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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyoneLong time lurker, only occasional poster with a plea for advice. In a couple of weeks I am going for a week's vacation in England (a life-long dream!). Trouble is, for five years I have been inflicted with terrible IBS (C and D alternating), with even occasional bouts of fecal incontinence. Although I am excited about the trip, I am terrified of having an accident. I will be staying with a friend (a local) outside of London, and I am afraid I will have an "accident" while enjoying his hospitality.I was hoping some others might share their experience or advice with me. For one, what sorts of foods should I avoid in England? Are there any local dishes that I should be made aware of? Also, how is the public restroom situation in England, especially in and around London. Are they readily available, or difficult to get to? I also heard some places in England have "pay booth" type toilets, so I am wondering if I ought to be on the lookout.I am probably worrying too much ( in and of itself a danger with IBS, could trigger a serious attack), but I want to be armed and prepared so I can enjoy my vacation.Any ideas are appreciated!ThanksJosh (Whovian)
 

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Hi Josh,England is a pretty good place for IBSers. If you will be doing sight-seeing, the touristy places have facilities. The restrooms are called "Toilets" or "Loo" as in "I have to go to the loo." I once asked for a "restroom," and was sent to the nearest restaurant.
If you travel to the country, most carparks have toilets, as do the carparks in shopping malls. Public toilets are well signed and more common than they are here. Some are pay toilets, I'm not sure of the going rate, but have lots of different coins. It seems to me, but it was years ago, that it was just 2 pence. You may want to carry toilet paper or tissues with you as the tp in the public toilets is like wax paper, very rough and non-absorbing. English food can be very greasy, and this may be an IBS trigger. Fish and chips can be greasy at a chip shop, but fine in a pub or hotel. Do you know what foods trigger an attack for you? Dairy, fatty foods, raw vegetables are common. You may take lunch at pubs, so some safe foods may be Ploughman's lunch (bread and cheese), sandwiches, quiche, fish or chicken. I think beef is avoided at the moment due to mad cow disease. McDonald's is all over the place, and they even have vegetarian meals! Be careful of ethnic foods such as Indian, Chinese, etc. These may be excessively spicy or greasy. I would also avoid some of the meat pies as they can be fatty. If you're eating home cooking, you should be fine. There are lots of Brits on this BB, so I'm sure they'll have some more input for you. Look at the site for Mike's audiotapes for IBS. They may really help you begin to learn to relax and enjoy your holiday without the anxiety www.ibsaudioprogram.com Have a wonderful trip, and enjoy!AZ
 

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Hi. When I went to London I enjoyed going to the small market stores and buy foods I know would not make me ill. I mostly ate sandwiches all over Europe. London had tiny deli sandwich places where the Londoners would stand in line to buy sanwiches and pastries. In Venice, I also ate sandwiches. I ate a lot of bread stuff in Europe. But I never got ill once with IBS. I gained a few pounds. HAVE FUN!!! Try to attend the MIND, SPIRIT,& BODY Conference in London. It happens every May.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Josh.
As a Brit, I have to say that AZ's advice is spot-on!
You're married to a Brit, aren't you AZ?The only thing I can think of which she forgot to mention is ... there are no loos on the London Underground!
However, journey times tend to be short ... Oh, and as well as good food in pubs, which crop up everywhere, they all have easily-accessible loos which the general public can use, although strictly speaking you're supposed to buy a drink. Look for a crowded one.
Hope you have a great time ... May is usually pretty good weather-wise over here. And I recommend a trip on the Millenniun Wheel / London Eye, if you can ... spectacular!
Julie------------------*** Seeking accurate information in the fight against IBS ***
 

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Hi Josh, I'm a Brit although not particularly fond of cities like London - just TOO many people. However, food here is good as long as you avoid Fish and Chips if fried foods bother you. I would avoid MacDonalds, Burger King etc and eat at some decent places. Pubs are a good place to eat and use the loo. There are lots of cafes and delis too. Like Julie said, do make sure you ask where the 'toilets' or 'loos' are as 'restrooms' or 'bathrooms' aren't used here other than in airports. Have fun!susanp.s Lots of chemists around too should you need to stock up on medicines or whatever. Boots is a good one. [This message has been edited by wanderingstar (edited 05-08-2001).]
 

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Everybodt stresses way too much about the situation in London. I am a londoner myself.There are random loos everywhere in london. Some of them are pay loos. AT waterloo station it is i think 10p or 20p, but they are very clean. Yes, underground is a problem. No loos, but normal trains do have toilets on the platforms, though not too good. Luckily, you have just missed the south west trains stike last thurs. I would recommend pub food, especially in wetherspoons pubs. Also, little cafe's and things serve the best baguettes. MacD's, BK and KFC are no different to the states. There is a great Italian in Twickenham called Pasta di piazza or something like that. Mmmmm. Avoid greasy fish and chips, they taste nice but may cause you problems. Chips and gravy is great though. Definately go on the london eye! Madam toussauds is a waste of time, queues too long. Loddon dungeons is well worth the wait, as is the Wheel.Where outside of london are you staying? Let me know and i'll tell you some other info if i know any.Superdrug, Woolworths General, Boots, and 7 11s/Dillons/One stop/co-ops etc and also any place with a green cross on the outside will sell immodium, immodium ad, diaeeze, Milk of mag, kaolin and morphine, gaviscon, wind eez etc etc. So no problem there. Pharmacys on every corner pretty much. You'll love it.Don't only stick to London centre though. I would recommened a trip to Chessington world of adventures or Throrpe park. Also, if yuo have time, visit dorset or take a day trip to Weymouth on the south coast, its great!
 

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Traveller Beware:There's a reason that all of our words that have to do with food come from French (restaurant, menu, cuisine, a al carte, etc.)One has to be careful when dining in the U.K. It takes a little effort to find a decent meal.If touring the countryside, I recommend packing a cooler with sandwiches and such. Ruins and such sometimes don't have facilities.Most pub food is decent, however, if you order with IBS in mind.Fish and chips is IBS-D Kryptonite!On my last trip there, I would eat a big English breakfast, accent on the toastand skip lunch. I'm a d-type, so I brought plenty of Immodium with me. They have it there, but the Pound always pounds the dollar, so it gets expensive to purchase it there.The toilet paper is harsh!The public restrooms in Wales, in particular, are weird. Tiny, curved wooden slats affixed to the bowl are considered a seat.If touring castles/cathedrals and the like, determine the location of the nearest loo before you get into a section of the building that may be very far from it. It's tough to run down an ancient stone spiral staircase!Big tourist traps, like Bath and Statford-on -Avon seem to have inadequate toilet facilities for the enormous volume of visitors they host.I really love England and hope to visit again soon, knowing all I know now.
 

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Whovian,As Judamar said, there are no loos on the underground (subway) trains. The larger stations do have toilets however. I agree about Madame Toussauds, skip it. The Tower of London is great, as is the British Museum-great Egyptian collection. Also, you can see some great shows in London, and matinees are especially affordable, or at least they were last time I was in London.Julie,Yes, I'm married to a Brit, a Yorkshireman actually. You're from around York aren't you? His family is in Ilkley, and he has relatives in Appleton Roebuck, just outside of York. Do the pubs still close during the afternoon?AZ
 

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LaVidaCrapa, you are either too cruel, or didn't visit the nice places in the UK.Of course *ruins* don't have cafes or toilets, but all National Trust properties and gardens do. As for eating in the countryside, it's easy: go to a nice looking pub and the food's fine. Some better than others admittedly.DEFINATELY visit Dorset if you can - the coast is the best, such as Durdle Door or Swanage (don't bother with Bournemouth, it's too touristy), there are also many beautiful gardens around here. And yes, I am biased towards Dorset!! Wiltshire is also very nice. susan
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi AZ!
No, I'm not from the York area, but I think I've mentioned to you in the past about the many enjoyable holidays I've had there. I'm from a little north of London.
Has your husband managed to keep his Yorkshire accent? One of my faves!
Also, another BIG vote for Dorset here ... still green with envy that Susan lives there.
Julie------------------*** Seeking accurate information in the fight against IBS ***
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi everyoneThanks for the advice and the kind words of support. My nervousness was getting the better of me, am both looking forward to the trip and seeing my friends and also dreading the embarrassment that can happen. The perspectives I have read have helped me to square up my shoulders and look at the upcoming trip with a brighter outlook.Thanks bunches!Josh (Whovian)
 

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LaVidaCrapa is being horrible about England. YOu clearly had a #### trip once.There are toilets at all national trust buildings etc. All the 'Ruins' are run through donations to the national trust and therefore have toilets.There you go again. Americans being ignornant. Offended yes. Surprised No.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hello! I went to London for the first time ever and at the height of my anxiety phase!!! I found London great and easy to find a loo. even at all of my sightseeing places, there were loos. the tp was in fact scratchy but believe me you will not mind at all as long as you have a loo accessible!!the only thing that freaked me out was the tube not having bathrooms but it goes so quickly to your destination that you do not have time to worry. remember you can get off at any stop and find a pub to use the restroom. I was so happy that they seem to open at 10 in the morning...I would just order a coke and go. I had a great time and managed to relax and enjoy myself and I will go back again because out of all of the sightseeing that I did, I did not go to the garden shows!I had fish and chips too: one place I do not recall the name is famous for thier fish and chips and peas: did not get sick at all.It was on a really pretty street and the other place was a shop in picadilly and one bite and I was in the loo. so choose your place carefully and do have their famous fish and chips!!!have a great trip!!!Oh and chemists are everywhere and pubs on every corner!!!
 

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Perhaps London has changed since I was last there four or five years ago. I used to travel there at least once a month as I worked for a British company. I'm C-type and I found it difficult to get fruits and vegetables or plain broiled fish or chicken. It was difficult to get enough roughage. Before my IBS got as bad as it is now (I can't travel) I traveled all over the world on business. I found the U.K. the toughest place to find food I could tolerate. Hope things have changed.------------------***Gail
 

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Good luck on your trip! Just take some supplements with you, relax, and have fun. Yes, in general, there should be plenty of toilets around. Don't take long trainrides, though, if you're afraid of having no toilet.judamar, Have you been to the Epsom-Ewell area in Surrey, south of London? That's where I used to live.
 

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HipJan,Do you mean long tube-train rides? I ask because long train rides on British Rail should be fine as the trains have toilets.Julie,My husband does not have much of an accent now after being in the states for 22 years. Actually, he never had a Yorkshire accent because when he was young his family moved around a lot. However, he's always considered himself a Yorkshireman. He had to "americanize" his accent to make himself understood. He found that he would constantly have to repeat himself because people would be listening to his accent rather than what he had to say.Spliff,LaVidaCrapa is being unpleasant, but please do not judge all Americans as ignorant. Most Americans have great affection for Britian, even though Britian is becoming more European
I vote for a visit to Yorkshire, one of the most beautiful, friendly places in Britain.AZ
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
HipJan - We used to pass through Epsom a lot when we had a caravan on the south coast - nice area! Spliff lives quite close to there, don't you Spliff?
AZ - Agreed, Yorkshire's beautiful - I particularly like the Whitby area, and the North Yorks Moors (Wuthering Heights country
). Pity your hubby's lost his accent, but presumably he'd still be able to play cricket for the county! (Yorkshire is the only county which insists all players are actually born there).
Julie------------------*** Seeking accurate information in the fight against IBS ***
 

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AZ, no I meant trains. So, there are toilets on the trains now?! The standard trains I used to take everyday (to and from school), long ago, had no public toilets (to my knowledge). You'd sit in your compartment for 1/2 hour and hope you'd be fine.[This message has been edited by HipJan (edited 05-09-2001).]
 

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Hi Josh,I'm currently living in Scotland as an expatriate, I'm Dutch and I am IBS-D. I thought I'd better let the true Brits answer your questions first. As far as I have seen, there are always plenty of toilets near every major tourist-destination, as well as plenty of public toilets. If you have to pay for them it will be something in the order of20 - 35 pence. All shopping-malls have toilets, as have the big supermarkets. As a IBS-er I'm sure you're always travelling withextra tissues (wet tp can be very handy, there are plenty of babywipes in travelsize, resealable packets). You'll be spoiled for choice both in restaurants and in fresh food, and there is plenty of vegetables and fruit for sale everywhere ( and the beef is probably the safest here !).AZmom1 : as a European, having family in three European countries, and having lived (amongst other countries) in four European countries and as apparently the only continental European currently posting on this board, can I ask you what you mean with a sad " Britain is becoming more European". Europe is a continent of which Great Britain is a part geographically( at least that's what I learned at school), Europe consists of many, many different countries , all with their own cultures and languages. So in terms of describing the entire population of this continent as something sad is a bit disconcerting, but maybe I misunderstood you?P.S.: on the other hand I don't think the Brits will agree with you about becoming more European, and they probably know best.Fay[This message has been edited by Fay (edited 05-09-2001).]
 

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HipJan,I think I know what you mean about the trains. Some of the local trains do not have toilets, but the intercity ones do. There is a small train (2 cars) that goes from Ilkley to Leeds (20 min.) and even it has a toilet. This is going back a while, but there were some blue train cars that seemed not to have toilets, but the ones with the white top halves always did. I admit I haven't been on the trains for many years, so I'm not the best one to speak to this. I'm sorry if I'm mistaken.Julie,I prefer the West Yorkshire area straight out of "All Creatures Great and Small." I don't want to even think about all of the sheep that used to graze in that area.
Fay,The sad face is from an American point of view (mine anyways) that Britain is becoming more European. We could always count on the British as our strongest allies and supporters. Americans always felt close to Britain, just look at all of the fuss Americans made about Princess Di. Europeans tend to have more of a negative view of the US. Ask anyone that has travelled in France for instance. I think my generation of baby boomers on both sides of the Atlantic feel a bond. But younger British feel closer to Europe, and somewhat more antagonistic towards America. I think Britain is losing its "Britishness" by joining the UC. No more miles, pounds and ounces, or "Yorkshire Sausages." I don't mean to offend, just my observations and things I talk about with my family in the UK.AZ
 
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