For warm feet at bedtime, try a hot water bottle

Sub zero weather sent me to the storage closet for a sleep aid I hadn’t needed in months — a hot water bottle, First thing I noticed was the pale pink of the upper side, while the underside was still the vibrant rose it had been when I purchased it at a drugstore half a dozen years ago.

Since when did the colour of hot water bottles fade? Since factories began skimping on rubber, that’s when.

My next surprise was the bottle’s refusal to fill with water. Turned out the two inner surfaces had fused. In all my years using hot water bottles I had never experienced this phenomenon before. By grabbing a handful of each side I was able to pull the two layers apart and fill the bottle with hot tap water.

The next day when I wanted to hang the bottle upside down to fully drain, I found it lacked the customary reinforced hole like a shoelace eyelet in the bottom flap intended to suspend it to dry out or for use as an enema bag.

In my mother’s time, before commercial laxatives and stool softeners, Mom would swish a bar of hand soap in warm water to create a laxative, fill the bottle with the soapy water, then attach to the open end of the bottle a length of tubing fitted with a clamp to close off the flow midway if desired, and a nozzle at the free end. Suspended upside down the bottle’s soapy contents worked its gentle magic on the laggard innards of the reluctant patient … invariably one of us kids.

The active ingredient cost pennies, and was always at hand; no call for a special trip to a store to buy an expensive six month supply.

What to do to drain a bottle with no means to suspend it upside down?

My immediate thought was to fetch the hole punch from my retired shop tools. With that I could have cut a perfect hole in the ample flap of extra thick rubber where the factory should have predrilled one.

Instead I resorted to an unsophisticated pioneer move. With a spring-action wooden clothespin I clamped the flap of the hot water bottle to a metal clothes hanger and hooked the hanger into the wire soap dish holder in the shower. No muss, no fuss.

Like so many items that were routinely used in most homes when I was a kid, they baffle some of today’s society.

When I googled “hot water bottle” rudimentary questions popped up, such as

1. What are hot water bottles used for? They can provide soothing warmth for certain aches or pains. In my arctic world they pre-warm my mattress and blankets where my feet will go.

How do you prepare a hot water bottle for use? From my nursing school days I remember being cautioned to leave some empty space in the bottle and to squeeze out all the air before screwing in the cork.

Otherwise undue pressure could cause leakage.

I also learned that in 2013,Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia together accounted for 72% of the natural rubber produced in the world from the Hevea tree.

I once read a book about comic writers training their imaginations to see a common item as something funnier. Googling “hot water bottle” I hoped but failed to dredge up the name of the comic writer who, gazing across a rubber tree plantation in Thailand, pictured a harvest of hot water bottles.

Just Posted

SAR leads helicopter Family Day rescue to retrieve injured climber

Pilot had to hover over waterfall as rescue team lifted two people to safety

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

Canadian Snowbirds may return to Terrace after 20 years

Terrace would kick off three B.C. Snowbird performances in 2020 if approved

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

City of Terrace reacts to $8 million provincial infrastructure grant

This is the largest grant ever received by the city, mayor says

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

Most Read