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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

A Hot Bath
16 August 2021 @ 19:00

I'm of the opinion that the best way to cool down on a hot day is to enjoy a cup of tea. It needs to be hot, not like the stuff the Americans drink, with bits of ice and lemon (if you're lucky) floating in it, but hot and faintly milky. My theory is that it cools you down by putting your internal AC in overdrive. Maybe a biscuit too while you're in the kitchen. Umm, lovely.

Even better is to have a long hot bath. Indeed, with no power or water cuts in Paradise today, for a change, and with everyone gone to the beach, I had soon talked myself into bubbling gently in a steamy soupy tub while practicing my scales.

The Romans had an impressive water system, based on the laws of gravity. Their aqueducts were designed to allow water to fall exactly seventeen cms per kilometre, a speed that allows for the smallest speed of flow. These aqueducts fed public fountains, some wealthier private homes, and above all, the public baths, which Romans felt was the nadir of their civilization. In their baths, they were cleansed physically and mentally. To a Roman citizen, the baths were civilization.

Rome, by the first century AD, had 420 kilometres of aqueducts feeding it from different sources. A hydrographer recently noted that New York didn’t overtake Ancient Rome in volume of water consumed until 1985, and the Romans, of course, had neither electricity or pumps, or rubber washers or plastic piping to help them.

Or immersion heaters, come to think of it. Maybe they had slaves lurking under the house armed with some fire-wood and an early plastic lighter instead.

Some of those remarkable aqueducts, built two thousand years ago and used to refresh all of their cities throughout the Empire, are still extant and there are even a few left in Spain, including some that still work! Water was rarely a problem which is how they could build such large cities.

I don’t care for showers. They are violent, fast, and efficient rather like a flight with Ryanair. To continue the simile, a bath is slow and pleasant, roomy and cultural (that is, if you read a book in the tub or listen to the radio or you like to sing). A bath has the same finality but takes its time, a bit like the train to Madrid.

Bathing has always been a civilized event, as can be shown by the Arabs with their hammam, and the Scandinavians, the Russians and the Japanese with their different traditions. Saunas, Turkish baths, Jacuzzis and the rest of them are for relaxing in and, yes, wasting a bit of water.

The average amount of water used by a Spaniard is apparently 135 litres per day. That's to say, a couple of goes on the lavatory, a shower, washing a few dishes and one's teeth, a shave, a coffee and a quick squirt with the watering can along the window-box.

According to Google, that's about the same amount that goes into my bath.

Luckily, we have a well.



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1 Comments


dontknow said:
21 August 2021 @ 10:26

Yeah for baths!! Thank you for taking the time to write an interesting blog.

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