‘New Year – New Bathroom’ as the well-known saying goes. We decided to redecorate the bathroom, mainly so that we had more tiles and less grouting; we moved from hundreds of tiles measuring 22 by 22mm to less than 40 measuring 250 by 400mm. So far so good. It looks great and apart from needing to change the hand towel and bathroom mat to match the new turquoise and gold trim, is a resounding success. But getting there wasn’t that easy, involving as it did three days when the shower was out of action.

I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of baths I’ve had in the last twenty years. In fact it is just two, one in Brighton and one in Edinburgh – I don’t count bucket baths in this of which I have had many – so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to one. On Day 1, thoughts of a bath filled me with such foreboding, I decided I could probably get away with just washing the important bits and did precisely that. But obviously that wasn’t going to work on Day 2 and 3 as well. So bath it would have to be. Due to lack of a bucket in the house and poor pre-planning (Lydz only lives in the next street and probably has one), a bucket bath wasn’t an option.

On Day 2 I didn’t plan the bath with military precision the night before (even though that had served me so well with the goose and chicken chrig dinner combo). After all, how difficult is it to run a shallow bath and get clean of a morning? Well surprisingly difficult as it happens! By the time I thought about the bath I was already running late as Michael (decorator) was due within 30 minutes. So I put the plug in, turned the shower timer over (to meet the four minute bath challenge) and popped out to get my towel and contact lenses stuff. Big mistake! I was back within 30 seconds or so, only to notice the bath didn’t have any water in it cos I hadn’t put the plug in properly – oh duuurrr! I rectified that, and popped out again to sort out my clothes for the day. That was another 2 minutes. The bath was still very low on the depth front (couldn’t even call it shallow yet to be honest), but as I still had another 1.5 minutes to go that wasn’t too problematic. Then I noticed mistake number 2. The bath was virtually cold! Basically the taps were filling the bath at about a rate of two parts cold to one part hot (as opposed to the other way round).

I didn’t have any time left to begin again (and anyway couldn’t find any justification to waste all that water) so added hot water until the sands of time ran out on the four minute bath challenge and got in. Mistake number 3! To call the water lukewarm was massively bigging up the temperature. So I had to fail the four minute bath challenge (big embarrassment factor) and continue with the hot tap for the rest of the bath. By the time I got out I reckon I had run the bath for eight minutes, the water was still not over my legs, the temperature was still lower than my shower and my dislike of baths was cemented ever more firmly in my psyche! And to cap it all I hadn’t checked the water meter before I began, so didn’t even know how many litres of water I had used – though I reckon it was at least 50, which is well over three times my usual shower.

And Day 3? Well I had the best of intentions meeting the four minute bath challenge and actually measuring how much water I used. Only when the time came to it, I thought ‘Do you know what? Forget it!’ Yep, even in the pursuit of knowledge and scientific endeavour I preferred to go to work unwashed!

January 2015 – Not waving but drowning