Things I Don’t Understand About the British, Part 5.1

The heated towel rail. Totally pointless and very expensive.

The heated towel rail. Totally pointless and very expensive.

Last week I posted about my confusion with bathroom fixtures: the sink with separate hot and cold water taps, the cord to pull the light switch, and the lack of electrical outlets except for the plug for an electric razor. I’ve had some good comments about these things on Facebook and here, and thought they necessitated an update.

So. That thing about not having “mixer” taps? As it turns out, they exist! Some of my friends even have them, including my own sister-in-law, who also has an actual switch to turn on the light in her bathroom instead of a cord. Why do I not have these things?

One of our friends in America, who happens to be British, very helpfully posted a link to the equivalent of the British Home Depot where I discovered you can buy mixer taps for installation in your very own home! When I own a home again I will be installing these. Apparently such things weren’t common 20 or so years ago but are more common now, but I still don’t think I’ve seen them out in the real world.

Another of my readers commented here about the glass shower door that only encloses about half of the bath or shower, allowing you to splash water all over your bathroom floor. These I have seen and can’t make any sense of. You’ll have to take my word for it as I can’t find any photographic evidence of these online. The same reader also pointed out that there’s always the heated towel rail to make up for other bathroom failings—though I think he was in agreement with me that heated towel rails are pointless—in my experience they only heat a tiny portion of towel, and they don’t heat that portion very well. There might be a dearth of radiators in many British homes, but hey! We’ll install a heated towel rail to do a pretty poor job of heating your towel, and that’s it! For the rest of the day you can freeze.

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