Just laying there relaxing in the bubbles with all the troubles of the world being soaked away.. Pains and aches start to diminish, as you lay their soaking in the hot water, with the bubbles tingling your skin.
All your cares just drifting away, and relaxation sweeps through your body.. It is your time, your moment. As you soak in this warm bath with scented candles filling the air with their sweet smell and the warm towels awaiting on the radiator, just waiting to caress your body with their warmth and softness.
Sheer bliss.. sheer luxury.
But I can remember a time when bath-time wasn’t quite like that.. there was no scented candles and there was no warm radiator warming those towels. The towels hung on the back of chair as close as they could be to the open fire but it was the bath that got the full whack of the burning coals.
Yes in days gone by, when I grew up as a child… you were classed as rich if you had a proper bathroom.. if you were like my Aunt and had the bath fitted in the kitchen corner (by the next door neighbour) you were classed as lucky.. as for us well our bath was tin.. yes good old galvanised tin.. which was bloody cold to touch, especially if the bath had been brought in on a winter’s night.
Sunday night was bath night, and the ritual went like this.. the tin bath was brought in from the outside, where it hung on the outside wall, and it was wiped out.. the gas copper was put on and boiled and then the boiling water was put into the bath and cooled down with a bucket of cold water.
The bath stood in front of the fire and there was no laying in it and soaking.. what little time you did spend in the bath, resulted in your coming out mottled down one side of your body due to the heat from the fire. And the cleanest one went in first, and then the dirtiest one finally got a luke-warm bath.
Hair wash was a jug and bowl effort.. your head was soaked with water from the bath and Vosene washed… rinsed with the bathwater and then a second wash.. this time rinsed with the jug and bowl full of clean water. As soon as your hair was done, you were out of the bath, wrapped in a towel and then taken into the lounge where you were dressed and ready for bed..
Then it was time for the next person to have the bath… and so on until the whole family were bathed…. if the water got too cold then some water from the copper would be used to warm it up.. but bath time wasn’t about laying there relaxing and whiling away the hours.. its purpose was for cleansing only.
Then when everyone was done.. the bath was emptied out by bucket and then dragged out into the back yard where the rest was tipped away and the bath was hung back on the wall, waiting for next Sunday.
The copper stayed in the kitchen, and if there was water still in it.. that would stay there, because Monday was laundry day… the sheets and dad’s bestest shirts used to be sent to the Co-op laundry where they would be washed and starched… but every day clothing was washed in the copper.. The whites first then the lights and then the coloureds… they would be rinsed in the sink and then put through the mangle outside and hung on the line to dry. It was only in the early sixties that I can remember my mum getting a Creda Spin Dryer… up until then the washing was wrung out with the mangle.
And forget about fabric softener.. it wasn’t even invented.. the iron and a spray bottle of water is what was used to soften the clothes and everything was ironed.. and placed on the airer until it was aired enough to be put away.
Depending on the weather determined if the towels came in like brick bats and no matter how much spray water and heat was used they were rough. Or you might be lucky and they came in softish andwere foldable. But did it bother us as kids? No..
And Monday’s dinner was always cold meat and mash.. mum had been busy all day with the washing and ironing so it was a quick meal.. with the leftover meat from Sunday Lunch, a few spuds and pickles.
We ate what we were given or go hungry… but one thing I can say… we didn’t have central heating, we didn’t loads of money, but we have fun, laughter and a lot of love.
My how times have changed..