As Christmas approaches the efforts to make the house warm and respectable gather pace. Latest instalment – a carpet. Yes, the very item of decor I thought I’d go the rest of my life without having, I’ve just dropped a significant amount of money on. The house has lovely old floorboards which I have sanded and oiled, except in the front room, where 170 years of sea-soaked air have rotted the boards. I inherited bare plywood covered by a carpet I could rip in half with my bare hands. For the last couple of years the ply has been painted with grey floor paint and sort-of covered by a rug. But temperature issues and noise issues have forced me to replace it with this:
A natural carpet called Ju-Tweed by Crucial Trading. It’s jute, and rather like a gremlin, you are on no account to get it wet. I went for jute – after spending ages staring at a more rustic-looking sisal – because of all the natural carpets it’s the least painful to walk on. Experience with a natural carpet in a student flat taught me that they are hell on the feet and knees – if you like to crawl about your carpet playing records on a coffee table Dansette, like to do a lot of floor-based sewing, or just spend a lot of time on all fours combing your cat, then do as I did and go for the softest natural carpet you can find. I even did a ‘pain test’ on the sample, standing with no socks, on one leg, like a house-proud flamingo, timing it to see how long it took to really hurt.
As with all decorating choices, it took me so long to make up my mind, with so may variables to consider, but now it’s in it looks cosy and feels great. The ultimate confirmation that I’d made the right choice? Within three days of it going down, the cat has puked up a hairball on it. Welcome home carpet – you’re now part of the family.