Sunday, 9 September 2007

Bath in the Garden

Would interest the neighbours, but this is a in fact a vintage bath which is seventy years old and which has just been taken out of the house as Mark is putting in a new bathroom. We are leaving it outside in case the Rag and Bone man wants to come and collect it. We still have a Rag and Bone man round here who comes with a horse and cart who comes round shouting 'rag, bone'. We have a bit of land at the end of the garden which looks a bit like Steptoe's yard with accumulated junk we have no use for but the amount has always stayed static over the years and we have never had to hire the skip we thought we would have needed because the rag and bone man has carted away the surplus. I've always got to be very careful what I give him in case it has something to do with Mark's Landrover, but sometimes it is difficult to tell.

Eleanor and I tried to lift it yesterday and could barely manage to get it a few inches off the floor, it felt like it had been made out of lead. They built things to last in those days. Eleanor had her heelies on and skated up and down in it. Mark had to ask his brother Paul to come and help him shift it and on Friday they were taking one step and then resting and doing breathing exercises like weight lifters, and I can see why.

I will miss this bath, it hold many many memories. It is very narrow (maybe the sizes of baths have increased as people eat more than in the thirties, our new bath looks enormous) and when I was pregnant with Eleanor I used to regularly get stuck in it and the water used to rise an alarming amount when I got in. My body used to form a lock effect, at one side of me the water was on a low level and on the other it was several inches higher and when I got up both levels used to merge together as they do when the lock gates open in a canal gushing in great waves. I used to feel some fellow feeling with the creatures whose plight Bobbie is highlighting at the moment.

Mark has said I've got to be careful with our new bath not to stratch it as it is plastic, not enamel. This means that I will no longer be able to use Ajax as the bath was so old and scratched it didn't really matter anymore, which for those not in the know is a ancient brand of scouring powder which they used in the thirties and still available now (like the bath it was made to last) and is unbeatable as a cleaning agent, but takes a little time and elbow grease, unlike the spray and dissolve ones they have now. Symptomatic of the times. It made me almost feel like a thirties housewife as I polished my thirties bathroom to a sparkling white, though I didn't quite get round to wearing the pinny and turban.


Frances said...

So no Ena Sharples then? You disappoint me, Bev.
I do like that bath. Why don't you dig a trench in the garden, put it in there and have a water feature? It would save you getting GroundForce round to put plastic sheeting in and you might get away without any decking.
If we get global warming, you could advertise it as a swimming bath.... for dogs, famous ones who've been on mugs - or you could use it for public duckings.... not ducklings, duckings. But I suppose you don't have any nags round your way?

Beverley said...

No, we don't have any nags round our way, because I am no Ena Sharples (ha, ha).

That is a good idea about the bath. I have seen sinks used as plant holders.

Do you mean use it as a water container for horses, like I have seen? We do have a Common round here with gypsies horses, and actually I have got the telephone number of the owner as once I saw a horse with an eye infection which wasn't being treated so I found out the name of the owner, a useful number as the horses seem quite neglected. Maybe I could donate it to the horses.

laurie said...

you'll need several rag and bone men to cart that away, i think.

we had a new bath put in last summer. but we decided against the plastic/ fiberglas ones, even though they're lighter. we got another porcelain-over-steel one and i thought the poor workers were going to get a hernia, hauling it up our stairs.

Bobbie said...

The old bathtub looks as if one could take a real bath there. I haven't had one in years, always use the shower instead. No time to loll around in the tub these days. I'll bet the new bath doesn't last nearly as long as this old one did. Ours is only about 20 years old and already could use replacing, which we are thinking of doing someday. We lived through one major remodel and are not eager for another, but things are getting kinda tatty looking.

Rima said...

I thought I knew the language pretty well for a non-native speaker - but I'm stumped. What is a "rag and bone man" exactly? And why would he want Mark's auto parts as well as a bathtub, rags and bones? Please enlighten me, I feel left behind

Frances said...

My Mum's best friend at school was the daughter of the local Rag n' Bone man.
They come round with a wagon or a van or a truck and take away anything mechanical, electrical, metal, cloth or whatever and recycle it, sell it off or whatever. They are dying out a bit here now that we have more recycling collections, but still come round to pick up fridges and other larger items we can't get to the dump.

Rima said...

Ha! interesting - every culture has a version of the rag man then.
Nowadays, esp in and around Toronto, the city takes care of large items, as well as recycling stuff. Neighbours and passers-by also help themselves to things you leave on the curb - I've done it myself. And charities call you to come and collect bags of stuff like old clothes, books, and useful items. No ragmen left in Canada I guess.

Beverley said...

Funnily enough the rag and bone man did come round today and knocked on our door, which is virtually unheard of. He must have seen the bath in the garden and seemed really eager to have it.

When I told Mark he said that he had changed his mind and was going to sell it to a salvage yard as you could get about £50 for it so no wonder the rag and bone man looked so eager.