I inherited my prejudice from my father. “Stewing in your own juice,” is what he used to call taking a bath. And having been surrounded by women all my married life (at home, but obviously nowhere else), I have even more reason to associate the bath with “smellies”, pastel-coloured goo and candles.
Clearly, there have been lapses. I confess to listening to live football while lounging in hot water after a good run on a winter Saturday. Or during the early days, here at Colemore Farm, when the shower was ripped out and not replaced for six months, I have–fortunately for our neighbours–taken the odd dip.
Not surprising then that bathing has few macho associations. (No, even post match team baths hold no attractions.) But there is at least one role model bather out there. Who else but the cheroot-toting Clint Eastwood could preserve the Y-chromosome credentials of a plunge, in the bath scene in The Man With No Name?
So I was naturally delighted when we found our new bath at a local salvage yard. At a push, a “copper bath”, but more likely an annealed tin bath, it lacks any ostensible modern comfort. The central bath plug creates an awkward protrusion just where you want to sit down. There’s no overflow, so overdo the malt snifter and forget the fill rate at your peril. You’ll be sluicing out the ensuing flood before you can say “Make my day”.
But it’s warm, and it retains the heat beautifully. You can fill it deep enough to perform a full immersion, Clint-style. It sounds like a chainsaw massacre when it drains. One careless slip and its vortex will take your leg off. No wonder we christened it “The Screamer”.
Of course, while I’m delighted that we’ve now installed a ground floor wetroom with rainshower and underfloor heating, I have to admit that I won’t be able to tear myself away from this beauty for too long. And when I succumb, my dignity will be preserved and my self-esteem will remain intact.
Pass me the cheroots. I may be some time.