Saturday, 10 April 2010

Tin baths

All the families we knew had tin baths. I think that they must have been for the Amahs to do the washing in as we all had normal, plumbed-in, indoor baths. With the heat, all the kids loved playing in them, just to cool down. Here's a photo of me and our neighbours, Judith and David. We seemed to have a water fight nearly every day (no water meters then!) which always ended up with us getting the hose out just to cool down. Until I went back to Singapore in 1990, I'd forgotten just how much the heat got to you over there but I think being a kid then, I adjusted to it easier. During water fights, Alan and me would always end up drenching each other. I remember that the garden hose was full of holes but we never got a new one because it was great to stand under just to cool down. I've seen many people cooling off in these baths in photos from Singapore but I've never seen a photo of anyone using one to do the washing, even though they were meant for that. No-one had washing machines in those days and everything was washed in the tin bath with soap powder (which came from the local shop in a big red bucket) and a wooden spoon.
The second photo shows my parents' friend, George Holden and his son, Frank, cooling off in their garden. I wonder what the weather was like in England at the time? Probably snowing! There's one other thing I can remember that the baths were used for. Around the estates, there were always chickens and ducks roaming about. I'm not sure if they were wild or to be, unfortunately, used for someone's dinner! This meant that there were many unhatched eggs around and all the kids would go back patiently, day after day, to see if they'd hatched out. Some of the eggs would be laid in our gardens and some of the ducklings from them would be put in the tin bath so they could have a good swim about. We all loved seeing them and eventually they were reunited with their mothers. I'm not sure what happened to them after that, I hope that they weren't eaten!

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