Early morning bathroom fever used to hit our house every day, as the five females of the home all tried to mark out their territory. Mostly this involved laying claim to the hairdryer or carrying round the curly brush to make sure it was always available (I still, to this day, have to work out why, in a house of a hundred brushes, only one was good enough for all of them). Added to this was the rush for the bathroom door with each one demanding that they had a reason to take priority. I often tried to bring some logic to the arguments that raged about who should rightfully inherit the water closet first. I soon realised that my involvement was neither wanted nor useful.
Things have not always been so tense in casa Molineaux; for the first eighteen months of married life we owned a terraced house. It was advertised to us as having an ‘indoor toilet’, because at that time many older homes still only had an external ‘privy’.
In truth it was an extra cupboard built into the back box room but, because we are at a nostalgic age, we now lovingly refer to it as an en suite bedroom.
Over time we gradually increased our bedroom space to accommodate our offspring but, due to the older nature of our houses, we never quite managed extra bathrooms; meaning that queues for baths and toilets have been a regular feature.
I have tried several schemes in order to avoid such gridlock in the morning. I had a run of setting the girl’s alarms at 15 minute intervals, but it only took one daughter to sleep in to throw the whole schedule into chaos.
I have learnt over the years to spend as little time doing my own ablutions as possible in order that I might not enrage the already anxious female population of our house. When I do leave the shower, after the shortest time possible, it is to the sound of my wife complaining about the excess water on the floor; apparently I am supposed to begin the drying process whilst still in the foot and half of cubicle space.
I am not sure that the complaints are justified when you consider the obstacle course that I have to negotiate following female bath time; this after I have found my way through the haze of perfume and other noxious gases that come out of the cosmetic pots.
For me shower time is a quick event with the point of the exercise being to get clean. All our girls are unanimous in the view that it can also be good therapy to stand motionless under moving water for a very long time. If I were cruel I would try to speed up the process by turning on a downstairs hot tap in order to change the water pressure and temperature. (No! Honestly I haven’t done this).
At a moment of greatest frustration I once joined a local sports club because it had excellent showers and the queue was less than the one at home.
Things started to get a little easier as two of the girls headed for university and I hoped that my opportunity for a free bathroom might arrive when our eldest daughter got married last year. The actual result was that she now visits and brings her new husband along to join the queue.
My other main complaint is that my razor is no longer my own; after I have spent a small fortune on blades I find that they lose their sharpness within days. Apparently those designed especially for females are not as good.
I have finally fallen on an excellent idea that I am sure will solve such problems. It came to me whilst I was waiting to buy cheese at our local supermarket. I pulled the ticket from the handy machine provided and calmly waited for my number to be displayed on the electronic sign. Then it came to me; if it is good enough for shoppers wanting dairy products then it should work well with daughters wanting to start the day with a shower.