It’s been many a year since I submerged U-Boats into my Mr Matey; bath times are different now I’m older.
In my south London flat, growing up in the 60s, no bath time was complete without a fleet of plastic destroyers and rather too much Mr Matey acting as dangerous mid-Atlantic cliffs and waves as I re-enacted the Battle of Jutland and scenes from The Cruel Sea. I was Noel Coward in my bath (without the smoking jacket, obviously).
However, as you get older, and as a boy discover there are other things to play with in the bath other than replica Bismarcks, a sophistication comes over you and Mr Matey is eventually replaced by Radox and then anything from Kiehl’s as you get older still. Plastic boats and rubber ducks are replaced by candles as you try and re-enact scenes from Barbra Streisand’s A Star is Born.
I can only assume Queen Elizabeth I only bathed once a year as no-one had invented Mr Matey or, in her case, Miss Matey. It might have saved Sir Walter Raleigh’s head if he’d brought some Bronnley Bath Cubes back from the West Indies rather than tobacco.
I still enjoy a bath; although I just lie there these days, my myopia bearing testimony that I should really have stuck to manoeuvring my replica HMS Victory more during my adolescence!