In 1980 Sue and I shared a house with Robin. I've already written a little[^] about that time.
That's the only two storey house I ever lived in. Where I live now is multi-storey but it's a condominium, not a house. We have no backyard we can call our own and the Home Owners Association are most assiduous in suppressing any and all touches of individuality. That is, however, a story for another day.
One thing about that house back in 1980 that impressed me was the creative use of the space under the staircase; the owners had converted it into a bathroom. Let's not trip over language; I'm not talking euphemisms for that most necessary of rooms, the toilet. Nope, I mean a real bathroom with a genuine bathtub.
I'm perhaps a trifle overfond, when my wife says she's going to the bathroom, of asking 'oh, are you taking a bath?'. Andrew's become used to that question too. Myself? I never announce a visit to the bathroom; I'm off to take a leak or to bring another manager into the world and don't you forget it! :-)
It was very pleasant indeed to relax in a hot bath under the stairs and one could take a perverse pleasure out of stretching ones foot out against the sloping ceiling of that bathroom. Another kind of footprint[^] on the ceiling I suppose.
Robin became quite fond of long luxurious baths. After a few nights we (Sue and I though I suspect I was the main offender) had an evil idea and so I wrenched the door open one evening and grabbed all of Robin's clothes! Poor bastard emerged a few minutes later wrapped in a towel to beat a hasty retreat to his bedroom and dress in peace.
The next night we were prepared; the towel disappeared along with the clothes. Pleadings and curses from behind the door and we caved in to the extent of handing back the towel. This went on for a few days and then, one night, there were neither towel nor clothes to be found on the bathroom raid. Robin lay there laughing his head off at our consternation.
I soon stopped his laughter, by the simple expedient of reaching under the water to pull the plug! We were called more things than bastards that night! :-)
A night or two later we discovered the secret. You understand that we'd seen him walk, fully clothed, into the bathroom, towel slung over his shoulder. Somewhat later there he was, quite evidently not fully clothed, in the bathtub with nary a sign of clothing or towel. The clothes we found in a plastic bag stuck behind the pipe leading from the wash basin. The towel was more artfully concealed inside a plastic stool. And so, on the night we discovered the secret, the plastic stool and the plastic bag both left the bathroom with us. More pleading and cursing.
The following night he was strangely unperturbed when we repeated the performance. Imagine our surprise when he emerged fully dressed and dry from the bathroom when we thought we had his gear!
He'd outwitted us again. This time he had smuggled in two towels and one change of clothing, knowing that we'd abscond with what we could. The second towel and the change of clothing had been in the tub with him, sealed in a plastic bag beneath his knees!
It stopped there. Neither of us really wanted to be sticking our hands into the bathwater and grubbing around that close to his backside!