I have spent a fruitless few hours trying to find a quote by Churchill about bathing. I interpret his remark, “why stand when you can sit down?” as suggesting that he preferred baths to showers, but recall that when he visited Russia, he said a bath there was “like lying in one’s own dirt.” Did he say that? The reason for my interest is that I want to give up baths for a month and would like to enlist the “help” of someone like WSC. —P.P., UK
Sorry, but I cannot find anything like “lying in one’s own dirt” in my digital scans of the canon. While this is not dispositive, I doubt he ever changed his mind about baths and would not approve of your plan. I trust you are not giving up showers!
Churchill was a famous bather—twice a day when he had time—although those Russian tubs were pretty filthy. He had his clothes fumigated after returning from Yalta, certain that they had picked up unwanted guests….
Your question puts me in mind of two quotations in Churchill by Himself, neither of which support your proposal. From the chapter on America, p 115:
England and America are divided by a great ocean of salt water, but united by an eternal bathtub of soap and water.
—Press Club, New York City, 8 December 1900
Hugh Gaitskell, Minister of Fuel and Power in the postwar Labour Government, was urging energy conservation when he said: “Personally, I have never had a great many baths myself, and I can assure those who are in the habit of having a great many that it does not make a great difference to their health if they have less.” This was too much for Churchill, the renowned bather:
When Ministers of the Crown speak like this on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the Prime Minister and his friends have no need to wonder why they are getting increasingly into bad odour. I had even asked myself, when meditating upon these points whether you, Mr. Speaker, would admit the word “lousy” as a Parliamentary expression in referring to the Administration, provided, of course, it was not intended in a contemptuous sense but purely as one of factual narration.
—House of Commons, 28 October 1947