PAULA Radcliffe's marathon run on Sunday was pretty spectacular. But just as impressive was her speedy "toilet break" which, at 15 seconds, has got to be a world record.

Most women will understand why Paula didn't waste time queuing up at the nearest ladies. Men, used to spacious urinals, where you can come and go as you please, don't have to endure the inconvenience of the long wait for a cubicle, and then have to find the correct loose change in order to spend a penny.

Whether it's in a nightclub, a high street store or a restaurant, you can be sure that wherever a crowd is gathered, you will find a line of desperate, trembling women, some with knees locked together, in an agonisingly long queue for the toilet.

And this is a queue which moves very s-l-o-w-l-y. Because some women, once they get into one of the few precious cubicles, don't want to come out.

Sometimes there are hushed conversations in the queue about whether "everything's OK in there". In one public toilet I once even wondered if I should call the police or fire brigade to investigate.

I can't, for the life of me, imagine what these women, who, it later emerges, clearly haven't passed out or taken a drugs overdose, could possibly be doing for all that time. Knitting a toilet seat cover? Reading a book? Having a little nap?

To be fair, perhaps it can be put down to various "women's troubles". And there's not a lot we can do about that. But, for the sake of those women whose trouble is that they need to get to the toilet - fast - we could do something to help move things along a bit.

How about a supermarket-style speedy transaction quickie queue for those who, like Paula Radcliffe, could be in and out in 15 seconds?

While her no-nonsense squatting down in the street approach on Sunday was to be applauded - after all, she had a race to run - I don't think it will ever catch on. But at least Paula has shown us all just how swiftly it can be done.

In the meantime, ladies, perhaps we could we all just get a move on?

OZZY Osbourne, whose fly-on-the wall documentary programme The Osbournes ended its run on British television this week, complains his family has been plagued by a curse ever since the hugely successful series began.

He was badly injured, and nearly died, in a quad bike accident. His wife, Sharon, has had cancer. Two of his children ended up having treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and his third child is undergoing tests for suspected breast cancer. They also had valuable jewellery stolen in a burglary.

It sounds pretty bad. But the Osbournes haven't been cursed, far from it. After all, Ozzy didn't die. His wife Sharon survived cancer. His children had the best treatment money could buy for their addictions, which were the result of a lifestyle choice, not a curse. Ozzy's third child has flown to the States where, if necessary, she can have the most expensive, medical treatment available. And what are a few jewels in the context of a family fortune of more than £100m?

Those who tend to view their glasses as half full might consider the Osbournes' life to be charmed, rather then cursed. But poor old Ozzy's glass isn't even half empty, he's smashed it into smithereens on the floor.