Thursday, 31 March 2011

Spa vignette

From today's online Scottish Review, of particular relevance to those of us contemplating ways to reintroduce 21st century hydrotherapy to Moffat:

The Recreation Room, which would make a splendid ball-room, has a piano that once was grand, and upon its willing notes a lady 'of uncertain age' is performing 'The Irresistible Quadrilles' which begin with 'A frog he would a wooing go', while no fewer than eight persons, none older than 40, are gliding through 'figure 4'.
This quadrille business, as many excellent Hydropathists will tell you, is just the thin end of the wedge. In 10 years, it will be the polka, and after that the wicked waltz. What are the Hydropathics coming to?
J J Bell on a Scottish hydropathic holiday, 1880s

The meals were served at long tables; one had to mix with one's fellows and make the necessary genteel conversation. There was a fine, full breakfast followed by a fine, full mid-day dinner. There was a good plain tea at half-past five, with scones and cookies and 'fancy bread' abounding. Those who had just arrived, and had missed their dinner, had to be given value for money and so got eggs to their tea or cold meat. At half-past nine a service of milk, bread, butter, and cheese was laid on in the dining-room.
Those late for meals were confronted by a money-box into which, for charity's benefit, they paid one penny per (unpunctual) person, thus atoning for sin. There was always grace before meat and at 9.45 prayers in the drawing-room. At 10 o'clock or so one withdrew, possibly hoping for a nice read in bed. Vain expectation unless you had brought your own candles! The lights were officially turned off at 10.30.

Ivor Brown on a Scottish hydropathic holiday, 1950s

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