Posted by Pen Hadow

Saturday, 14 Feb 2009 00:00

Water Water Everywhere – But Where Exactly?


I know I must be travelling somewhere because suddenly I don’t even know how to extract water from a tap.


If you’ve stayed in hotels, you’ll know where I’m coming from, if not where I’m heading with this. The baggage porter asks, as he departs from your room, if you have any questions.  In your long-haul flight-induced state of torpidity, you think how many questions could I possibly have.  It’s just a bedroom.  Sometime later you decide it’s time for the bathroom and bed.


Having eventually worked out where the light switch is to illuminate the scene, you notice how incredibly modern – ie minimalist - all the tap fittings seem to be compared to home.  What a luxury!  But without any familiar instrumentation it becomes increasingly obvious that an above average IQ would be handy.


No capstans on the tap heads, no ‘red and blue’ markings for ‘hot and cold’, no flutings to suggest ‘grip and turn’ here, just a sparkling pipe which for more sophisticated arrivals mean water.  Refusing the humiliation of being driven to call reception for a few clues, I turn my attention to the shower/bath ironmongery.


Massively over-estimated the complexity of the bath-plug, based on recent experience with the basin (it’s a push-in, pull-right-out affair), I force what I had thought until recently was an above average creative mind to reveal to me some options about how to turn this water on … any temperature … let’s just get some flow.  So not for the first time in my life, I got hit between my fully-dressed shoulder blades by a powerful jet of cold water from the shower head above as I leant over the edge of the bath and experimented with the only unlikely possibility.  I know of no combo bath-shower system that gives the faintest indication whether you are about to launch the tap or the nozzle. 


Up on the Arctic Ocean, life may be harder, but at least getting water is more straightforward.  Add snow to a pot and apply heat till liquid appears … though I concede bathing is less straightforward, I grant you.


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