In 1998, my accountant husband said the three little words all anglophiles long to hear. "Move to England." So we packed up our two boys and our belongings and shipped off to Bedfordshire for 8 months with his company for the adventure of a lifetime..
An excerpt from my non-fiction as yet unpublished book;
An American Housewife in London
“Oh, for an American bathroom.” I would mutter as I sat in a bathtub in the early morning hours. Unbelievably, our seven-year-old English home did not possess a shower. So every morning, as my husband was shaving, I sat in a pale pink tub, covered in frothy bubbles, relaxing when I should be trying to wake up. I soon discovered that bathtubs, not showers had always been the custom in English bathroom.
I noticed this bewildering attachment to tradition over and over during our stay. The homes in our neighborhood were not hundreds of years old, most had been built in the last ten years, but baths were simply how it was done and how it would be done regardless of modern inventions like an invigorating, hot shower.
In contrast, Americans are known to be constantly looking for a new and better way to get things done. A throw-the-tradition-out-with-the-bath-water kind of attitude. In my humble opinion, a steaming, brisk shower would be more efficient in the morning, but in British minds, baths were far cozier, and in England, coziness was next to godliness.
Our master English bathroom was quite large, but we missed our familiar spacious sprawling counter top framed with a large mirror and individual double sinks. Instead, this room had one tall thin sink and one tiny slip of a mirror. There was no linen closet. Actually, the entire house had no closets rather the English tended toward using an armoire in the bedroom, or had closets built in around the bed.
Our bathroom’s sink’s were quite confusing too. There were two spigots pouring into the sink. One had hot water and the other cold. But how did one mix the two without scalding one hand and freezing the other? The English may have been credited with inventing the bathroom in the 1800’s, but us Yanks made them much more comfortable.
Three months later, despite being in a rental home, we paid to have a shower put in!