For tub talk two, I have taken on the brand new Bayou before anyone else – there are some heavy responsibilities on my shoulders as BEO, including previewing the new range, but it's a task I'm willing to take. The Bayou retails at £1,499, and it's certainly passed my test: it's a relaxation station. If you purchase a Bayou, you may have to put up with rumours, as it will certainly not go unnoticed by envious neighbours and the mainstream media. It's sleek and stylish with its smooth rounded ends and contemporary style – I'm a modern man after all, and my tub should reflect it.
The Bayou sits not as an appliance, but a piece of art at just 1400mm long with a neat rimless edge. I'd go so far to say that you would be hard pressed to find a bathroom inhabitant that offers such a welcome presence. It is lightweight and stylishly practical, thanks to its smaller width than the average freestanding bath. The Bayou is the bath that fits all (metaphorically and literally): the working man, high flying business woman and studious teen. With its perfect cosy size and a slick finish, this bath is modern, classy and displays an elegant minimalism reminiscent of 20th century Pop Art.
Heat is a crucial factor in the art of bathing, and when it comes to heat retention for the Bayou, a greenhouse couldn't do a better job, since I stayed toasty warm until I was positively pruned. Freestanding taps and a centralised plug position have really revolutionised my bathing experience as you can bathe from either end of this tactile tub. With more volume than a hair advert model at a whopping 293 litres, and better looking than Pierce Brosnan (until he did Mamma Mia), the Bayou is a winner - deep enough to envelope the body right to the shoulders.
For the first time, sitting in a bath, eyes closed, pondering our perpetually expanding universe, I felt the walls of the bath slide away from beneath me until I hung, mid-air, suspended in time and space. This was not a practical malfunction but an ethereal sensation of which I have only read about. There are monks in the Far East who devote an entire lifetime trying to reach an inner peace - perhaps we should send them a few Bayous to help? Apparently it's because it's made of Touchstone, a revolutionary material that creates natural curves and is soft to the touch. Overall, it's delightful, and for a fraction of the price of a trip to Asia you could experience their goal from the comfort of your bathroom.
The Bayou has done for baths what Morgan Freeman has done for voiceovers, what Eric Cantona did for the French. The Bayou is a classic, fixated in time and a symbol of downright class.