Monday, 23 June 2014
As a child, I delighted in the glacial mounds of glittering bubbles at bath time, and find that my enthusiasm has not waned with the passing years, although I no longer pretend that I am piloting a fragile craft between castellated ice floes, in grievous peril of running aground.
The bath at my parental home is the original, cast iron, squat legged vessel, installed when the house was born, a little short of ninety years ago, deep, steep sided, bone white, a delicate mineral patina running from tap to drain. It is my pleasure, when visiting my mother, to take a cool, foaming bath on a summer's evening, following a hot day of labour in the garden below, to shed soiled clothing and ease my weary body into scented, shimmering water, sinking below the brittle skinned froth until completely submerged, holding my breath for as long as I am able before rising in a flurry of bursting bubbles to the surface.
I prefer the bathroom to be unlit, the sole source of illumination the dimmed evening light seeping through the lowered blind, so that the ghostly bergs gleam softly, and the intervening straits shine like pewter. I recall other, noisier bathtimes, and, although often prey to a painful nostalgia, am grateful, nevertheless, for the mature tranquility of my mother's house, the silence in the bathroom broken only by the water rippling in response to my movements, and the sound of late birdsong drifting through the open window.