On the gender of bathrooms and suchlike.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of taps–and lavs–and shower heads–
And fascinating things–
And why the bath is boiling hot–
And whether plans have wings.”

‘Pols to Mr Carroll (for not being silly enough).

So yes, here we are then –  the bathroom post.  Do you remember the en suite on the top floor, the very existence of which was in doubt for some time?  You know, way back in the gentle rolling mists of Development Applications?  Well that’s the one I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Ahum, bathrooms, I hear you thinking.  Not much-meaning-of-life stuff there, not much angst.  You’d be wrong about the angst, though, because there’s been a small mountain of it.  Verily!  Enough, in fact, to out-angst an entire cadre of existentialists.

Odd, really, isn’t it?  I mean,  would you have thought that specifying a few bits and bobs of porcelain could drive someone utterly to distraction? Could bring on a fit of the conniptions? Several fits, if the truth be told.  No, and nor would I.  But, let me tell you, there has been every shade of pink and purple madness going on over this bathroom.  Not entirely sure why.  My commitment aversion, tubby sure,  but I also suspect it has something to do with the question of whether the Regency Wreck is essentially  masculine or feminine.  Call me fanciful if you will.  Actually, call you fanciful too, because most comments on this blog refer to the house as ‘she’.  Not he or it but she.  And your lovely comments have caused me to ponder.  Because though the house has a certain lightness to it, a certain airiness that comes with  Georgian proportions,  I have tended to think of it as gender neutral.  Androgynous. But it has been occurring to me of late that maybe the house sees itself differently.  (I did warn you, early in the blog, about anthropomorphising, so no apologies there).

My taste, it has to be said, is usually quite masculine.  I tend to prefer commercial designs to domestic because, probs,  I like a bit of drama. I like a bit of big.  I like straight lines, bold shapes and no nonsense.  This is a corner of my bathroom in the last house – a well behaved bathroom, I might add, allowing itself to be  decided on in a trice.  Black marine ply, even in the shower, grain alternating.  And it was a lovely bathroom to use –  all the fun of the fair in fact.  Apart that is, from having to…ahem… recoat and stain that damned shower every six months.  But anyway, we must suffer for our convictions.  We Calvanist types.

This new bathroom, it turns out, has not wanted to be decided upon and does not seem to wish to be masculine. Nor even gender neutral. In fact I think it has distinctly feminine yearnings, which is, I have to say, outside my comfort zone. Some time back when I was trying to grasp what it might look like one day, I detected a white and silver blur somewhere just at the periphery of my mind.  It was no more than a wisp, a fluff of cumulous; more suggestion than fact.  But for a mere suggestion it has proved to be an insistent little bugger, refusing to be ignored, drifting tantalisingly across the mental stage before vaporising again before I can take hold of it.

So how it all translated into reality has been the usual mix of serendipity, frustration, blind choices and that bloody stuff, spondoolicks.  We started with the bath.  The only stipulation was that it  had to be light (three floors to carry it up and tired old floors). That ruled out stone and composite stone.  Most tin baths I found were boring and I won’t have acrylic because I do believe a person should be free to tune the wind section of their band in the bath without the whole household – the whole street! – sharing in the joy.  Forgive me, but I’m English.

So anyway, a piece of shininess, similar to above, has been ordered. Then came the basin, which caused much thrashing about because those that I wanted (modern, sleek) did not speak the same language as the bath. Many introductions were tried and failed.  It got to feeling like a dating agency for fixtures and fittings.  In the end, a basin similar to the one below has been ordered.  Not my first (or second…) love because it’s a little too ‘period’, but at least it speaks to the bath in loving terms and I got it cheap. Or relatively so. Cheapness is becoming quite a factor in our decision making these days. Just call me The Bargain Hound.

And then recently I found this, which caused a swoon or two before breakfast:

After tunnelling down a few digital rabbit holes I managed to track down the printer, but alas! alack! my quest was doomed because the original source was unknown. But undeterred and with much cunning sleuthery (you can see how my days are spent) I have sourced my own original master residing in a gallery in the north of England.  An email has been duly dispatched to enquire whether they will oblige and we are currently dining on baited breath in our house.  Makan unging, as they say.

And if by chance I should fail to secure my swathe of silk, I have another plan up my sleeve, which is far easier to come by but costs approximately two arms and five legs.  There is also the question of whether I could bear to have all those pairs on binocs trained upon my bathing self.  But oh well, there’s always loo roll and scissors I suppose.

And on the Remington front, he is now almost restored to his original debonair self.   The knee is healing, the black velvet is growing back and although he has to go everywhere on the lead, he is quite jolly.  Thanks to everyone who expressed concern.  Here he is at the farm this week, recuperating.

And that, said Fred, is that…other than to report the blue and scarlet parrots eating seeds in the pouring rain just outside my window.  Oh, and the mail which has just this moment come in to say that yet more crumbling walls have been found which require..oddly enough…more monay!  I feel a post about penury coming on.  I’ll be writing it from the Debtors’ Gaol.  Please send provisions.

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14 Responses to “On the gender of bathrooms and suchlike.”

  1. LOVE IT – and a whole new avenue of debate around the gender of the bathroom – today being Bastille Day perhaps we should allow the French to put in their 10 centimes worth – la salle de bain and la douche so female but, and excuse my lapse of taste, perhaps a shower room should be masculine because we shower standing up? Keep up the good work

  2. oh that tub and that basin are swoon worthy for sure! I loved your black bathroom from your previous home! Make a statement ! Go big or go home! I love it. Glad your pooch is doing well. Good luck with the debtors and I’ll pray for you!

  3. My he is a handsome devil is he not? I am glad he is well and getting better and his fur is growing back, although the shaven leg look was rather dashing (on photo at least). I love the silver bath, I have not much notion of historical periods but it makes me think of Vanity Fair. Hope the crumbling is minor, and there is no more crumbling to be found.

  4. suzanne Says:

    Posh post. I love the wallpaper.

  5. Well, I must say, my bathrooms and mbr’s have always been very feminine. Men love to be in the forbidden space of women, even when those boyish thrills are long past. That tub is calling my name. Its perfect for the RW. I am dying to see more pics of the tropical farm, parrots, kangas or whatever lives there with the Herberts!
    Best,
    Liz

  6. I have been “scouring the country-side,”or the city-side for bargains for three bathrooms. Trying to adjust my expectations and it is not working. Nothing imaginative or stunning as your bath has appeared.
    I would be interested in your bloggers views on concealed (in the wall) toilet cisterns and suspended loos in small bathrooms. Are they successful? We do have some cavity walls in the right place and there seem to be some okay ones on sale. Does anyone else have experience of them?
    I am also looking for an old Roman mosaic floor if anyone has one in their attic that they are sick of.
    We are very happy that Rem is recovering so well.

  7. no posts for a while, and I need my fix…??

  8. Love that photo of Messr Rems! just gorgeous! i see you keep him sur la lead even at the farm?

    • He’s been on the lead everywhere for two months now, after his knee reconstruction, poor old plodger – strict instructions from the surgeon so that he doesn’t go leaping and bouncing and prevent the new bone from filling in. Or something like that. At the farm he’s particularly prone to leaping over the garden fence and going walkabout in the hills on a daily basis. And then when he’s done he comes home for brekkie and cuddles. He is a dog after my own heart is the Remster – restless.

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