Friday, July 11, 2008

When spending a penny costs a mint

BritGal Sarah runs a blog in which she talks about her upheaval and relocation from Merrie England to Tornado Alley in Oklahoma. One nice little feature of the blog is that she explains odd little British colloquialisms like 'Two and Eight', 'Not on your Nelly' and, just recently, 'Spend a penny'. If you don't know that last expression it means to have a wee. Or a pee if you're American.

In ye olden days, when I was a child (I do remember this) and decimal coinage was still just over the horizon, public lavatories were accessed by paying a penny. This was the old English penny, from the days of Pounds, Shillings and Pence. It was a big, heavy coin, reproduced here around 10% larger than life-sized.

Once decimal coinage came in at the start of the 1970s, the only similarly-sized coin was the two pence piece. So all of the loos were converted.

But Oh, how inflation has caught up with the public bog. I saw today that the toilets at major London rail terminals like Euston, Paddington and Victoria have all just put their entry prices up to 30p. Thirty whole pence! Nearly a third of a quid just to empty your bladder!

Outrageous. I walked outside and used the nearby McDonald's.

Social satire? Or biological necessity? You decide.


willow said...

I'd say that's a pricey pee...oops, I mean wee.

BritGal' Sarah said...

Thanks for the plug Stevyn and thanks for clearing up when that stopped, I could not remember for sure myself.

Btw I have not ignored your tag, it's just right now I am not really listening to music - just my mum! I may take you up on it a bit later

Stevyn Colgan said...

Willow - See? You're learning a whole new language!

Sarah - If your Mum talks like my Mum talks, you may be a while ...