Aaaaand last weekend’s Sun Tel col below.
For all I know, you might be reading this while reclining in one. There you are, sitting in the bubbly warm water in your garden with a plate of kippers just off to the side. Deep down, you know this is a bit embarrassing but you’re trying to pretend otherwise while the neighbours look on from their upstairs window, sniggering.
‘Ignore them!’ you’re telling yourself, while shaking your copy of The Sunday Telegraph to stop it getting damp and wrinkly, ‘They’re just jealous. I’m having a lovely time and am genuinely delighted that my wife persuaded us to spend several hundreds of pounds on the last hot tub from B&Q so I can sit outside, marinating in my own juices, even though we’ve got a perfectly good bath upstairs.’
There have been low moments in the past 12 weeks but I humbly suggest the mania for hot tubs proves that we’re finally out of marbles. Sales are up 490 per cent on eBay and Argos has sold out. In the market for a Lay-Z-Spa Miami inflatable for four people? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait since the company is facing such demand in the UK they’ve had to implement an Ocado-style queueing system. As I write this, it’s 8.41am on Thursday morning and I’m 79th in the queue. Seventy-ninth! Who are the other 78 lunatics clamouring to buy a hot tub before 9am on a weekday? Like the Werther’s Original grandpa, it makes me fondly recall the days when all we used to queue for at this time was a takeaway coffee.
A member of my family who wishes to remain anonymous splashed out on a hot tub a few weeks ago and has been merrily peppering the family WhatsApp pictures of him and his girlfriend sitting in the thing. Perhaps, given the continuing debate about whether we’re going to be able to board a plane this summer, he believed it would add a touch of Marbella to his Wiltshire garden. But although I’ve tried hard to imagine the benefits of sitting in a giant, fizzing paddling pool, I just can’t get there.
Hot tubs smack of hen parties and verrucas, of men in briefs that bulge like hernias and people who laugh at birthday cards about prosecco. I don’t mean to be uncharitable towards prosecco, the Italians have had a rough time lately, but if you think drinking a glass of the stuff while sitting in tepid water is enjoyable, you should try a bath with a cup of tea. It’ll blow your mind. And as for asking pals over to sit with you in your fetid inflatable, I think that’s pretty odd, too. We stop inviting our friends to wash with us when we’re around five years old. No need to reverse this as an adult.
Also, and I’m afraid this is going to lower the tone, I watched a segment on This Morning last week which discussed the hot tub craze and included a very unsanitary fact. According to Holly Willoughby, if you have five people soaking in your hot tub, there will be approximately one teaspoon of faeces floating about in there with you. See? You don’t even want those kippers now, do you?
Forget the puppy craze. Suddenly it’s all about cats, and specifically a creature called a Savannah cat, which is the size of a whippet with enormous ears, spots like a leopard and the sort of devilish expression which makes you want to ring everyone in your family to check they’re safe. I’ve looked up a breeder’s site and they also need to eat like the Minotaur on a diet of ‘flesh, organs, a bone or ground bone and a small amount of vegetation.’ Still, apparently the super-rich are buying them up like Learjets. They cost £11,000 each but you need a license to own one since they’re technically classed as ‘dangerous wild animals’. You’d think this would be enough of a clue, frankly. Say what you like about Labradors but they could certainly never be called dangerous or wild.
Have you been to a car wash yet? I queued behind a line of others for 40 minutes at a Shell in London last week. Incredible what passes for entertainment, these days. Doubtless there will be some among you who believe shiny, clean cars are as bourgeois as hot tubs but having idled in the driveway for two months, my car looked like an extra from Mad Max. Wash done, I pulled proudly from the forecourt as if I was riding a unicorn. If you’re looking to make a buck and the children need home schooling in economics, why not put up a sign outside your house offering washes for a fiver, and arm them with buckets and sponges. You’ll be able to bail out the government within days. Or buy a Savannah cat.