neon toilet sign

It’s fair to say there have been a few moments in my life that have – at the time – been considered a new low.

The time I injured myself with the vacuum cleaner. That smear test that could have gone better. The leaf blowing incident.

But this latest incident? Friends, I think I’ve not only achieved a new low. I’ve reached THE new low.

This past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. There’s been a fair amount of driving.

If you spend a lot of time on the road, you’ll know there are a couple of things that will inevitably happen:

  • First, you will always realise you need the loo 20 seconds after leaving the motorway services
  • Second, you will always find yourself diverted onto a route with no rest stops at this exact moment

Last Friday, I was down in Rockingham with a client, which was a four-hour drive each way. On the drive home, I was feeling pretty tired, so I bought a big Diet Coke as I set off. An hour or so later, I stopped at a Drive Thru Starbucks and got a large cappuccino. Caffeine would see me through until I got home.

And then it happened.

As I left the services and pulled into the road, my bladder sent a little memo to my brain. “I need to pee.” 

No problem. I’ll just stop at the next services.

Bound to be soon…

I mean just because I haven’t seen one after 10 minutes isn’t a concern…

Or 15…

Bound to be one in the next few miles….

I’m sure there’s a law about how frequent rest stops should be…

It’s 26 miles? 26 miles?

I’ll never make it.

Oh God, I’m going to be the old lady who pees herself in her car and I’ll never get the smell out and then Flea’s friends will want a lift home and I’ll be the Mum who smells like wee.

I decide to use common sense. I’ll look for a fast food restaurant. Because they have toilets and they’re everywhere.

Success! Siri tells me there is a KFC in Sheffield, just 1.2 miles away, off the motorway at the next junction.


Of course, now my bladder knows a toilet is almost within sight, those memos get pretty urgent. “It’s okay,” I tell myself. “I’m like 2 minutes from a bathroom, max.”

Except my sat-nav had directed me to a KFC restaurant in the middle of a bloody shopping centre. There is no way I am going to be able to drive into a multi-storey car park, find a space AND make it to a bathroom.

Nuts. Nuts. Nuts.

I swerve around and started looking for other options. Sainsbury’s! There’s a Sainsbury’s. Bound to have a loo. I can’t see the supermarket but there’s a petrol station in front, so I park there.

I stop the car and reach for my wallet, realising just a fraction of a second too late that my sleeve is caught on the lid of my grande cappuccino.

It tips, in slow motion, and spilled all over my lap. It is SCALDING hot.

Oh my God. Oh my God.

Now, I’ve done first aid so I know that the smart thing to do here is take off my jeans. And to do that I am going to have to get out of my car.

Which is on a petrol station forecourt.


I get out of the car, scurry to the passenger side and open both doors. Once I am standing between them, I peel my jeans off. It hurts, but the cold air lessens the sting. Panic over.

Except now there’s a new panic. I’m half naked, trapped between my own car doors, on a petrol forecourt, next to a major roundabout. Oh, and by this time I’m hopping up and down like a demented Duracell bunny.

I’m wearing a long t-shirt but is it long enough? I’m not sure, I think, tugging it doubtfully. Typical. Of all the days to wear my Wonder Woman pants.

I could sneak back into the car and drive off, but I’m not sure I could make it to the next services without risking major trauma to my internal organs.

I decide to lean into the car boot and grab the cagoule I keep there for rainy dog walks. It’s not very long, but I can wrap it around my waist, and it will at least keep me from being arrested.

As solutions go, I have to say, it wasn’t perfect.

Because it turns out that walking into a busy petrol station at rush hour on a Friday, half naked and carrying a pair of wet jeans is a bit awkward. Especially if you have to interrupt a queue of customers to ask ask where the loo is.

Like I said: a new low.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.