Today is the last day of my 12 Christmas toilets, and as I sit here at 10.30pm stuffed full of Lindt truffles and feeling a little sick, I have to wonder what universal and life changing lesson have I learned from this experience? The answer? I’m not a fan of any present that involves live birds and making yourself go out and do things is healthy for your brain.
As his final gift this year, my true love gave me a traditional partridge in a pear tree. What a shit present. Yet another bird and a small fruit tree. I asked for roller blades. My true love is the worst Santa ever. But I found a more handsome version to replace him at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This one doesn’t have a classy winky eye and ‘come hither’ finger like the Auckland Santa, but beggars can’t be choosers.
I wanted the final night to be something spectacular, something that truly encompassed the spirit of Christmas and what says Christmas more than a port-a-cabin toilet at a fare ground filled with carnies? NOTHING.
Winter Wonderland is a yearly festival held in Hyde park, which for those who are unaware is a fucking huge chunk of pretty grass in west central London. Look at my illegible photo of the entrance sign? It’s moody right?
The carnival is German in origin I believe and (almost) every little part of the setting is gorgeous. The stalls, the bars, the rides, it’s all in keeping and covered with winter-time Christmas decorations.
We drank Viking hot spiced meed and ate bratwurst at a chalet style wood lodge, followed by wandering the park looking for the Haunted House ride. I went on a roller coaster and lost at winning a big plushy donut. It was a great fun, if not a little expensive, evening in the company of people I don’t hate.
If only they had thought it through and bothered to maintain the design through to the toilets (one of my most loathed bathroom improprieties.) But the magic of the park, with all it’s glittering lights and warm mildly alcoholic drinks, is crudely smashed as soon as you walk towards the toilets. You are faced with skips filled with rubbish, wads of toilet paper and quite possibly the most ridiculously positioned toilet roll holder I have ever seen.
When you are sitting down, undertaking your ablutions where is the hardest place to reach for paper? Right behind your head? Yes exactly.
Having no toilet seat is also a real treat in the middle of winter.
The alleyways which lead to the porta-sheds are more like back street crack smoker accommodations than the personal facilities of the happiest place on earth (if there is no Disneyland which there isn’t in London). However, they did provide baby changing facilities which was a pleasant surprise.
The porta-shed loos were as you’d expect, grubby, over used, under cleaned and full of a questionable amount of wadded up toilet paper. Thank the Lord I had my gorgeous friends to make everything better. Them and alcohol.
Cleanliness : 4/10 It was over used and they didn’t seem to have employed any attendants to keep the place looking decent which was odd because staff seemed to be one of the things the park had in abundance.
Interior : 4/10 I have been to many music festivals, so I know what to expect when it comes to porta-loos and these porta-shed things, but honestly I expected better from Winter Wonderland. Yes, it is a free carnival which millions of people will attend, but when you see the extent to which they have designed, decorated and animated every tiny morsel of your festive experience, it seems like a massive oversight to have totally forgotten to do anything at all about the bathrooms. Then again, if I were panicking I would feel ok about using these loos, but only because no matter how unwell I was (at either end) I couldn’t really make more of a mess than some other customer is likely to over the course of the evening.
Exterior : 8/10 Overall, I had a great evening at Winter Wonderland. We ate and drank and went on some rides. It was immersive, festive and filled with expensive treats. It’s just a pity they haven’t thought through the whole experience.
Safety : 6/10 They have big signs up everywhere warning you to not keep anything valuable where it could be pick pocketed. Big free gatherings are rife with dodgy humans who were never taught the difference between been a decent human and being a fucking cunt.
Snugglitude : 2/10 The 2 is because the park was a fantastic experience, but it gets a low score because I’m scoring the toilet not the carnival in general. I don’t have enough time to start another blog which covered “all the stuff I like generally but that doesn’t encompass toilets or the fact that I’m a bit crazy”.
Total : 24/50 Bad toilet ju ju.