The Bath Challenge

Dec 5, 2021

To Sean, my stepson last December. Ten years earlier we had conned him out of his home and dragged him across Chichester harbour, Bosham to Itchenor, us in 2 bespoke sea kayaks and he on his new short sit-on. In a force 5. As a result he got soaked, changed, had lunch and was returned for a surprise 40th birthday party that had been planned over six months earlier. So, for his 50th I sent him this:


To celebrate your 50th Birthday!

In a bath*

50 years is traditionally the Balinium year.

*It is a well-established tradition that when the chieftain of the infamous Potts Clan reaches a new decade, they take to the water in increasingly inhospitable conditions, thus maintaining their alpha dominance and leadership of the tribe. (And for the amusement of all witnesses.)

Normally held at midnight in a moonless sky. Due to your birthday falling in chilly December, you are permitted to undertake this homage to your ancestors in daylight  (and ‘cos we are now all softies).

A safety boat will be in attendance as well as hot soup and encouragement from witnesses.


As he is a very busy chap, I promised to supply the bath. Inspired by Tim Fitz-Higham’s ‘Channel crossing in a bathtub’ (ref Lilibet II, 2004,) who I saw on his roadshow some years ago, I found a scrap bath, customised it and tried it. It only wanted to roll over or flip back. Research of other attempts suggested that floats were required. Second test on the Exeter Canal proved OK, despite the ripples and breeze.

Sadly (?), on the day, 5th December, at the Emsworth foreshore of Chichester Harbour, it was mighty windy, bitterly cold and wavy. Which shortened the challenge but it was successfully seen out. Well done Sean! Roll on your 60th! Be moderately worried!