Flooring and Floors
1.The parquet floor in the house I remember first. All the way through the downstairs. And the electric floor polisher that was required to keep it shiny. My mother said she used to sweep all our toys behind the large armchairs in the sitting room at the end of the day.
Our next-door neighbours have the same kind of floor in their downstairs, but covered with carpet. This is the first moment that I have realised that our house, and that house, were built within a few years of each other.
2.Tiles - the next house had red tiles in the large hallway. Cold underfoot. I expect they needed polishing too. I remember my mother using the electric floor polisher to deal with the gigantic mahogany table, that, when fully extended with the extra leaves and the support leg, filled the room and could seat the twenty. A contrast to my aunt, who has a similar table, and was adamant that one had to polish it by hand, with the grain at all times.
3.Black rubber underlay. The sitting-room carpet in the first house I lived in after we were married had worn away to just the black rubber. Which, having seen the remains of the pattern in the unused corners of the room, was a blessing.
4.Earth. My grandmother's sitting-room was apparently a bare earth floor when she bought the cottage. That was replaced with, I think, cork, and a carpet in those jig-saw rectangles that you still see occasionally.
5.Flagstones. My grandmother's cottage again - the passage through the house was of stones, worn into a landscape of hollows and hills. Lethal, as one grew older. I would be sorry, but completely understanding, if the people who live their now had replaced them.
6.Marley Tiles. Unspeakable. To be covered up, ripped up, replaced. As we did in the house before this one.
7.Wood laminate. One of the most beautiful features of our house is the wooden floor that covers all the downstairs, and the hall, stairs and landing. It replaces
8.Carpet, the most hideous dark brown sculpted pile carpet, that we had to pay extra for when we bought this house all those years ago. I hated that carpet from the day we moved in, and I'm still rejoicing at the transformation the wood floor has made. He did it, all by himself; I smile every time I see the neat work where the stairs turn a corner.
9.Shag pile carpet in the kitchen. Oh yes indeedy. The second house we lived in had this. The owners must have lived on fish and chip take-aways; I call tell you know that shag pile does not belong in a kitchen.
10.Sometime in the future we will replace the many unsatisfactory floorings in our bedroom with wood laminate. The cheap beige carpet that was there when we moved in more than thirty years ago is not wearing well - we are through to the floor boards in most of the main areas, and the boards are not of good quality so we can't just strip out the carpet and have done. Every so often I take a pair of heavy-duty scissors and cut away another trailing, frayed section of carpet, and hoover up the crumbling dusty underlay. We've got four rugs down over the worst patches... It will be a might job, though, to do a sliding block puzzle with the furniture and put down a smooth, splinter- and nail-free floor.