Hot tub-a-dub-dub: The Scandinavians had the right idea all along... | Jack Marshall's column

As a scruffy, old, aging Jack Russell with an increasingly weak bladder, my dad’s dog Oscar has taken to rising early over the past three months or so.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:55 am
The view from the hot tub, Lake District-style

He’ll clamber out his basket before positioning himself by the back door where he will proceed to effusively sing the song of his people, blissfully unaware or unperturbed by the late hour.

Loud and urgent, his performance will last until he is let out and allowed to relieve himself.

I mean, fair enough: it’s hard to begrudge the lad. We’ll all be in his proverbial shoes one day, after all. Then again, I’m not the one being woken up at 3am each morning by a cacophony of anxious barks.

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Initially quite disgruntled at what has proved to be an increasingly nightly disruption, my dad has nevertheless mellowed on the whole situation of late.

And that’s thanks to an ingenious solution: hot tub.

Having bought one of those nifty blow-up hot tubs over Christmas (the plan was for the family to celebrate New Year’s with drinks in the tub before he selfishly contracted Covid - don’t worry, he’s fine), the hot tub has really come into its own.

Now, as Oscar rises with the dawn chorus and loosens the old vocal chords for his nightly performance, my dad can see him out, grab a cuppa, and then go for a calming dip as the sun rises.

I’ve gone from pitying him to actually being quite jealous: who wouldn’t want to be up and in a hot tub at such a peaceful time?

Hot tubs are great. As a rule, if the Scandinavians like something, it tends to be good. And while that aphorism falls down slightly when it comes to pickled fish and throwing oneself off death-defying ski jumps, they absolutely love a good hot tubbing and, on that front, they’ve hit a bullseye (or moose-eye or whatever they have up there).

Thankfully, more and more people are starting to climb aboard the hot tub train and the sheer awesomeness of the hot tub is getting recognition.

Cold weather? Some of the best hot tub experiences I’ve ever had have been in a snowy Lake District getting drunk on mimosas of an evening. Warm weather? No worries, grab a cold beer, turn the heat down, and work on your shoulder tan.

Hot tubs with mates? Absolutely elite, especially if you’ve got a barbecue going at the same time. Hot tubs with family? Basically a question of which of my brothers is getting dunked first.

The Scandis have it sussed. Now all I need is a hot tub of my own and an incontinent dog.

A man can dream.