The Romans did it and so did the Minoans. Columnist Annie West understands the ancient Egyptians indulged too - bathing has been a favourite pastime for millennia. Goodness knows what sort of bath Cleopatra had filled with ass's milk but I've seen a hip bath at Knossos palace in Crete and believe me it looked rather tempting to a tired tourist - so long as I had someone to fetch the warm water for it!
To me bathing is one of the most wonderfully seductive temptations of all. Bear in mind I live in Australia where, though homes have bathtubs, it's generally the shower that gets more use. In a hurry to get to work or school or on a hot summer's day, there's nothing like a quick invigorating shower.
But a bath is a special place - to me it's a treat, an indulgence. A time to relax away from the stresses of the day and to avoid the voices asking what's for dinner or where something is. I think I began truly to appreciate the bath when I had my first child. My husband understood perfectly when I needed a bit of down time and occasionally escaped to the bathroom with some bubble bath and stayed there till my fingers turned pruney and I knew it was time to get out ready for the next feed.
After a day of hard work in the garden (we had to create our own in our first home) relaxing in a bath a mineral salts eased strained muscles and gave the body a chance to recover.
Then I discovered the joy of reading in the bath. I soon gave up trying to read magazines, but a small paperback was just the right size! Was it any wonder I lost track of time and that it was time to prepare dinner on the occasional nights I indulged in a long, relaxing bath?
Then of course there are the other things that go with a long, leisurely soak. Fat scented candles to lend ambience even if your bathroom isn't as luxurious as some of these (aren't they lovely?). Bath salts to scent the warm water and help you relax. I've discovered a marvellous concoction called Bulgarian Rose by Scullys of Berry which is guaranteed to make you feel pampered. A friend of mine used to make her own bath salts with rosemary and lavender and it was wonderful receiving her special bottled treats at Christmas.
And then of course there's the bubble bath. Terrific for kids, or for making grownups feel just that little bit special.
At a recent writers' conference a friend of mine mentioned that she gets her best ideas in the bath. Subsequently the keynote speaker referred to that and explained that the negative ions generated by falling water (bath taps or waterfalls) actually promoted creativity. I'm not questioning the theory, because I know it works for me too. There's something soothing yet stimulating about water. So maybe I can list it as an essential writer's tool?
I've included here a photo of a wonderful bath from a castle (Yes, a castle!) I visited in Europe a couple of years ago. The view from the tower where I stayed was fantastic, the massive bed, the whole ambience of the place just special. But one of the best things was lighting the chubby candles in the bathroom, using the gorgeous bath oils (complete with rose petals) and relaxing in that very long tub. Of course my thoughts wandered to daydreams about a gorgeous prince...
How about you? Is bathing a temptation? Do you like to relax with a glass of wine and a book, or perhaps some music? Do you linger at the end of a hard day or do you prefer short showers, or sea bathing? Or aren't you tempted by water at all?
I'm thrilled to say the fascinating prince I daydreamed about all those months ago has now appeared in my latest title PASSION, PURITY AND THE PRINCE. Alaric and Tamsin's story has already been out in the UK and appears next month in Australia and New Zealand. You can buy it here or read an excerpt on my website. Also, this month, CAPTIVATED BY THE SHEIKH is released in the UK (a by request edition that includes my title FOR THE SHEIKH'S PLEASURE).