Pillow talk

Café RenoirUnless we have some particular activity in mind, we like Sunday to be a relaxed day. So we started by taking the trusty 214 to Kentish Town, and there had breakfast at Café Renoir. It’s a nice little cafe with a calm atmosphere and Renoir-inspired paintings on the wall.

Gazing lazily around, we spotted a notice that drew out attention to an interesting cooperative project that Camden Council is running with establishments like libraries and cafes. When you are out and about, are you ever caught wanting a toilet and not being able to find one? I think this happens to most of us at some time. One recourse is to go into a pub or restaurant, buy a drink and use their toilet. The Camden plan is that certain establishments will make their toilets available to the public free of charge. I assume the Council contributes to the upkeep of the facilities though this was not spelt out in the notice.

This reminded us of the civilized attitude of pub and cafe owners in the Netherlands: for a small charge (usually 25 euro cents) you can go into such a place and use the toilet without buying a drink or a meal. Customers are of course allowed to use the facilities free of charge. The Camden Council plan sounds like a good one to me, as long as the public does not abuse it.

Having fortified the inner tiger, and done some shopping at Pound Stretcher, we headed south again because Tigger had An Idea.

Do you listen to the radio or music when you go to bed? Some people do but others of us prefer quiet. Tigger likes to listen to the radio as she is gathered into the arms of Morpheus so I have to listen to it too. The radio is on a timer and goes off after an hour, but that is an hour I often spend waiting for the noise to stop so that I can go to sleep. Hence Tigger’s Idea.

Tigger had discovered the existence of a pillow with a built-in speaker. It looks like an ordinary pillow except that there is a wire hanging out of one corner. Into this you plug your MP3 player, the radio, or whatever sound system you like. When this was explained to me I was sceptical as I thought that the sound would still vibrate through the bed and into my pillow. One way to find out is to try it. So off we went to the Camden Town branch of Argos, the catalogue store. There Tigger bought a Sound Asleep pillow.

I was still sceptical, so of course, we tried it out. I was impressed. If you turn the volume up loud, then, yes, I can hear it too, but at 25-30% power, Tigger can hear the radio clearly and I don’t hear a thing, not even the annoying tish-tish-tishty-tish that you get from personal stereos. Bliss! Modern technology is wonderful. Well, sometimes.

AttilioLater we went for a ramble and on the way back decided it was time to eat. After all, though we had had a late breakfast, it was now 6:30 and we felt it was time for dinner. We found Attilio, a sweet little Italian place in Cowcross Street near Farringdon Station, and enjoyed a three-course meal for £12.75 each. Bargain.

And so to bed. And, yes, the pillow really does work… 🙂


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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5 Responses to Pillow talk

  1. Big John says:

    I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Spain, where it was always the rule that anyone could use the toilets in any bar or cafe and be given a glass of water (for free) if they asked for it. I’d hate to try that in most British pubs.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    Indeed so, though I find pubs in London quite easy to use as toilets for the simple reason that they are usually big and busy. As a result bar staff haven’t the time or inclination to check on who is coming and going. The main problem with toilets in city pubs is the filthy state they are often in, not so much because of lack of care on the part of pub staff but because of the bad habits of customers.

  3. Ted Marcus says:

    In American cities and suburbs, the simple solution for the traveler in need of emptying is to visit a McDonalds or a similar fast-food emporium. Although officially the loo is for customers only, they usually lack the staff to strictly enforce the policy. And it’s not uncommon for legitimate customers (particularly those who are alone) to visit the loo before placing their orders for rather obvious logistical reasons.

  4. SilverTiger says:

    The same holds true here though I didn’t realize it until someone I was with used their facilities. I have done so myself a couple of times since then.

    There are not as many branches of McDonald’s here as there once were and many are quite small. Their popularity seems to have taken a dive. Good thing too.

  5. Pingback: Caught short… « SilverTiger

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