This week we're discussing Bathrooms - British and American. Our guest blogger is Kat from 3 Bedroom Bungalow, who's an American recently dispatched to England.
The first thing you need to learn about bathrooms in the UK is that they are not called bathrooms. They are the loo ,washroom, water closet or toilets. If you ask someone where the bathroom is, they will look at you like you have grown a third eye. The second thing you need to know is to turn the lights on, there is probably a pull cord hanging from the ceiling instead of a light switch. Also to flush the toilet there is usually a button and not a handle. If the button is split in half, you push the smallest part for #1 and both halves for #2 (or at least that is how it was explained to me).
Now in America I am aware that not all showers are the greatest, but normally you are at least privy to at least a hot shower. That is unless you are the last person of a family of 5 to take a shower and you have a small water heater. However in the UK, a hot shower is something that takes a little bit of skill to have at hand. First off, there is the problem of how to heat the water. I was lucky and have a boiler that heats a fair amount of hot water for the house, however I have come into contact where this isn't always the case. Some people have what they call an electric heater in the shower. It is commonly referred to as a "power shower" It is a little box that is located in the shower stall and it is supposed to heat the water as it comes out. As I have found, not so much. When staying in a hotel in London we had a room that had this "handy" device installed. I managed to get a luke warm shower an my husband got a shower of ice cubes.
Another problem with showers here is the water pressure. My house has two showers. We only use one. Why you ask? Cause the master shower puts out just enough water to make you mad. If you have long hair forget about trying to wash it in this shower. You will be there for ages before all the shampoo is out of your hair. The second shower falls in the acceptable category. It has decent pressure, but the draw back is that we have to share it with the girls.
Once you have your shower, you have to deal with the sinks. Once again, I am lucky, the house I live in was previously owned by Americans and they made a few adjustments. They installed what they call a mixer tap. This means on one side hot water comes out and on the other side cold water comes out and they mix inside the tap and come out in one stream "mixed" to make warm water. In other washrooms I have seen taps that remind me of the ancient taps we had back in my elementary school. There is a tap on each side of the sink; one tap puts out scalding hot water and the other puts out ice cold water. There is no in between. You will either blister your hand or lose a hand to frostbite.
Other than that UK bathrooms are pretty much just like American ones, just smaller and more confusing.
The first thing you should understand when Americans say “bathroom” is that there may not be a bath in sight. As many of you know, “bathroom” refers to “the loo”, but even when they’re talking about the place where ablutions take place, it doesn’t always mean a bath-room. Many Americans prefer showers, so there’s often just a loo, a sink and a shower. More confusingly, a house can be said to have “two and a half baths”, which means two bathrooms and a loo; the room with a loo and a hand basin is often called a “half bath”.
And then there are the plugs, which I swear, are for decoration. Usually they are metal disks operated by a device near the taps, and are not removable from the plug hole. They are only supposed go up and down about half an inch but they usually get yanked out by the frustrated and uninitiated. It is impossible to get these plugs back in place and functioning, which usually means showers for all. In addition, I have yet to find a bath tub plug that doesn’t cause a slow leak, meaning that you can only luxuriate for about fifteen minutes.
Americans sometimes refer to a small hand basin as a “lavatory”, which I find quite surprising and daren’t think how “lavatory” came to mean the loo in one country and the hand basin in another!
But I have to commend Americans on their showers. None of that stick-to-your-body shower curtain, and low pressure showers here! Most of them are so powerful they exfoliate as well as clean your bod – whether you need exfoliating or not!!!
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22 hours ago