Out There: My dream trip almost went down the toilet
As I get older, and it's happening at a more rapid pace than I would like, all sorts of age-related nightmares are occurring in increasing numbers. Like needing a loo fast. Really fast.
I was in West Cork recently and decided to take a trip over to Dursey Island, something that had been on my bucket list for some time. Now I'm not a great one for handing my fate over to others - like the pilot on a plane or the person who works the roller coaster. I like to be in a certain amount of control. No point in asking for trouble. So going over water in a cable car when you can't swim isn't the best idea. And it certainly isn't when pure, raw fear brings on a very, very strong desire to go to the loo. My stomach cannot take those levels of stress without repercussions.
I screamed all the way over, convinced I was going to end up in the water. My friend took numerous photos of me in various states of histrionics. They are not flattering.
But it's when I got to the other side that the real trouble started. "Where is the toilet," I asked the nice lady who was selling coffee out of a van.
She looked at me pityingly, clearly able to read the impending anguish and assured me there is no public toilet on the island. "No toilet," I repeated in a voice that was no longer my own: deep, menacing and trembling all rolled into one.
A queue of about 50 people had already formed for the return journey. Six is the maximum capacity and it takes 15 minutes. So by my reckoning I had to wait at least two hours for a loo.
My friend was obviously getting embarrassed by my evident discomfort, which was apparent to all and sundry in the queue, and he went off for a walk.
It all got too much for me and I quietly approached the coffee lady and asked her for the keys of her car and the keys of her house.
She handed them over with joviality and I got to see the whole island. My friend didn't.
He was raging.