Under Pressure: Showers aren’t just for April

I’ve just got out of the shower.

We have a new shower. Well, it’s not new… we bought and installed it ourselves in January 2016.

What we failed to realise when we bought and installed it was that it required water pressure beyond the capacity of our plumbing at the time.

So for more than eighteen months the experience of that shower was much like being spat on by a baby bird.

Imagine how frustrating it was to stand in a roomy shower cabinet with rain bars and two shower heads (one large, fixed, and one removable for directing the jet well, wherever the fancy takes you) only to feel the merest trickle of water dribble down your back.

To know that this shower’s destiny, its raison d’être was to blast you with high pressure water jets such as the French police might use on rioting protestors.

It was the work of a half hour to even get your hair wet enough to wash.

We talked about getting a plumber in.

We fantasised about a utopian future where water flowed freely, at pressure and did not, not ever, calcify around the shower head holes.

We shared stories of showers we had known…

The shower we’d enjoyed in our beach front villa in the Maldives.

That one was open to the elements. An enclosed space with no roof but the leaves of over hanging palms. 

You could take a shower looking up at the stars. That was the up side.

The down side was that when storms hit, you could potentially get knocked out by a coconut blown in on a force 8 wind on your way to the loo.

Romantic nonetheless. And water pressure was absolutely no problem.

Then there was the wonderful e- suite shower in our room at the country house hotel where my brother and sister-in-law were married.

It was worth suffering all the familial tensions just to stand beneath its hot jets which worked at full capacity even when you turned on the beautiful copper rain bars or slid its slide bar provocatively up and down its fixing.

I know the experts say we should take short, warm showers to prevent any sort of skin damage (you can increase the risk of itchy skin and eczema by showering for long periods with very hot water – who knew?). And the eco conscious would have us out as soon as we’ve whipped round the armpit and groin area with a paraben-free shower gel, but I could have retired to that shower never to be seen again.

We tormented ourselves by comparing our shower situation to the awful school showers we’d endured as teenagers.

There are few things about modern education which are good but the end of the communal shower is one of them.

“At least they worked, even if they weren’t always hot,” I’d grumble.

We recalled films where the lead characters had shared a sexy shower together.

“Precious little chance of that happening here…” I’d moan, though the truth is those sexy showers are not in my preferred list of shared intimate activity. Have you noticed you can get really quite chilly when you stand out of the range of the shower head?

Plus, with my bad back I don’t want to end up in A&E in my bath towel.

I don’t know if it was the thought of sharing a shower with me that spurred my husband on, but a call was put in to the plumbing and heating engineer, funds were amassed and now, two years on, our shower is all we dreamed it could be.

It’s hot and it’s pressured.

I’ve loaded it with treats from Molton Brown and Occitane (you only live once, right?) and I’ve bought it the best in proprietary shower cleaners to keep it shiny and new.

I’m loving that shower.

But I still draw the line at love in the shower.


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  1. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the “cold shower”. No, not that kind, the kind I got used to in rural Thailand which consists of a concrete reservoir of water and a plastic bowl. The idea of throwing cold water over your body in a hot country sounds refreshing but believe me, it can be quite a shock to the system. The opposite extreme was in the Modern Hotel in Penang, Malaysia (it’s far from modern nowadays). The plumbing is on the outside of the building so the water within the pipes gets heated by the intense sunshine. For the first few minutes I’m sure the water would be hot enough to make a pot of tea.

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