Tap dance

Ok, this one has been bugging me for a long time. Who on earth thinks of a design like that? I mean, look at it. Notice anything strange?


Faulty design through and through

It’s in need of a clean? Yeah, I knew you were gonna say that. I’ll get to it as soon as this post is published, promised. After all, a girl needs to get her priorities straight. Anything else?

The taps (what my American readers might know as faucets) are too short? Definitely! They do not combine well with my little monster’s short arms. Or my big hands, for that matter.

The handle design doesn’t exactly lend itself to opening the taps with soapy/sticky hands? Oh yes, but that is not a typically British issue. Unfortunately.

No, what I am really peeved about is the fact that there are separate taps for hot and cold water. A standard here on the island. And I can’t help but wonder WHY?!

Sure, my basins at home are all equipped with a plug, so I could mix the water in the basin. Which is absolutely fine when I want to fill my bath tub to take a bath. But who takes the time to fill the basin for a quick hand wash? Especially one as shallow as this one that needs to be almost overflowing to give you enough depth to submerge your hands?

Apart from my little monster, of course, whose arms are too short to reach the taps anyway.

So why don’t island monkeys do mixer taps? They are so much more convenient!!! And faster. And in a public toilet pretty much the only way to wash your hands with warm water without adding more germs than there are on them to start with.

Honestly, when I see a construction like that, I wonder why they even bothered putting in a second tap for the hot water. What a waste of material! Especially when the basin in question does not possess the added amenity of a plug. What, am I expected to open both taps and then alternately let cold and hot water run into my cupped hands until the temperature is right? How does that work with the dinky little hands of a three-year old? And how do I then close the taps again while I clean my hands with soap?

Oh yeah, I forgot, I can’t close them because it’s impossible to re-open them with soapy hands.

So, cold water it is then. I swear, since I have moved to the UK roughly three years ago I have never washed my hands with warm water!

The sad thing is, it’s not like mixer taps aren’t available in this country. You can buy them at any DIY store. People here just don’t. It’s a mystery. If there is anyone out there who can explain this to me, please do. Much obliged.

20 thoughts on “Tap dance

  1. I always find the two taps confusing. If you’re wanting to, say, wash your hands – as you say – it’s a frantic dash back & forth. Too hot! Too cold! Too hot! Too cold!

  2. Totally weird. Of course, Brits never have sticky hands, so that explains the poor handles…but the dual faucets? I’ve never encountered that. How perplexing.

    • You see, Wikipedia explains them as “common in older installations” but over here they are as modern as they come. Just google “taps” on the .co.uk page, it will boggle your mind.

  3. Too, too true. I have, however, had similar experiences as a student in Germany lo, those many years ago. What if you want to wash not only your hands, but maybe your face? Your hair? Ah, yes, great observation!

    • Very true! Washing your hair would be all but impossible! Especially with such short spouts.

      In fact, I do remember separate taps from my youth as well. But as I said earlier, the mixer tap is a newer invention that, apart from the Brits, the whole world has since adopted. Sometimes I wonder if it is an effort to be quirky and eccentric…

  4. That’s so odd! That design is truly useless. Really. I suppose they plug the drain and do the mixing in the basin, but ugh. Yeah. ugh.

  5. Could you invent some kind of adapter that would connect the two and allow the water to mix and come out in one place? If you made it universal, you could sell millions of them and become unbelievably rich. And have clean hands, too.

    • Nah, I’m afraid for some strange reason our British friends like this design, there is just no other explanation for its continued existence. I’d be just another entrepreneur who would die in poverty, just like the guy who is desperately trying to sell mixer taps here in the UK.

      At least I can say I wash my hands of it. Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

  6. Not only would mixer taps be better but with one of those long handle thingies, you could turn the water on and off with your arm and not have to touch the damn tap handles with your hands… I’m with you on this one, Sandra!

    Mind you, if I can possibly avoid public loos… I do.

    • Very true, Val. What’s the point when you open the tap with dirty hands and then have to close it again with clean ones?

      Unfortunately, with a toddler, public loos have become very much a part of my life (unless I fancy never going out), and the “with child” thingy doesn’t make it any better…

  7. Using mixer taps in kitchens risks unclean water from the hot water tank being drunk (mixer taps were implicated in a recent outbreak of Legionnaires Disease.) Putting a small amount of water in the basin is also eco-friendly; washing hands under a running tap is very wasteful. I must also add, one thing that we notice about Germans is that they are very…. anal. Pernicketty about silly little things, but missing the wider picture, somehow. I think the tap preoccupation falls into that category. However, while in the bathroom – why on earth do Germans shit on ledges? I was horrified when using a German toilet to find that everything is trapped on a shelf at the back of the toilet-bowl!!! Asking why this was, I was told “so that you can examine it for parasites.” Yuck, yuck and thrice yuck!! Honestly, sort this one out – generally when I have eaten something, I don’t want to see it again, and I certainly don’t want to become closely acquainted or send it a Christmas card.

    • Hahaha, I am so with you on the toilet design! I actually commented on it in a previous post. The good news is that this is an old design which is gradually replaced by the more widely accepted “Plop in the water” version. As opposed to this silly tap design which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, although one should think that other places have even bigger problems with Legionnaires Disease.
      As to the eco argument: I am all for saving the planet but the number of places I have seen with this tap design yet WITHOUT a plug must surely be indicative of the fact that environmental friendliness was not on the inventor’s mind.
      In any case, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and call me names.

  8. Sandra. it’s so nice to see your face at the bottom of my blog post today. I subscribed to your blog as you finished it…. ironic timing! Anyway, wishing you the best and nice to see you!

    • Hi MJ, I know the timing was perfect. I did plan on writing another one or two posts here but now time all but ran me over. I hope that I can at least produce a proper good-bye post sometime in the near future, not least because my next project (emigration to a tropical island, just to stay with the island theme) is already well underways – not in terms of writing about it but living and experiencing it.

      In the meantime I am trying to keep up some reading on my favourite blogs (hint, hint). Thank you so much for not forgetting about me and even taking the time to leave a comment. I promise I will return the favour at some stage. Keep downunder upright for me xxx

  9. I lived in the UK from ’94 to 2003 and I too couldn’t understand the faucets. Ok I get that in older houses, with plumbing in desperate need of an upgrade, you would still find separate taps. What really got to me was visiting brand NEW bars and restaurants that installed -yep, you guessed it- separate hot and cold taps. Ai ya yay.

    One of the funniest moments for me was, upon arrival and using the loo, not be able to flush it. My then Danish boyfriend had to give me a lesson in what he called the ‘pumping flush’ where you had to sort of pump the handle up and down for it to get momentum and the flush of water to take place.

    Just discovered your blog through someone’s comment on another website. Am very glad. Love all mixed cultural/language blogs. Looking forward to reading more!

    • Hi Cordelia, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I am not surprised you made similar observations, I hear this a lot from Non-Brits.

      I am trying to keep posting but unfortunately, life happens at the worst imaginable times. Yay!

    • Thank you, Elsa. It is just weird the Brits don’t find anything wrong with those taps…

      Yes, we are enjoying ourselves here in the sun, especially with the horror news of blizzards and ever more snow in Europe. I hope it will be over before we fly to Berlin for Easter!

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