Can someone explain this to me?

We have been in the UK for six weeks now, and we still don’t understand why most British sinks have two separate taps: one for hot water and the other for cold. I can’t figure out how to wash my face in a sink with two taps. In no time at all the hot water is scalding, and it’s not possible to pass your hands under the tap even long enough to wash hands. To wash my face, I’ve tried cupping cold water in my hands (from the cold tap, which is just above freezing temperature) and then quickly passing my hands under the hot water just enough to heat up the cold water, but not burn my hands – all this with my eyes closed, mind you. Did you see how far apart the two taps are? I have not been overly successful.

How does one wash one's face in this?

How does one wash one’s face in this?

My only guess is that one is meant to plug up the basin and fill it with a mix of hot and cold water to the desired temperature, and then scoop warm water from the basin and splash it on one’s face. Hmmm. I would only do this if I knew the sink were clean and someone had not, for example, just spit toothpaste in it. Is one expected to clean the sink before washing one’s face, or anything else for that matter?

And another thing, whilst I have your attention: Why are the taps so short? Often the water will exit the tap and run down the back wall of the sink, making it almost impossible to wet your hands without scrubbing the sink while you’re at it. Which kind of defeats the purpose of washing your hands, doesn’t it? Rinsing a toothbrush can be a real challenge.

Almost every bathroom in every B&B and flat we have rented has been remodeled in the last few years with very modern fixtures. Why then do they continue to install two taps in sinks? Why not one of those newfangled one-tap faucets that actually mixes the hot and cold for you? Sometimes I wonder if the Brits are afraid to spoil themselves.

4 thoughts on “Can someone explain this to me?

  1. The last time I visited Germany to see the family I stayed with as an exchange student, I brought my own family (hub and kids), Mom and recently widowed father in law – thanks to the graciousness of my “German parents”. One of the really fun things the men did was go to the German equivalent of our Lowe’s or Home Depot. The family that was renting the second floor was having a house built and they were familiar with everything that was going on in the building world at that point in time, and the men were in their glory comparing what was the norm in Germany to what was considered good quality here.

    Bottom line: It was an education! For some things were was not equivalent, for others there was no comparison. So I suggest you look for a building supply store and spend a few hours gawking. I guarantee you’ll come away having learned something! 🙂

    • Hi, Jen!
      Interesting idea! We may do that. I wonder if I would find that most of the sinks in the showroom are dual faucet.

      When we lived in Germany – 20 years ago! – we rented a brand new house, and the owners spared no expense in using SOA building supplies and appliances. We loved our füssbodenheizung (floor heating), top-opening windows, and roll-down external shutters. And my kitchen appliances, although Fisher-Price-sized, were the best. You should see the cute little Bosch (German) dishwasher we have in our current cottage. I’ll try to remember to post a photo. Adorable!


Leave a Reply