On the seventh day of Christmas my true love seemed to lose the plot a little gift wise. He began weighing rather heavily on poultry as a means to express his love and adoration. I don’t pretend to be a relationship genius, but when a man hands you unsolicited live birds as part of your Christmas surprise, you might need some couples counselling or to start seeing other people.
So, rather than focusing on the seven swans now living in my closet sized, inner city bathroom, I’ll rate a pub toilet instead.
On moving to London, you will soon realise that there is a traditional style pub approximately every block. When living in London and suffering with agoraphobia, you will soon realise that these pubs may very well save your life (or sanity).
The traditional British pub is a lighthouse on a stormy sea. The saviour of so many ill fated country ramblers who would otherwise be stuck on a hill somewhere, wondering why they decided to spend their Sunday afternoon trudging through a muddy field in increasingly damp socks and wind chapped cheeks. The number of times I have popped into a pub to use the loo is beyond count. These stalwarts of the high street have saved me from social oblivion many times, and today I will thank them. Yeah, cheers guys.
The Swan, just off Russell Square, is not in any way a special pub or even a particularly remarkable one. Other than the name fulfilling my needs for today’s Christmas toilet, it had no identifiable standout qualities.
As with many pubs of the same age and style, the physical space is limited and what is available has been used poorly and in odd configuration. During our 5 minute whistle stop tour of the facilities, I spied the women’s bathroom at the end of the main bar. The first door opens into a tiny, pointless lobby, then a second door into a set of sinks then the lone toilet hidden away at the back. I am a fan of privacy and a toilet that is set away from the general thoroughfare but three full floor to ceiling doors is a little extreme.
The bathroom was so small that it was genuinely difficult to get a decent photograph showing it’s minute proportions.
The flowers were fake so at least these vibrant peonies will dust before they wilt.
Cleanliness : 7/10 Seemed clean enough.
Interior : 6/10 One toilet isn’t my preference because there is always the fear that some one else will be waiting to use the loo. But in spite of the diminutive size, this loo was by far preferable to the nasty toilet I used a few hours later at Starbucks near Tottenham Court Road; 4-5 people waiting at all times, dirty and no toilet paper.
Exterior : 8/10 We came across the The Swan when I was walking near Russell Square with my very jet-lagged friends. On seeing the sign, my friend screamed SWAN! rather than just pointing or motion towards the pub. Severe jet-lag is a little bit like you’re sobering up after a very hard night out and you don’t really understand how your brain and body are connected anymore. It’s genuinely hilarious to watch from the outside.
Safety : 6/10 The pub is in the center of the city so it’s quite safe, but you never know when some football team will lose and you might get glassed in the face Begby style for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Snugglitude : 8/10 I guess snugglitude-wise I’m not really rating the toilet it’s self but my overall feeling of enjoyment at seeing people I love and having them encourage or even put up with my weird hobby of photographing toilets.
Total : 35/50