Elizabeth I was reputed to bathe once a month whether or not she needed it.
Whatever the truth of that story, daily baths or showers are a relatively recent phenomenon.
When my parents first married they lived in a two-room cottage where the bath also served as the legs of the kitchen table and was filled only a few times a week.
One of my flatmates grew up on a farm in drought-prone North Otago and didn’t know people showered daily until he was in a university hostel.
Nowadays personal hygiene standards are higher and most of us choose to bathe or shower at least once a day.
But baths and showers do more than cleanse us, they can be physically and emotionally therapeutic.
When our second son was admitted to hospital with what we feared was the same condition which killed his older brother, I would have a shower night and morning, cry my heart out then pull myself together to face the day or night ahead.
Even now, the contemplative time a hot shower affords, serve to wash away some of the cares of ordinary life and I’m grateful for running water and the electricity which heats it for my daily shower and the cleansing and refreshment it provides.