As a kid, I grew up in a cottage with an outside washhouse where my mother did the washing (on a Monday) in a dolly-tub (which had to be laboriously filled with buckets and buckets of hot water) using a posher-stick (as we called it) or (as it’s probably correctly named) posser, which you had to pump up and down in order to provide the necessary grime-releasing agitation!
Here’s a picture of a posser currently for sale on eBay and for those to whom all this is gobbledegook here’s how Wikipedia defines the object:
A posser was historically a tool used for possing or mixing laundry while hand washing it. Possers come in various forms, there is usually a vertical pole with a handle bar at the top but the base can be conical, with three (or more) legs or sometimes a flat disk. As hand washing has been replaced by electric & mechanical washing machines the words & implements have fallen into disuse.Words like ‘historically’ and phrases like ‘fallen into disuse’ are alarmingly apt to make one feel not so much old as ancient! But that’s how life was in the early 1900s (I jest, of course! I mean the early 1950’s): Monday was washday and Friday was bath-night.
You knew where you were back then! We had clear orientation-points in our lives - which is, maybe, why I never seem to know what day it is anymore!
Anyway, mention of bath-night brings me to the eagerly awaited announcement of---
THE CAPTION COMPETITION RESULTS!
Here’s a reminder of the picture for which I was soliciting captions - with a new (pretty direct), Valentine’s-Day-cashing-in slogan.
There were twenty-six entries (with a few people - principally David - having more than one go!) and several recurrent themes such as soap, taps, plugholes and, of course, Brokeback Mountain, which probably inspired Ginch Gonch’s campaign in the first place.
Knowing several of the entrants and sharing a bed with one of them, I decided to ask my good friend Polkadots & Moonbeams to do a bit of impartial, unbiased judging from a totally anonymous listing.
I have to say, she laughed a lot at your inventiveness and cheekiness but finally leaned towards those of you who had approached the photo as if there were some logical (as opposed to sensual) explanation!
So, THE RESULTS!
In JOINT-SECOND PLACE…
"I still say some kind of sail would be in order."
"Water shortage? Is that what they told you, too?"
In FIRST PLACE & THE WINNER…
“If it's going to get across the lake, then we should start nearer the water.”
Well done, all of you! Your modelling contracts with Ginch Gonch should be with you shortly - or even briefly!
And my thanks for all the submissions, which I offer now (in alphabetical order of contributors) for your passing amusement:
"No," he said testily "that's NOT my foot."
"Look, you want water in this bath? You get it. I went last time."
"What do you mean you don't know where you left the razor?"
“I told you, light the fire, move the bath over it; and then get in.”
“You left the towels, where?”
“Now we've opened this tin can, what next?”
"Are you sure you auditioned for Brokeback Mountain?"
“If this is meant to be shelter, I think the other way up would be more effective!”
"Are you sitting on the plug, or…"
“Pah! Agents? They said I'd get a chance to show what I'm made of - useless!”
“I think the director said ‘Show off the briefs’, not ‘Take off the briefs’!"
"Can we just try a Civil Partnership?" [One of my favourites... Ed.]
“If it's not water in the bottom of this tub then why is it distinctly moist?”
“Fine, now neither of us are sitting at the tap end… just how are we meant to get water in this thing without taps?”
From DIVA OF DECEPTION:
“Your big TOE?”
“Never mind Brokeback - it won't be the only thing!”
"I thought YOU had the soap?"
"When I said I liked bubbles in the bath, that wasn't what I meant!"
The guy on the right: "This Brokeback Mountain body-double gig is giving me terrible cramp!"
"Trust ME to get the plug end!"
"Actually, there isn’t a plug!"
"Didn't I see you yesterday at the underpants shoot?”
"You mean I've been out here for three hours, stuck in this, just to become another of Brian's screensavers?" [Another of my favourites... Ed.]
"Water shortage, my a***!"
And, finally, two submissions from ROB that, regretably, were received after the judging had taken place:
Caption: Two men in a bath. Just a thought - or is that too obvious?
Thomas and Tarquin couldn't agree about whose turn it was to get the water from the lake.
One final thought on this curious advertising campaign: I was interested to discover that there is also an alternative heterosexual version of this ad which, unfortunately, I am only able to partially download...
If, however, you go to the Ginch Gonch home page, you’ll find the picture of the lads regularly alternating with this one of a guy and a girl in a tub clearly having a fun time sharing the soap.
In fact, in marked contrast, the chaps look positively UNhappy. So, is this, perhaps, a subliminal “Gay = Unhappy” message - or did they simply think that two men having bath-time larks would be just too shocking for the public to cope with?
Who knows? But the more I look at that picture of the boys from Brokeback, the more miserable they seem to be. Regular reader, JEN, put her finger on it when she wrote to say:
“They don't look any happier than Wilfred Brambell did when he dropped the pickled onions in the tin bath in Steptoe & Son!”
And, as you can see, she is right!!