Mrs S and I attended a work-related meeting not far from Hannover at the weekend. We set off on Friday afternoon as soon as possible, because we were having a social (= meal in a Mexican restaurant) with other delegates later that evening. I was going to pick up Mrs S from work as quickly as possible to begin the several-hour-long journey. But I ran out of time for various reasons; so much so that I forgot to do that last thing you always do before setting off on a car journey of uncertain duration. Yes, I forgot to go to the loo.
We set off on the motorway; traffic was heavy and weather atrocious; wind, rain and spray impairing visibility down to dangerously low levels. Then we had the not-so-good fortune of hitting plenty of road works. Time passed and I was getting increasingly desperate to relieve myself. There were no service stations, picnic areas or even protective vegetation, and I was getting really uncomfortable. There was nowhere I could pull over to let nature take its course. I was close to panic.
At last I saw signs saying there was a big service station with all facilities possible in 15 kilometres. Must make it, must make it, was my mantra for the remaining distance. It turned out to be one of those places with money-operated turnstiles to access the toilets. Luckily I had the required €0.50 on me.
Despite my discomfort I believe I had that slightly pathetic smile of relief on my face as I stood there, feeling the pain ease off gradually. When business was nearly finished I heard a loud voice from the next cubicle (in German), "That's what I call a bladder!" I tried desperately to control my laughter not to make a total mess in my cubicle. The old English expression "to spend a penny" should really in this case have been "to spend a pound". Never in my life did I imagine I would get a compliment for the size of my bladder!