Prue Leith penned the following short piece about baths before the rest of us could! Enjoy. . .
"Finding a pleasure that is reliable, available all year round, cheap, doesn't deplete the world's resources, causes no harm or pain to animals or humans, and won't offend anyone at all is not easy. However, I confidently nominate a nice hot bath. And before someone tells me that it costs 50p to fill a bath and it is a shocking waste of water, can I please plead that I don't do it very often and I make up for it in between with very quick showers, which I hate. . . "
". . . Lying in a bath for hours seems to be a peculiarly female thing. Some women take it further than I do: expensive essential oils, aromatherapy, mini-bottles, candles all around, even rose petals in the water. Like some kind of sacred rite.
But few men lie in the bath. Which is why baths are mostly so badly designed. All bath designers seem to be men, and I wonder how many of them test them for comfort? I've become something of an expert since I'm trying to find a bath for my barn conversion which one day will be, I hope, my retirement home. There are almost no baths with good wide edges for the gin and tonic, novel, magazine or radio, never mind such basics as soap, loofah, bubble bath and nailbrush. If you buy one of those pretty free-standing baths you will have to put a table next to it. Which you will struggle to reach over the ridiculously high sides of the bath.
I admit my search is complicated by the fact that I want a shallowish bath so that when my legs and arms hardly work at all I will still be able to get out of it. All the free-standing, good-looking baths are so deep I can barely get out of them now. And most of then, because of their depth, have steeply sloping ends so that lying down is impossible. I want a gentle incline so I can lie back, and low enough sides so I can rest my elbows on the rim with my hands comfortably holding a book.
I want to be able to reach the taps without sitting up so I can keep the water topped up (yes I know, more wicked waste), and I'd like the bath to be made of some sort of material that keeps the water insulated and hot.
Oh, and the bathroom should have a view. My present one has reaches of changing sky and the branches of waving sequoias with pigeons on the tippy tops posing like angels on a Christmas tree. . . "
from A Nice Hot Bath - pg 49, Simple Pleasures - Little Things That Make Life Worth Living
How do you feel about baths and bathing? Are you able to reach your taps with your toes? Is bathing about ritual for you - or function? Or both? Do you light candles, drink orange cordial, whiskey or tea in your bath? Does your bath's shape 'do it' for you? If not, what would you change?
Happily, my idea of a perfect bath is the ancient (b. 1880) claw-footed cast-iron one I have right now; the only thing I'd like to add some day soon, is a bird bath on the other side of the window. . .