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Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I'm very relieved that Richard (of RBB) is feeling OK after his confrontation with a blackbird.
I'm also relieved that the water is back on chez TwistedScottishBastard. So nice to have a really long hot shower. It's strange how expectations differ. When I was a boy in Scotland, a weekly bath was quite the norm. My family prided itself on our cleanliness. We had two baths a week, and changed our underwear every other day.
Looking back now, I wasn't aware of any especially bad smell, but I think that we must have all smelled.
The reasons for what we would now see as unhygienic conditions were based on economics and technology.

Most homes then did not have washing machines, families used communal wash houses. Water needed to be heated by fires. Either a wetback boiler in our household coal fuelled fires, or copper boilers fuelled by wood or coal for the communal wash house. It took time, effort and money to heat and wash, and all three were in short supply in the UK in the early 50s, still recovering after the war.
I can still remember the excitement when my Dad had our first electric immersion heater fitted.
Showers were virtually unknown, it was a bath. Either plumbed in in a bathroom, or a tin bath dragged into the kitchen, and filled from the kettle which was always kept simmering above the coal-fired kitchen range.

I now feel uncomfortable, to the extent that my skin feels like it's crawling, if I don't have at least one shower a day, and I really need one before going to bed, or I just feel unclean.

So nice to have instant, almost unlimited hot water.
So nice to be able to wear clean clothes every day.
It's easy to forget what it used to be like, and what it must be like for a very large proportion of the human race.


  1. "Water needed to be heated by fires. Either a wetback boiler in our household coal fuelled fires, or copper boilers fuelled by wood"

    Isn't this the current situation in NZ?!

  2. Yes the good old days.
    The weekly bath water was often shared as well which was OK if you were first but horrible I guess if you were last. My father told a funny story about when he first visited my mother's family before they were married. My mother lived in a back-blocks rural area in South Canterbury where water heating was done by large pots on a wood burning stove and wetback (no immersion heaters and probably no electricity I guess - this was the 1940's just after WWII). As guest of honour Dad had first bath which he enjoyed and then let the water out. Shock and disbelief ensued.

  3. Oh yes, I forgot that detail.

    Probably post-lavatic stress disorder.

    Actually as a nipper, I vaguely remember getting my first baths in the kitchen sink.
    After the dishes had been removced of course.

    BTW, The curmudgeon might have to change his nom-de-plume, as I am seemingly older than him.

  4. No one is mentally older than Comeinyourpants.


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