It looks strangely poignant lent against the wall out there waiting for its final journey to the tip. Like those old passengers ships which doled out there own form of luxury to lucky passengers, my old bath is going to end up as scrap. Though the luxury of bathing in it was diluted a bit by the cracking paint which acted as a defoliant whenever you moved and the joy of bathing was further reduced by its habit of running cold water just before it was properly full.
I am putting in a new bathroom in case you are wondering. Well two builders are doing the work whilst I sit here listening to the noise., stepping over the rubble and hoping that it is all worth while.
Maybe I don’t need a bathroom at all. We have all got so dependent on home conveniences that we have forgotten that it isn’t that long ago when domestic houses never had a room dedicated to all those things that nowadays go on behind that locked door.
Actually a china bowl and a jug of water was usually the best you could hope for if you wanted a good scrub down in the old days when my house was built in the early 19th. Century. So the little room that I am now seeing in its original shape would never have been used for such messy jobs.
If I lived in a giant mansion then maybe I wouldn’t have had this thought about wasted space but a little bathroom hardly seems worth all the trouble.
Now if the house was big enough to take, say, that wonderful bathroom from the scary film The Shining then it would be a true shrine to luxury.
Or maybe if it could take an entire building like the Rudas Baths in Budapest which were built in traditional style by the Turks in the 16th. Century with open holes in the ceiling to let in daylight in exquisite rays of sunshine.
I went there once and experienced, I imagined, what it must have been like to have a bath in the grand manner enjoyed by the ancient Romans and Greeks when bathing was a central part of social life. It is best not being shy if you plan to go there because you are clad in only the skimpiest of loin clothes and the whole ritual is very communal. It is also the proper way to take a bath where you get clean first and then progress through different pools which get hotter and hotter before you then progress back to room temperature.
Not speaking Hungarian limited the conversation somewhat but I could imagine what it would have been like when those Romans and Greeks got together for a good chat with a bit of back rubbing thrown in just to be friendly.
I suppose a more modern equivalent of those jovial manly moments of bathtime comraderie was the footballers’ bath. In the old days a place for banter, a cigarette and a mug of tea but these days more a soak in precious oils and followed by some exotic anti-aging skin conditioners.
Well it is all about getting naked and wet I suppose so who can blame artists down the centuries majoring in bathroom scenes. Even the chaste Moon Goddess Diana found her true role in our culture as the girl who protested way too much about being caught in the altogether when it was time to get clean.
One of my neighbours still has the old fashioned outside lavatory at the bottom of her garden, where I have a shed. Now there’s a thought. Why not reintroduce the outside loo and hang an old tin bath on the outside ready to bring in and fill with hot water in front of the fire?
I am not worried about myself of course but I will have to go ahead with that new bathroom. What would happen if I had nowhere to keep my four little friends, the plastic ducks? Hope they like the new place.