Churchill's Quirks

Rising, he moves toward the bathroom with an alacrity surprising for his age and weight and quickly shaves himself with a safety razor while his valet [Inches] draws the first of his two daily baths. Like preparing the breakfast, this requires precision. Churchill will not enter the tub until it is two-thirds full and the bath thermometer registers 98 degrees. Once in, he demands that the temperature be raised to 104 degrees. Inches, obedient, again opens the hot spigot. The water has now reached the brim. Winston likes it that way; on his instructions the bath's overflow drain has been sealed off. This is splendid hydrotherapy, but like his immodest excursions beyond his bedroom door, it invites disaster. He likes to play in his bath, and when on impulse he turned a somersault, "exactly like a porpoise," a spectator recalls, the tub overflowed, damaging the ceiling below and worse, drenching the frock coat of an eminent Frenchman there who called to pay his respects. Now a special drain has been installed. Churchill lolls in his bath, reciting Kipling, rehearsing speeches or lectures he will soon deliver, or singing, not in the virile baritone familiar in Parliament, but in a soft, high tone.

source: William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone: 1932-1940, 8 tags: Churchill, Idiosyncracies