During my school days in the sixties I was in danger of making school nit nurse redundant.
Whilst I never had a specific bath night, I do remember regular washing of my hair. It wasn’t the actual washing I didn’t like – I quite liked the smell of Vosene or the occasional Fairy Liquid when we were cutting back on shampoo – it was the methods my mother employed to get my hair clean.
We didn’t have a shower attachment which you affix to the bath-taps, but we did have a massive sink in the kitchen. If my mother washed my hair whilst cooking, there was the danger of coming out of the kitchen smelling of a combination of Vosene and egg ‘n’ chips.
My hair was washed over the sink with a plastic device which hung over the edge of the sink to help ease the shock of cold enamel on nape of neck; people facing the Guillotine were more comfortable. I preferred my hair to be washed whilst I faced the ceiling, as the yellow nicotine patch was preferable than looking at the potato peelings.
A cup was used to rinse my hair – most times it didn’t contain my mum’s Guinness, although I’m sure the iron might have strengthened my follicles.
My hair would then be vigorously dried with a tea towel from the Isle of Wight. As my head was being rubbed as if I were an old English Sheepdog I would see visions of Ventor, Alum Bay sands and Parkhurst Prison passing, at sub-liminal speeds, before my eyes.
I never did get nits, but then I’m told they don’t like clean hair. Or perhaps all head lice are allergic to potatoes?