Bath towelling

The English bathroom, apart from being the center of ablution for the members of a household, provides the opportunity to give off clues as to regional pronunciation and class origin. Cath, a Yorkshire lass, might choose bath as a neat rhyme for one of her autobiographical limerics:
There once was a girl called Cath
Who lathered herself in the bath… etc.

Garth, an officer in the British army, might muse:
There once was a major called Garth
Who found a grenade in his bath… etc

One of Garth’s corporals, noted for his habit of larking around whenever the occasion arose, might say:
The corp’ral fell in the barf
‘E did it just for a larf.. etc.

Major Garth dries himself with a tahl, on which there is a picture of the Taj Mahal. His corporal, while looking for his a towel, finds instead a garden trowel.

Be that as it may, what is the best way to get dry? Do you rub the towel across the surface of your skin briskly in a Chubby-Checkeresque attempt to twist the night away? Do you merely wrap and gently press the soft fluffy material to your skin until the surplus water robs the towel of its spring? I think that vigourous towelling must have  arisen sometime in the early part of the 20th century when baths began to be plumbed into separate rooms dedicated to the function of bodily cleansing. In the days when a tub was filled with hot water in the kitchen close to the log fire or boiler, the experience must have been altogether more cosy. Fixed baths would typically be located in a room, often upstairs,  some distance from the nearest coal fire, and this at a time when central heating was as rare as an honest politician.

I used to swim in the cold North sea when I was a boy; the shock to the system on submersion was severe. A good survival strategy was to swim very fast and energetically for the first few minutes in order to warm yourself up. I think rapid towel movement serves a similar function.

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