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A Different View

From functionality to focal point – the evolution of bathrooms

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When was it decided to promote the bathroom from a room that wasn’t always necessarily indoors into what might well be described as a new private living room at the heart of every house?

It used to be a room for your ablutions that you got in and out of as fast as you could – now it’s all about quality time for relaxation, where you light candles…even read a book in the bath.

People drink wine in the bathroom now, and not because they’re hiding away, too mean to share it with everyone else.

There are magazine racks where you can enjoy a read in case you get bored while doing what nature intended – although why you’d want to handle a paper that was perused by previous occupiers of the ceramic throne is probably not something to think too deeply about.

Today’s bathroom has under-floor heating, ‘his and hers’ sinks, and roll-top baths on a plinth with Jacuzzi jet streams to tickle the places that nature never intended.

The shower is no longer a white rubber tube attached to the two bath taps – looking like the original implement for an enema; it now has a rainshower head that recreates a downpour in the jungle…albeit with loads of hot water and soap.

There are bathrooms with armchairs in them, in case you need to sit down after the trauma of your bath or powdering your nose – if we had an armchair in our bathroom growing up, we’d have had to take out the bath.

A survey commissioned by Barratt – the big UK builders – recently showed that, when it came to purchasing a new home, en suite bathrooms were the second most desirable feature after off-street parking.

High-end buyers like to have dressing areas with fireplaces so that one person can lounge and chat while the other person goes about their more normal business.

Perhaps it’s the practical side of the brain kicking in, but showering and dressing were always seen in our world as solo pursuits and most definitely not a spectator sport. That’s why we got televisions instead.

And speed used to be of the essence – quick in, quick out, before getting down to the real business of the day. Now it’s a place of quiet contemplation, and quite possibly the only room in the house with a lock on it.

Or maybe it’s a male/female thing because the same survey found that men wanted privacy and silence in the bathroom – particularly early in the morning – while women admitted they found it annoying that men leave the washbasin grubbier than they found it.

Bathrooms now have themes – a nautical feel, illustrated by the presence of sailing collectibles on the window sill, white floorboards and blue and white striped tongue and groove walls.

We have wet rooms, where the water flows through a drain in the middle of the floor – something that we also had but it was more of a leak than a design feature.

There are houses with more bathrooms than bedrooms, although if you have armchairs in there, it’s probably comfortable enough to sleep in as well.

You almost grow nostalgic for the old days when a home had one functional bathroom with a sink, a toilet and a bath – and that was a huge step up from the outside loo and the tin bath in front of the open fire, filled with water from the kettle, on a Saturday night.

Lino was the height of luxury when it came to bathroom floor coverings – although that material too has gone the way of the dodo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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