Show­ers I have never un­der­stood the strange de­sire to be sprin­kled with wa­ter, ei­ther as a fine Scotch mist or as ap­par­ent bul­lets from an ice gun.

‘The shower,’ peo­ple say, with pride. So you get ready to climb in. How to turn on the wa­ter? Well you have to get in to find out, and find out you do – painfully. You turn some knob and in­stantly get wal­loped in the so­lar plexus with ei­ther ice-cold or scald­inghot wa­ter. You’ve for­got­ten to close the door (or draw the cur­tain) and have soaked the rest of the bath­room. You have also thor­oughly soaked your bathrobe and bath towel. You flail about try­ing to turn it off and then you very gen­tly try again and get a tiny drib­ble and even­tu­ally dis­cover how to get a rea­son­able tem­per­a­ture.

Af­ter a while, you get re­ally bold and turn up the pres­sure and – if your luck holds – you start to get wet all over. Now you need soap – that’s on the basin so out you plunge to get it and freeze. Re-en­ter­ing the shower, you drop it and stoop to pick it up and bang your head on the shower rose, which then con­sci­en­tiously sprays the bath­room once more. You had for­got­ten to shut the door (or cur­tain).

This brings me to this ab­surd cur­tain. Clearly who­ever thought that idea up had never used one. It has the most cu­ri­ous de­sire to em­brace you in its cold slimy grip, like some slob­ber­ing, over-af­fec­tion­ate, wet dog.

Es­cap­ing its em­braces, you at last start to wash your­self. The top half is fairly easy, but then come the legs and feet; when you are my age this is not so sim­ple. Get­ting down to them is hard enough, soap­ing them puts you in dan­ger of death from a fa­tal skid. Then comes try­ing to rinse. Wa­ter tends to fall un­der grav­ity so it takes ages to rinse cer­tain parts.

Af­ter much anguish, you are ready, nay des­per­ate, to get out and get dry. But your towel is now soak­ing wet so you dab your­self with a flan­nel and, cold, damp and ex­hausted, you tot­ter to your bed­room – but clean, I grant. Give me a bath any day.

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