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.
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.