A key aggravation of descending into one’s later years is the need to take account of, and manage, one’s bladder and its attendant accessories.
Fighting off the symptoms of ageing is, of course, an admirable but ultimately futile quest, which is why most of us gradually accept the inevitable – in some cases, earlier than strictly necessary – and concentrate on coping. This as an alternative to the trait of boring everyone to distraction by constantly ‘raging against the dying of the light’.
I’ve reached the stage where, these days, in the context of walking in a straight line, my economy rate is about 6 mpg – i.e. 6 miles to the gallon (of urine).
This new factor in my life requires careful planning to be undertaken whenever I am contemplating a public outing. As an example, let me describe my trip yesterday to the Imperial War Museum in London.
As would seem both prudent and obvious, I began by going for a leak as one of the last things I always do before leaving the house. You may as well start ‘empty’.
About seventy minutes later, having arrived at Waterloo Station and been ‘nabbed’ (and fined £5 by an inspector) for using my senior citizen’s Freedom Pass before 9.30am – the truth, dear reader, is that I’d completely forgotten that this was forbidden and had assumed it wasn’t – the next thing to do was, naturally, to head for the Gentleman’s toilet opposite what used to be the Eurostar terminal area.
I can report here that, since I last visited the establishment, the standard charge for using the Waterloo facilities has risen from 20p to 30p.
Because I was by then some 40 minutes early for my 10.30am appointment, I decided to pause at Waterloo for half an hour by having a coffee and a glance at a newspaper.
Knowing that the Imperial War Museum is currently undergoing a major refit in readiness for the 2014 centenary of the beginning of World War One, but not knowing how this has affected its toilet arrangements, I then took the precaution of ordering a double expresso shot, rather than anything as voluminous as a full-on Americano.
Having arrived at the IMW Photographs annexe in Austral Street, I then completed my research in an hour and a half. Next was a quick trip to the facilities there, before setting off again to come home. Reaching said sanctuary, I felt an immediate desire to waddle down the corridor to the bathroom once again, before pulling up my drawbridge and gradually relaxing into the afternoon.
Life’s a funny old game, as that sage Bruce Forsyth once so brilliantly identified.