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If you go down to the woods today.

About a year ago I took the morning off work, claiming to have an appointment at the dentist's, and went off to be interviewed by Fern and Phil on that there television like what you house dwelling types live in. Not only did they send a Mercedes to pick me up from the woods, give me breakfast and a massage but they also gave me a 10 litre solar shower. For all you uninitiated types a solar shower is a big plastic bag that you fill up with water, leave out in the sun to get warm before tying to a tree or some such thing that is taller than yourself and showering using the appropriately attached shower head. I had had a five litre version years ago that I took to a festival only to discover that when the sun was hot it was too hot to want a warm shower and when there was no sun the water was too cold to want to go anywhere near, I remained a member of the great unwashed. The other day I was rummaging around in a friends garage where I keep all my possessions when I discovered the shower, "aha" I thought. Did I think "aha", does anyone actually think "aha"? Anyway, I'm not sure what my precise thoughts where on discovering the shower, "aha" will suffice. Having thought "aha" I put the solar shower into the ever growing pile of things that I had just realised I couldn't possibly live without and continued with my rummaging.

On Saturday night I decided that I had had enough of sponge baths and it was time to go up in the world, it was time to install a shower into my abode. I walked the mile or so to fetch about 20 litres of water stoked up the fire, got out my largest saucepan and sat back and waited for the water to heat. Sitting back and waiting didn't last long, not when I had a wind up torch, lent by a friend, to play with. A few winds of the torch and an instant of bright light later I was presented with a problem; the water I was heating was full of little bits of leaf, nothing too big but big enough to block the shower head attachment. I tried in vain to scoop the trespassing material out of the pan but succeeded only in stirring things about. So now instead of sitting about waiting in the dark as I had intended I found myself pacing up and down puzzling with a torch. Eventually I hit upon a solution; once the water was heated I would scoop it out with my mug which I would then poor into a milk bottle via a filter (sock) that was stuffed into the end, when the bottle was full I could then safely poor the water into the shower and start again. The whole operation only took about five minutes.

Then I tied the shower to a handy branch, placed some clean waterproof tarp on the floor beneath it (no point having a shower if your feet are going to get muddy), got a bit undressed, looked about the place to make sure no one was lurking, got a bit more undressed, looked around again, got completely undressed and feeling very self conscious started to shower. It soon became apparent that I had tied the shower to far too low a branch as I had to kneel down to wash any bit of me that was above a meter from the ground, apart from that though it was absolutely luxurious. Absolutely brilliant.

I'm slowly getting fitter, I have been for six runs now and have knocked about two minutes off the time it takes me to cover the first mile and a half. I find a cold shower when I get back really brings me to life.

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 14:56 by Registered CommenterJam | CommentsPost a Comment

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