acquainted with the sight of a 16th century drop-hole having studied these at university in great detail, refused to let me use what seemed to me to be perfectly in-tact facilities, I settled upon a door which looked inviting. I gave the handle a good rattle, and lo and behold, the door sprung open to find a member of the extended Gamble household who had just nipped in to warm up the seat for me. Absolutely stellar service from the hosts’ family – it’s these little touches that make wedding days what they are. I settled down and began to relax.

My peace was suddenly disturbed by a burst of activity, a plethora of swearing in what can only be described as a very common Australian accent, and then a burst of the finest contents that a wedding breakfast can offer. Thankfully in my sanctuary I missed watching the events, but the sound was certainly enough to make me realise that this was not an event to be lingering on. Paying my respects to the vintage nature of the facility, I tested the water cleansing mechanism, and was on my way – staring on the way out at the matter lying in the sink next to the door. Henry VIII would have been proud – this was just one in the long line of exceptional chunders to have spewed forth in this, most ancient of venues.

All in all, the experience was unique – many thanks to Mrs and Mr Weeble for allowing yours truly to report on such a special and memorable occasion.

Bog in Japan

Part 2 of this mini-series finds yours truly on the other side of the Earth, finding solace, tranquillity and celebrating his honeymoon with the (un)luckiest of ladies.

If there’s one thing that a seasoned traveller must research prior to even booking any holiday, it’s the quality of facilities in play at the destination in question. Too many times has one been travelling and caught short only to find that the nearest place of relief being a hole in the ground, or one with no absorbent paper, or one with just a hose attached to a cistern. This would not do for a honeymoon – things must be perfect. This therefore, through extensive research, lead me to settle upon Japan as the destination in question. The highest benchmark for civilised society, with an exceptional reputation for efficiency and cleanliness – what could go wrong here?

Stepping on the plane for non-stop 11 hours of no relief proved to be an exceptional warm-up for the christening of this new destination. Upon arrival though, the dilemma hit – do I rush straight off in the airport? Do I wait for the hotel? Should I try out somewhere more luxurious like a swanky bar?

I settled for the home comforts of the first hotel, in order that I could set my expectations for the rest of the holiday. Waddling into the reception like Edward II in his final few moments, I caused some consternation among the local population, however, this was of no consequence to me. Having no Japanese whatsoever, it was down to sign language to signal to the lobby attendance my intentions. They instantly recognised a man in need and escorted me to the nearest point of relief, in which I instantly felt at home. Never has a truer song lyric been written than by Alphaville with “It’s easy when you’re big in Japan”… and I was going massive. Prior to lowering my posterior onto the gleaming seat, I took a look around at the machinery on the wall. The button array was breath-taking (not an activity I would usually encourage in a WC). Arguably the 8th wonder of the modern world, there were buttons for bidet, backside wash, fountain, music (to mask any unsavoury bottom coughs) with volume adjustments, flush levels, seat heat sensor, auto-cleansing function… you name it! Never have I been so excited, nor will I ever be again. What a visit.

As I  lowered myself down, I felt a certain warmth, not being of my own production, underneath me. I was nervous again – had I just wandered straight into a cubicle after it had just been used? Why was the seat warm? Then it dawned on me – it was automatically heated for my comfort. That was the real icing on the cake. After that I sank into oblivion. It was certainly worth the flight for this alone.

This was Tokyo however. Had I seen the best already? Would our trips to the Japanese Alps lead me to the shores of the proverbial drop-toilet so loved in the French alps? The question was answered with an emphatic NO in each location. Never was I disappointed – time and time again a 5/5 toilet was stumbled upon – in public, private, bar, restaurant – all were to the highest standard. I cannot recommend Japan to the toilet traveller enough – the place is phenomenal.

Now panic not avid readers – your reporter has now safely returned to somewhat more austere amenities, and will shortly be continuing on his quest to find the 2017 winner of Closet of the year… watch this space!


February 1st 2017 – New Year, Same Sh*t

The first B-Log of the New Year…

The new year ushered in a sense of trepidation to your roving reporter; what will it have in store for him? Will there be clean seats, dry floors and papers galore, or will he be staring down the barrel of doom and gloom surrounded by pink-eye inducing particles and smells?

The news from the Chancellor of the Exchequer over the Christmas period was not good – with Brexit in full swing, costs must be cut. And where easier to start than the humble public leisure centre facilities…

I am fully anticipating having to bring my own stash of white sheets as austerity Britain kicks in over the next year. But at least we won’t have Johnny foreigner using OUR toilets and OUR toilet roll and OUR waste removal facilities to disperse THEIR stool. This toilet tourism really has got to stop, and Brexshit was seemingly the only rational response for it.

Our first trip takes us to a centre for education. In a delightfully designed Art Deco College in Walthamstow to be precise. Now this one had been brewing for a while, owing to the dangerous walk that yours truly undertook to get from the tube station to the college via some extremely scary looking buildings and people. The bowels were already loosening through fear…

Having safely arrived in the college, I set about trying to find a quiet, unused facility to go through my pre-match mail in. Having been in many educational establishments before to test various flush mechanisms, I knew there would be WCs abound if only I looked hard enough. The security guard on duty directed me to the poolside changing rooms, but, as soon as he turned the other way, I snuck off down an empty corridor. I know that gag – hiding the best facilities from the visitors and getting me to use the skanky, wet poolside toilets. Not one an experienced away-shitter would fall for at any rate.

I soon found my spot. The door was very cunningly disguised as a classroom (see photo), but I know that room when I see it and walked straight in. Sure enough – I had hit the holy grail. A completely empty and clean room with a plethora of cubicles to choose from. I quickly got to work, selecting the middle seat as a safe bet. The rest, as they say, is history. A peaceful, contemplative and relaxing dump allowed me to gather my thoughts before the big game, and consequentially, the team came out with a big W.

It was a strong start to 2017, scoring as follows:

 1 – Number of toilets for use.

 So so many. If I had paid in installments, I could have ticked the lot of them off, shuffling across the room. 5/5

 2 – Size of cubicle.

Room for a leg stretch, gym bag, and there was a coat peg on the back of the door. Very spacious and well planned 4/5

3 – Cleanliness.

 Given my timing (following from the night cleaning shift) the facilities were spotless. No pink eye particles here… 5/5

4 – Supply of bog roll.

 Again, as if they knew I was coming, the cleaners had added an excess of the white stuff. 4/5

 5 – Phone signal.

 Unfortunately, this was a real let down. Being in the basement meant that I had to resort to playing championship manager due to lack of reception 1/5

 6 – Flush.

 A real Buck Rodgers toilet. One Yank… all gone 4/5

 7 – Acoustics.

 I was alone with me myself and I, the sweet echoes reverberating off the walls. 4/5

 Overall: 3.9/5. Simply outstanding for an educational facility.

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September 29th 2016


Today’s report regards several intergalactic dumping holes spread across a dark and distance constellation know as Hasselt. The report shall be in three sections, due to the diverse nature of these man made compost stations, reflecting their differing terrains, geography, and usefulness.

Part I. The empire strikes back

Following from a 2 year absence, your roving reporter was particularly excited to return to past hunting grounds in search of the elusive perfect tour bottom biscuit. Plying himself liberally with the necessary fibres to ensure happy hunting, sloshing these solid effects down with quantities of delicious Belgium beers, it wasn’t long before a letter was received in the mail from a certain Mr. Shit.

Swiftly exiting the tent (as whilst we were camping near some woods, I have slightly more dignity than Rob “Poopants” Shatman and refuse to fertilise these boreal fauna) I ran over to a hut which, in my experienced eye, resembled a toilet. On nearing the facilities, I realised that I had company in the shape of a certain Mr Penfold determined to get a piece of the action. As we neared, I feared the worst. The hut looked deserted and resembled a metal shipping container. There were 4 doors – which one to pick? I gingerly stepped forward to grip the handle of cabin number 1. Immediately out rushed the Belgium toilet equivalent of a storm trooper waving his hands around frantically and barking away in some foreign language. Being a good citizen and doing my bit for foreign relations, I completely ignored him, pushed Penfold in his general direction and soldiered on. I knew what I was doing – who did this idiot think I was? He’s obviously no idea as to the experience and breadth of knowledge I offer in the department.

However, I walked in and the stench hit me like an exploding cows arse. This was no area to relax – this is the place where people come to die. I must move on. Once more to the breach my friends! I grabbed the next handle. Penfold having finally deciphered what this gibbering idiot was muttering about, realised there would be no light. No problem for the act itself, but significant issues for the post act clean-up. I know the swimming pool was just a stone’s throw away, but I hadn’t near enough Jedi juice in me for that kind of drastic action. Being resourceful, the lack of light did not prove a hindrance. With the aid of a phone, and wedged open door (slightly exhibitionist, but when in Rome…), I succeeded in the task at hand. But the enjoyment just wasn’t there. Still smarting from the poo particles floating around from the next door cabin, combined with my new open-door policy, this was not the type of place that I would wish to spend many happy, championship manager playing minutes working on my latest project. I turboed through the process and exited. The Belgium toilet guard attempted to recoup some coins from me for the privilege but once I reeled off the standards I require for this to actually be classified as a toilet, he pootled away to look for some other unsuspecting cross legged turbo clad young chap.

Part II. The Phantom Menace

Waking up to the delicious post-night-out-in-hot-tent aroma, it was clear that Mrs Brown was knocking on the door and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Putting the previous day’s debacle firmly to the back of my mind I stepped out to greet the day and went foraging. The swimming pool complex was brand new, and therefore I reasoned, the previous day’s facilities couldn’t be the only ones available to the good patrons of Hasselt international swimming pool. I confidently waddled over to the pool, gesticulating to those on reception that I was there to play in an extremely serious waterpolo tournament. But little did she know that I just wanted to sneak in for 5 minutes of peace and quiet behind closed doors. I identified immediately 2 targets – one very bathroom-esque outside building, and the classic indoor pool changing room restrooms. I decided that, since the day was glorious, and there were very few people outside to visit these al-fresco facilities (thankfully the actual WCs had an enclosure around them, but you get the jist) to enter. Open air as it were… (which was very necessary). Down I sat and away we went. Absolutely delightful. Undisturbed, warm, airy, with substantial bog roll of the finest Belgium quality. This was what I was looking for. The rebuilding of the complex was not in vain – this is the stuff that intercontinental highflying travellers dream of. What. A. Treat.

Part III. Revenge of the Sith

I continued to use the above facilities in Part II to great effect throughout the day and at no point was I disappointed. At one stage, someone even popped in before me just to check that I had sufficient paper there to ensure maximum comfort. This lulled me into a false sense of security for day 3. I sauntered into the building on the morning of day 3 with the air of a man who knows what he’s doing. Quick nod to the receptionists (who knew me well by that stage) and off I went. The mission: the third dimension – the indoor toilets. Without a care in the world I turned the handle and heard the distinctive sound of retching. Ah well I thought, someone’s just having a coughing fit – it will pass. Little did I know. On poking my head round the corner, I was just quick enough to retreat to miss the jet stream of chunder spewing out of a fellow polo player’s mouth. The man was producing volumes that could only be measured in gallons. I was impressed. But then realised the disaster – the facilities were covered! He had taken no prisoners here. Absolutely not a dry spot in the whole room for me to rest my weary buttocks. I ran outside and took refuge in the humble abode I had called home the day before, traumatised and disillusioned. It could have been oh-so-good.

Now for the scorings. I will take a cross section through the three locations here:

1 – Number of toilets for use.

There were originally very few cubicles, moving up to a plethora of said items once I had established my whereabouts and the leisure centre floor plan. Of varying degrees of comfort, but the numbers were strong considering the amount of people at the venue. 4/5

2 – Size of cubicle.

Differed vastly, but overall a reasonable space to perform duties. Adequate 3/5

3 – Cleanliness.

This was highly variable between locations. Location I was appalling, location II, delightful, and location III had potential were it not for Barf Vadar destroying the area. 2/5

4 – Supply of bog roll.

Sufficient, with reasonable quality considering it was being used at the rate of knots. Always a pre-tour worry, I could have rested easy here. No need for the emergency supply tucked in my luggage. 5/5

5 – Phone signal.

Pretty good, as the £2 a day roaming allowed me to tuck into unlimited 3G which was very helpful. 4/5

6 – Flush.

Not good in the first one, pretty powerful in part II. It would have to be a flush of biblical proportions to clean part III. 3/5

7 – Acoustics.

In all of them, I could distinctly here the sound of foreign tongues chattering away. Absolutely no peace and quiet at all, but this is to be expected on tour. Nevertheless, noisy. 1/5

Overall: 3.1/5. Good for tour


August 8th 2016

The Panic Splash

I always enter the New Malden Leisure centre toilets with some trepidation, and this time was no exception. This being that I the only relief I am guaranteed during the evening is during those precious 5 minutes of reflection. After that, it’s welcome to the world of punching, kicking and grabbing. I wish I could have just spent the whole time staring at those 4 plastic walls…

As I walk into the dry changing room toilets (the wet ones are a complete no go. Written off long ago as a no go zone by myself and the rest of the body parts concerned with it, this is only for those truly in dire straits. No loo roll, soaking floors (awash with some form of bleach as they chose to clean the changing rooms before we enter) and rather pungent, these toilets would safely rank well down on Floater’s bog-o-meter), I am greeted with a choice of three doors.

Gingerly I open the first door, knowing that my fate, and the fate of the evening lies on what is behind this. Lo and behold – I picked jackpot. Clean seat, non smelly with sufficient roll; this, I decided, would be my home and throne for the next precious few moments of peace.

I lowered myself gingerly down, and then took a note of my surroundings. Architecturally (although I defer to the Flange on this), I would put this down to a classic 70s toilet look. Plastic doors (gap bottom and top for the leisure centre loo voyeur), tiled floors and a ceramic bowl. Absolutely text book, I knew what I was doing here. No one else was in the room (both cubicle and wider vicinity) so I could truly relax and not worry about what Alex Ferguson would call “Squeaky bum time”. All was going so well until I hear the door open and somebody subsequently tinkling away, which in itself is absolutely fine. What followed, however, was nothing short of a disaster.

Suddenly I hear the door to the room open and a loud, female voice shout “is anyone in there?”. The tinkler (which turned out to be Chrissy Mann) then quickly replied “yes me. And there’s someone in the cubicle”. Oh the shame. The shame. She had to wait outside for me to finish which completely put me off my game. Suddenly I panicked and rushed through the whole process. Which was also reflected during the match, and I would not rule out one influencing the other. Seriously low tactics by the opposition.

All in all, this somewhat clouded my judgement of the facilities, and will surely affect the final ratings. We shall see….

1 – Number of toilets for use.

There were 3 cubicles. Perfectly adequate for the job. 4/5

2 – Size of cubicle.

With the ability to perform a pre match stretch due to the distance between ceramic bowl and door, absolutely spot on 4/5

3 – Cleanliness.

Average. Toilet roll on the floor, along with some suspect patches. Could have done with a once over. 2/5

4 – Supply of bog roll.

Sufficient, although I was very environmentally friendly on this occasion so couldn’t test the limits here. 4/5

5 – Phone signal.

4 bars on the 3G enabling plenty of BBC news reading. Excellent 4/5

6 – Flush.

The lady who wandered in to clean wouldn’t have known I was there. 4/5

7 – Acoustics.

This is where it falls apart. The acoustics enabled me to hear the infamous member of staff far too well which completely put me off. Absolute disgrace 0/5

Total: 3.1/5 – would have been higher if it weren’t for ‘the Incident’


July 21st 2016

Double dumping – the Tom Tit Hand-Dwyer Cup

The last week has seen yours truly, the Floater, visiting the same 2 metre squared cubicle in the University of Surrey sports Centre, Guildford, not once, but twice. On two different days. Let me start by saying that if I could, I would make this a weekly occurrence. Both times were, however, due not for the love of dropping the kids off outside of the M25 (letting them breathe the country air) but to a waterpolo match dictating my bowel movements, but this was no hardship. What a treat.

From the off expectations were high. This is the centre in which numerous high profile athletes of late (Olympians, international swimmers, rugby world cup players to name but a few) have all sought the same sanctuarial bliss as myself. I mean these toilets hosted teams from the London 2012 games! They must be glorious. And I was not to be disappointed…

Heading for the ‘dry side’ facilities (I do prefer not to get my feet wet unless I have to), I joked with Weeble as to the forthcoming battle I was about to enter into and how I really needed a handrail on either side of the toilet for extra purchase and grip. As I wandered into the haloed arena, my eyes lit up – in front of me, gleaming in the neon light, was a free cubicle with said handrails! Instantly I John Wayned my way in and got to work. The handrails worked a dream – the ability to grip tightly or less robustly depending on the stage of activity greatly enhances the efficiency of the process. The cubicle itself was excellent – spotless, full of papery goodness and a stupendous flush. As I sat there, I allowed my mind to wander as to how many famous bottoms had already graced this arc of plastic, and I was moved by their presence. I caught a lingering whiff of a post-match curry from a particular professional rugby union player, mingled with the distinct aroma of a box of 20 Chicken Mcnuggets from a certain high-profile sprinter (neither of which can be named to protect their privacy), confirming that I was taking my seat amongst the greats.

All in all, the whole thing was so enjoyable that I went back for seconds less than a week afterwards, to open a pre-cup final good luck letter from Mr Shit. This was no less enjoyable than the first and certainly set up for an excellent final in which, in part thanks to the facilities in question, the mighty Narwhals were victorious and won the coveted Tom Dwyer trophy. We retired happy and contented, with the splashing sounds of po(l)o balls dropping in the water sloshing gently in our ears.

Now for the scoring (average over 2 weeks)

1 – Number of toilets for use.

There were 2 cubicles, however, I know for a fact that the centre is inundated with rooms for reflection. Well catered for. 4/5

2 – Size of cubicle.

Within this, I shall award bonus points for the handrails. The size was perfectly fine, but the handrail addition really went that extra mile in striving for perfection. Genius 5/5

3 – Cleanliness.

Dry floor, no skid marks, dry seat, clean walls – this was the epitome of hygiene. I could have eaten off the seat 5/5

4 – Supply of bog roll.

More than enough for the task in hand. They even topped it up for the return visit. 5/5

5 – Phone signal.

Only 2 bars on the 3G put a bit of a downer on this one. However, they do have Wi-Fi which firmly plants this into advanced 21st century toilet territory. 4/5

6 – Flush.

Slipped down like a delicious cool beer on a warm summer’s day without a trace. 5/5

7 – Acoustics.

Very peaceful. The occasional bottom cough from next door did not detract from the overall bonhomie that these toilets exuded. 4/5

Overall: 4.6. We have a definite early candidate for Floater’s toilet of the year…

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July 11th 2016

Ladies and gents, welcome to the Floater’s Poo Corner.

In episode 1 of this b(l)og, we find ourselves trunks down, legs dangling in the delights of Gurnell leisure centre Gentlemen’s toilets prior to a game against the fighty Ealing Crabs. Having my trusty side-poo Gimli next door gave all the more support for what was to be a truly trying experience due to the fibreous nature of the dinner that had been consumed.

Initially disheartened by having to flush away some nuclear piss that had been left from the previous inconsiderate user, I then grappled in hope underneath the toilet paper dispenser (having often been caught in a position of little to no loo roll and finding this out far too late), and was rewarded with the touch of a near to new toilet roll waiting to be Christened. Lovely stuff.

What followed should not be described in detail, but needles to say, I was able to navigate BBC sports updates freely on my phone throughout due to the 4 bar 3-G signal. With Gimli’s efforts echoing my own throughout, I felt thoroughly at home in this bathroom. Knowing that there was a third cubicle next to me removed the pressure of having to speed up due to a queue of turtle heads waiting and banging on the door, greatly adding to my comfort.

The flush was a one-yanker  – always a treat, and I was able to exit with my head held up high. As a gentleman, I always endeavour to wash my hands, however, this proved to be a long walk from the toilets so I shan’t bother next time.

Now to introduce the Floater’s 7-step toilet scoring system (all out of 5 – 5 being excellent, 0 being absolutely toilet):

1 – Number of toilets for use.

There were 3 cubicles, perfectly adequate for Gimli, Holah and I to shit as a trio. 4/5

2 – Size of cubicle.

Whilst being able to stretch my legs comfortably, I would not have been able to wander around the cubicle to break up the monotony. Perfectly adequate 3/5

3 – Cleanliness.

The toilet had piss in it prior to my sitting down which was disappointing. The floor was wet, which is to be expected as the toilets were opposite the showers. However, I always get nervous that this is actually extreme amounts of piss and therefore tread very carefully. No dumps were left in the loo unflushed bringing the score up to 2/5

4 – Supply of bog roll. Outstanding. I could have produced far more and still had a comfortable wipe. 5/5

5 – Phone signal.

Whilst no 4-G the 4 bar 3G signal was a pleasant surprise. 4/5

6 – Flush.

A Buck Rogers toilet – one yank, all gone. Very satisfied with this piece of equipment. 5/5

7 – Acoustics.

The acoustics were excellent in terms of sharing Gimli’s pain and he mine, however, there was no music being piped through the tannoy which is always disappointing. Very little peace and quiet from the general humdrum of the swimming pool due to the toilets being opposite the main showers. 2/5

Overall rating –Good – 3.6/5

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