Last night there was an interesting programme on TV (for a change), called "How dirty can I get?"
For those of you who dashed into the kitchen straight after Nigella's bit, in order to curry scallops (oh dear, scallops need to be ordered a week in advance), mash some beans in garlic (can't have food tasting of itself when there's coriander or garlic about), or whip up a melted marshmallow (yuk) - it involved a woman, and a peripheral man, not washing themselves or their clothes for 6 weeks.
Partly triggered by concern over the number of chemicals in washing products and cosmetics, the scheme was rather a confusion between basic washing and applying cosmetics and lotions for other purposes. One of the aims was to see if her hair would "self clean" after a few weeks, and to illustrate that she went to visit Matthew Parris, who says he hasn't washed his hair for years. Actually I would suspect that he washes it with water, but not with shampoo, which is quite a different matter, but it wasn't specified. When my hair was really short, it was washed with water only, and that was fine.
There was lots of armpit sniffing, and extremely graphic problems with the man's underparts, plus visits to people living in tents in the woods (and of course doing what bears do in the woods - in the woods), and the production of a "perfume" to match her body odour; amusingly, this was taken to be inspected by a number of perfume experts, of whom only one correctly identified it.
One person in a laboratory stated that breast cancer is much more often found in the area near the armpit, and chemicals in deodorants were suspected as the cause. There were allegations about ingredients in many skin creams and cosmetics, and the 'cocktail effect' of them. This was all very unsettling or alarmist, depending on your point of view - but who would pay for research to find out?
The results of the whole experiment were not very clearly stated, but it seemed that neither participant had an unusually high number of bacteria on their skin. But the woman said that she felt healthier - her skin certainly looked better than at the start.
But there's a big difference between basic hygiene and the use of oceans of lotions.
Keeping your body, teeth, clothes, and home fairly clean (without getting obsessive about it) seems a sensible thing to do, but using dozens of preparations on your skin seems like asking for trouble. There has never seemed to be any point in scrupulously removing all trace of natural oil from your skin, then putting some greasy artificial stuff back on it. You may gather that I am not a fan of face creams or cosmetics - they make me want to wash.
Apropos washing, though - at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, one of our neighbours was power-washing his block paved drive. He appeared to be doing it all day, and was still out there with the gear in the evening. As this is the man who washes his cars very thoroughly every weekend at least once, perhaps it wasn't surprising. Well, everyone needs a hobby, and at least it gets him out of the house, and away from her indoors. Anyway, now they are parking the cars on the pavement, presumably so as not to get the nice clean drive dirty.
Oh, and on the news, Our Leader seemed to want us to believe that pay rises to public servants are the cause of inflation - it has nothing to do with big pay rises or gigantic bonuses in the private sector.
Is is me?