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They say that recalling a love for the past helps promote hope for the future, and reassures us that life is meaningful. It is so true. Sometimes, a simple thing can trigger a flood of memories and create an optimism where none lay before.

Only yesterday, an old tin bath at the back of Redhead's home became a place of wonder and joy for a little two year old who could turn a bucket, a plastic jug, and an old tin bath into a journey of discovery and seemingly endless pleasure.

That same tin bath has been in our family for over 50 years and has seen its fair share of change.

Redhead has a young neighbour, a young lad who gives her great pleasure through his escapades and his innocent appreciation of the simple things life has to offer. He has discovered the wonder of a leaf being blown across the grass; the mystery of a cupboard door opened and a puddle in which to jump. 

Yesterday he made Julius Sumner proud by questioning " why is it so ? " with a baby bath full of water and the number of jug loads of water it takes to empty.

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 His mother proudly watched as her young son got a bit wet, a bit grubby and enjoyed the thrill of a bit of mud and a bit of dirt on his precious little fingers. A green frog was found and the intrepid little adventurer helped liberate said frog under the dutiful watch of mother and Redhead.

After Redhead saw this image, she decided to go out and clean the algae off the bath, concerned that the little lad's grandparents would be horrified to see their darling playing in such unsanitary conditions. I assured her that she need not bother but she felt compelled to - so off she went to spruce up said bath.

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Even her little Jack Russell decided to help. He has been known to have a lather up in the tub in years gone by and decided it must be tubby time.

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The amazing thing is that when I saw the photos of the happy little chappie it triggered memories of the role that tin bath has played throughout my life.

My parents bought it back in the 1960's when they were building their holiday home. During the long construction phase - all done with a concrete mixer , a tradie and a lot of volunteer labour from myself, siblings and our mates, this humble little bath was used to have a stand up washdown after a long day of helping out. We used to call Redhead " The Little Red Hen " because she was always telling us what to do and keeping us focused on the tasks at hand. 

Given that the house was on the edge of a lake, it was always so tempting to have a break and sneak off for a swim and a bit of fun in the water. But The Little Red Hen would spot us making an escape and we would be quickly booted back to work quick smart. 

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Some years later, my daughter enjoyed that tin bath on a jetty at the lake house as we all swam and played and splashed in the water - clearing stones and debris to make a sandy beach that we could enjoy in later summers. 

She was only months old and we put her in her bouncinette inside the bath so she could wiggle her little toes in the water and discover the joys of the warm summer air and the happiness of long summer days. She is now a grown woman, a mother and grandmother.  And that little tin bath will no doubt be there for her great grandchildren to enjoy. 

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That little bath headed across the Tasman and came to Australia with my parents. It was deemed important enough to come with them and since then has been used for all manner of things. It has entertained children, been used to bathe pooches and hold water from the overflow from the water tank. 

Frogs have found fun in it. Bush turkeys and other birds have drunk from it and flown down to sit on its edge and flutter about in the heat of a summer's day. 

Yesterday it became a playground for a little boy seeking adventure and it served his purpose well.

I suppose in these turbulent and troubled times,we need to keep hold of the joy that can be had by merely sitting back, letting the clutter and the tragedy take a back seat for a while and embrace that love of the past and say " I remember when... "  even if it is through the pleasure of seeing a little chap having fun with a tin bath, a bucket and a plastic jug.

 

 Further reading

https://patriotrealm.com/index.php/1552-i-remember-when-neighbours-were-good-neighbours-and-became-good-friends

 

 

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