Climate change may bring future catastrophes, wars may ravage the globe and Noel Edmonds may still be on TV – but these global issues are not problems that unduly concern the Gnome. It is the little irritations that matter, the ones seemingly designed to make life just a little bit more unpleasant than it needs to be.
Hand dryers are one such source of such annoyment to the Gnome. It seems a fair proportion of his life is spent in public places with his hands awash with cold water and a veneer of impossible to remove stickyness left over from the hunk of unreconstructed whale blubber the toilet's owner laughingly refers to as soap. In such a situation he looks to the hand dryer to release him from the misery and quickly and efficiently dry his hands.
So often he is disappointed. A draught of tepid air emanates from the machine, wafting a few dust motes lazily around in its wake and singularly making no impression on his wet hands. As if to make things worse these machines have no on/off button, but rely on one's hands being placed at a trigonomically accurate position, only achievable by tapping into a GPS location service.
Why not join the Gnome in a ‘name and shame’ campaign? Let us deride the bad whilst celebrating the good. Let me introduce you to the hand dryer in the Winter Gardens, Weston-Super-Mare… If you are ever in the vicinity, pop in to the gents and make its acquaintance. The World Dryer Corporation, Berkeley Illinois. Model A548, serial number 161287 – a fine example of precision drying. Hot air, a decent amount of time for each push of the button, all in all an excellent service. Thanks you World Dryer Corporation – you have excelled yourself.
In contrast, a black mark must be placed against Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin trains. Now, the Gnome recognises that hand dryer facilities on trains (even in First Class which is of course the only way the Gnome is prepared to travel) are always likely to suffer from space constraints. But is there any excuse for moving to the combined washing system, first pioneered by fast food outlets of the ilk of McDonalds? These machines are truly the spawn of the devil, proving the old adage that a jack-of-all trades can be master of none. Not one single part of their raison d’etre is performed well.
Water that trickles out of the tap so limply it appears to be defying gravity, a soap dispenser seemingly designed to ensure the miniscule globule of soap provided drops into the basin without ever once coming into contact with your outstretched hands and a hand dryer inspiring a degree of loathing from the Gnome generally reserved only for Tara Palmer Tompkinson.
The Gnome has felt more warm breath from an imaginary wood nymph in a particularly interesting 'Lord of the Rings' inspired wet dream than that provided by Virgin rail equipment. Shame on you Sir Richard - all this mucking about trying to save the environment will do you no good when you find the Gnome presiding over your personal judgement day.