In my previous posting I wrote about the mystery of bog paper sizes in public loos. Another mystery crops up when it comes to washing your hands after making use of the toilet facilities.

It makes sense for public bogs to install mixer taps (for American readers, that’s mixer faucets) so that customers can wash their hands in water at a temperature to their own liking. However, British public loos usually have separate taps for hot and cold water, probably because two bog-standard taps cost less to buy and install than a mixer tap. Even so, you should be able to mix a sinkful of warm water, shouldn’t you?

Yes, you should. But you rarely can because almost invariably the sink plug was stolen soon after the sink was installed and has never replaced. You therefore have to wash your hands under running water that is either icy cold or boiling hot, depending on which tap you choose. (Or in many case the choice is between icy cold and icy cold, despite the “H” or red blob displayed on one of the taps.)

A plugless sink offering only dangerously hot water

A plugless sink offering dangerously hot water

And another thing. A further mystery is the increasingly frequent appearance of notices warning “Caution. Hot water”. Why? If the water is scaldingly hot, then the owner of the bog should surely be able to adjust the heating control to reduce it to an acceptable level. But I suspect that these signs are just another manifestation of the “health and safety gone mad” phenomenon, which leads service providers to protect themselves from even the remotest risk of legal action by scaring their customers with alarmist warnings.

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