I’m not talking about showers from the sky here, which you may be forgiven thinking is the topic since they can be interminable, but rather those under which one ablutes or washes oneself. At least, that’s the desired outcome.
Showers in South Africa are generally quite interesting affairs and are housed either in a sizeable glass box with doors or behind a glass screen. On occasion, and if the home size permits, they may even be located in their very own wet room. In either case, they are operated by turning taps, or a mixer, located on the wall and water is delivered from a showerhead protruding from the wall or ceiling. I’m sure you’re all with me on this.
However, this is often not the case in the UK, where many are located in the bath. All well and good and great use of space, except it IS rather a step up.
Once there, one might find several arrangements to keep water from spraying all over the bathroom. One rather clever one is a glass screen that has a rubber seal between it and the top of the bath to keep everything dry and shipshape. The other is the shower curtain… and more of that later.
There are also several ingenious methods to carry water in adequate volumes to the showerhead. One such device is the ‘power shower’. Its operation is accompanied by a bit of a racket from the pump, while it delivers a very effective stream of hot water from the showerhead. We can assume this pump is required since generally the hot water boiler is sited on the same level as the shower in the UK and therefore cannot rely on gravity in the same way a shower in South Africa can.
Others are operated directly from the bath mixer tap, and this is where things get really interesting. In this scenario, it’s a question of getting the water, of the right temperature and in adequate volumes, to the showerhead. Also, since it’s winter, this to be achieved without getting hair wet.
Let’s also not forget that this must be managed at top speed, lest body parts freeze off in the cold while waiting for hot water to arrive since, if you’re like me, you keep the window open. Although admittedly, most homes are heated to the point of expiration, so it probably doesn’t apply in most instances.
Turning bath taps on while standing the bath requires you to bend down under the showerhead, after which water is immediately delivered, in copious quantities, directly onto your head, which you are desperately trying to keep dry.
Also to be considered is that it’s anyone’s guess what the temperature of the water is likely to be when it thus rains down upon you. Inevitably it’s freezing, which will result in yelps of discomfort, I’m sure, followed immediately by another dive under the spray to get it to stop. By now hair is thoroughly wet.
The solution then must be turning the taps on while the water stream is flowing directly into the bath, while manipulating them to achieve the correct and most comfortable temperature. Then, in an act one can only describe as pure genius, diverting the flow of water to the showerhead by manipulating the little lever with your toes… I’m sure you get the picture. And eureka, water is delivered out of the showerhead at the right temperature and your hair remains pleasingly dry.
Now, returning to the shower curtain.
This can only be described as an unwelcome, intimate moment as, and I’ve no idea why, the wet and always freezing cold shower curtain disturbingly wraps itself clingingly around your body. In the mad gyrations that follow to disentangling yourself, the curtain inevitably pulls away from the side of the bath and immediately allows sheets of water to spray all over the warm, dry and waiting towels.
I am still working on a solution for this one, so if any of you has found one, please let me know so we can all benefit from your discovery.