River Wissey Lovell Fuller


February 2008

Dr Ian wonders whether theree is a sex-linked gene which determines our approach to using strange showers!

What a shower! I would welcome feedback about the following article as I have never read any comments in print about how people manage in strange showers. I wonder whether there is a genetic programme which determines our ability to cope and whether it is sex-linked (male/female, of course!).

It is commonly accepted that females are genetically incapable of reading a map or reverse parking. However, I do have to say that Deannie is good at reverse parking and is excellent at map-reading even when the map is held upside down. One thing at which she is not good, however, is managing in hotel or other strange showers.

Those of you who travel will be aware that showers come in all sorts of forms with many different types of control. Except when in a purpose-made cubicle, the shower is usually sited over the bath. The water is turned on at the taps and then there is some arrangement for diverting the water up to the shower head. This can involve pulling a sleeve up or pushing it down, pushing a lever to one side or pulling it up, or, as we had in a bath in Hungary, turning clockwise a metal disc on the bath which looked exactly like an overflow. Sometimes, the shower has its own set of controls on the wall, where you turn one dial for water volume and the other for heat. Almost inevitably, there is a lonely but friendly plastic shower curtain which, encouraged by the suck from the overhead extractor fan, keeps wrapping itself around you in a very cold fashion while you shower. No matter how powerful the shower and how good the shower head, the head will almost always be secured to the wall by a cheap plastic fitting, guaranteed to break at the least provocation.

Having been scalded twice and frozen on innumerable occasions by trying to work out the controls while standing under the shower - never forget that, when you divert the water from the bath taps to the shower, there will always be a column of cold water in the pipe and the shower head to come out first and shock the unwary - I have worked out a cunning plan. 1. Enter the bathroom and gently work out how to raise and lower the shower head without breaking the bracket; usually, it is necessary to turn the bracket anti-clockwise. 2. Remove the shower head from the bracket and lay it in the bath. 3. Turn the water flow on and adjust the temperature. 4. Climb into the shower/bath and carefully replace the shower head on the wall-bracket. 5. Climb out of the shower/bath to collect your soap and shampoo which you had forgotten. 6. Hang the shower curtain inside the bath and fight with it while showering.

Usually, head office takes a look at the shower, genetic overload occurs and she asks me for instructions. Sometimes, however, she feels confident enough to "go it alone", in which case my instructions to myself are as follows: 1. Lie on the bed. 2. Wait for the yelp as the cold water hits her naked form. 3. Listen for the "crack" as she shatters the bracket while trying to lower the shower head. to suit her vertically challenged status. 4. Prepare tea and sympathy 5. Telephone the engineer to mend the shower bracket.

So, ladies and gentlemen, do you think there could be a sex-linked gene involved here?

(I offered management the right to reply to this article. She commented that, of course, there is no such gene. She has little shower knowledge because she usually takes a bath and, anyways, like mobile 'phones and Ipods, showers are much better understood by the younger generation).

Roy's of Wroxham: When I was a little boy, I used to come with my parents and grandparents all the way from the Wirral to Wroxham for a boating holiday on the Broads. (The tradition continues to this day but I am the Grandfather now!). In Wroxham, there was a small grocery with sawdust on the floor and the young owner, Fred Roy, used to bring a cardboard box full of groceries to our boat. Time has moved on and Roy's is now a large organisation. Deannie and I are fond of the Roy's of Wroxham in Bury St Edmunds. There are numerous bargains and I particularly appreciate the ability to back my car into the downstairs loading bay to collect any bulky items such as 12 enormous bags of garden compost; graciously loaded into the car by Roy's staff. A word of warning - the car par beside Roy's in Bury St Edmunds is not, as I assumed, a store car park. It is a council Pay and Display park. On the first occasion we visited, having neither paid nor displayed, I acquired a fixed penalty ticket. Knowing that they would not give me another ticket, I left the car there for the remainder of the day (just about breaking even!) and we went off for lunch. On the way back, we passed a very smart looking lady and her partner. She was saying to her companion "Do I look like the sort of woman to shop in Roy's of Wroxham?" I couldn't resist throwing a "Yes, of course" at her as we passed. That particular day, one of our bargains had been a bath pillow embroidered with "Relax and rewind". Weeks later, I realised that it should have said "Relax and unwind" hence the low price.

Best wishes to you all

Ian G. Nisbet

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