Should a Hobbit have a Shower?

Or boycott the polythene pipes that feed it?

But first: Finally! I’ve almost finished the grand bathhouse annex to the tiny cabin in the woods… Mainly a tepid shower by candlelight but if the temperature on the roof gets high enough it can be a  warm bath as well.

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Highly insulated walls thanks to the dubious material polystyrene slabs (though recycled), so what it lacks in water temperature it makes up for in snugness of the ambiance. It was a rare pleasure to shower in it for the first time. I think Tolkien might have had an unfavourable opinion of showers; such an invention is not mentioned in the Lord of the Rings, at least – but baths of course are, and in a very positive light, notably in the delightful account of Frodo, Sam Pippin and Merry’s first (and last) night at Crickhollow.

For those with minds of plastic and pipes: the shower is fed by rainwater collected on a area of plastered ground plus two tarpaulins (o dear it looks scruffy!) high up on the Hill,

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feeding into a black polythene tank of 1000 litres just below, and thence down many metres of 25mm black polythene pipe (‘Alkathene’) then more of 15mm, to a ballcock on the roof of the cabin, and thence into the rooftop pond beneath a tent of black pipe framework and clear greenhouse film:

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and finally down a 15mm pipe to the showerhead, with a low-pressure rose (showerhead) made by punching lots of panel-pin holes in a circle of thin copper sheeting. Whew! At least there’s no motor involved – all it needs is gravity, which has never to our knowledge even broken down or run out of power…

I am typing this in bed in the cabin by solar powered light, on solar powered wifi, on my solar powered laptop. It’s not exactly Hobbiton, but Poppy the Head Doglet is curled up beside me, snoring, and Honey, no.2, at one foot, and Max the old tabby at the other, while the wind sighs in the manuka outside and the rain comes and goes. Homely Hobbithaven the First it is… But in the future I will eschew the greenhouse film and plastic tank. Alkathene, well that’s a hard one to do without. Clay piping would be lovely, though! and copper. And glass for the rooftop pond tent. (Or I think a separate little solar tank would be more normal – it is a bit odd having a pond on the roof! Pushing the boundaries – using the amazing strength and watertightness of (nautical) ferrocement…

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Filed under bathhouses and washhouses, cabins, ferrocement, hobbit hobbithole

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