Monday 12th December 2011
WENT to bed early yesterday, forgoing a bath; been feeling slightly grubby ever since; such creatures of habit are we.
Showers are for youngsters and those of an athletic bent: refreshingly cleansing after fervent squash racquets or knee-scraping volleyball, but nevertheless, as its name implies, a mere splash, a quick downpour to be followed by sunshine and smelling of roses.
‘Bath’, on the other hand, is too short a word for such a leisurely pursuit, even though southerners attempt to lengthen it by inserting an ‘r’, which always makes me larff.
Meanwhile, ‘tub’ has been stolen by Americans to become fashionably hot: no longer the cold, metal pan in which scrawny-framed miners would sit upright to be dowsed from jugs by dutiful, mob-capped wives.
Although not the inventors, the Romans knew how to make a thong and prance of it, with proper, polysyllabic terms – apodyterium, caldarium, tepidarium, frigidarium, sudatorium – for the various chambers required for disrobing, bathing by degrees, and perspiring away the excesses of the previous night.
(I’ve got a meeting in Bath this coming Friday, might even have time to revisit the thermae of ancient Aquae Sulis; no sweat.)
Such thoughts and similar divertissements can keep me occupied for a good half an hour of relaxation and body soaking. Occasionally I’ll jot down a few words, or read, or listen to the wireless: sports commentaries, Radio 4 programmes that inform or entertain, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue being a particular favourite for the last thirty-nine years of growing wrinkly.
Usually, however, I sink into thinking.
I am no Archimedes and cannot claim to have come up with anything startlingly original or perceptive, but, for me, the bath is the ideal place to unravel stuff, to plan upcoming projects, to make mental lists, or contemplate the chaotic and the mundane: was not Higgs Boson an early 20th century cistern manufacturers? what does the Queen do with her navel fluff?
It’s all nonsense, isn’t it: life?