In the back garden of my son’s home sites my nemesis, better known as the hot tub. We have an intimate relationship… I know its foibles, know how to make it bubble with glee and am familiar with the nether regions hidden beneath the deck.
Such intimacy does not work both ways. Only on a couple of occasions has it seen any more of my exposed flesh than rolled up sleeves. Mine is not the role of a basking Hobbit, but more like that of lowly servitor, and yet, every month we get up close and personal.
It is bigger than me and knows it, being capable of holding a small party in its liquid embrace. It has been known to try and swallow me whole, when its lid has snapped shut with me half inside. I always, but always get soaked during the maintenance process… and it has even dragged me into its depths fully clothed.
And today was the day I had to clean and refill it.
It is also a day when I need to get home, in spite of extra cooking to do and the aftermath of lads’ night to tackle, as I am picking my friend up for the weekend.
So I was glad to see the morning had dawned dry and bright. I fell quite positive about the whole thing as I prepared to set off extra early. I thought a 7am start would be a good idea, then I might stand a chance of getting home at a reasonable hour.
It wasn’t until I switched the wipers on that I realised that the world and my car were both covered ina thick sheet of ice. Not frost that would melt rapidly in the watery sunshine, but nice, clear, solid ice. And it was bitterly cold.
The fish in the pond has snapped into a state of suspended animation, making checking on the two infirm ones’ survival a tad difficult. The hosepipe had frozen to the deck, an adventurous mosquito had had its come-uppance and was encased in ice and the lid of the hot tub was a skating rink. This is not a scenario into which you want to introduce a large volume of cold water.
Nevertheless, I persevered hobbitfully, duly scrubbing and shivering over the course of the next 4 hours until I had the thing filled and heating once more while my son wallowed in bed, breaking his fast upon bacon and egg sandwiches while I prepared a further three meals (and some for the freezer) and did the daily chores to thaw between bouts of wetness.
I managed the whole affair with minimal water damage. I was feeling quite pleased with myself until I realised that I still had to install the new filter…
This contraption has a screw fitting..and it sticks. It takes a lot of fiddling to get the thing in place.
It is also deep under the freezing cold surface of even colder water… at arms length.
“…and cold performs th’ effect of fire.”
Milton was right. Hell is a cold hot tub…