his name is Treadgold

Since moving into our home in 2011, we’ve knocked through all of the downstairs walls to make the ground floor totally open plan – which is lovely in terms of light and space, but not so fabulous in terms of the patchwork of flooring we were left with. Ripping all of this up has revealed similarly mismatched floorboards; we undertook our own floorboard restoration in our last property, but this was awful and arduous enough pre-kids, and we really can’t be doing with it now.

So we’ve found some flooring and now we’re looking for someone to fit it, so I arranged for someone to come over to give us an estimate today.

His name was Treadgold. A flooring fitter called Treadgold! Isn’t that brilliant?!

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every bed in the house has fresh, line-dried sheets

It’s no particular novelty to be getting into a freshly-laundered and made up bed – I’m slatternly, but not that much – but I dislike running the dryer almost as much as I dislike sheets festooned around the house. I generally tend to soothe my eco-guilt and aesthetic sensibilities simultaneously, by hanging stuff up on the airer overnight, and then finishing it off briefly in the tumble dryer before school. Bit of a hassle, but it’s not like I’m busy saving lives the rest of the time.

Knowing what today’s weather had in store, however… I think I had those sheets and covers stripped off before anyone was even properly out of bed. By 8.30am, they were flapping lazily on the line as the shadows in the backyard receded. I didn’t want to remake the beds with linen from the cupboard; much better to hold out until this lot were dry. Tonight, we’ll all sleep with that fresh-air-and-daylight smell, and dream about the summer to come.

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we car-booted it

I love a detox, I do. I love the feeling of shedding things: weight, toxins, sweat, habits, possessions, even people. If it’s baggage, if it doesn’t make you happy, if it doesn’t benefit your life: it can go.

Obviously this isn’t always achievable, especially when it comes to people. But where I can cull, I’ll cull.

Unfortunately, I’m also prone to acquisition, which is a habit I’m working hard to break in this, my 41st year. But it’s easy to overlook just how much you acquire when you’re ridding yourself of things in drib and drabs. It’s like weight, I guess: a week of big meals and excessive drinking here, the odd pound there .. you don’t just gain 2 stone overnight, do you? I can see why people talk about their weight ‘just creeping up.’ It’s the same for me and, well, mostly clothes and books. A few in, a few more in, a few out, a few more in.

When we had our loft conversion done at the end of last year, we gained a gorgeous bedroom with a fab view, yes. But we also lost a whole lotta storage space. Time indeed for a cull.

As I said, getting rid of things in random trips to charity shops, recycling bins, the tip and the post office (I just can’t face eBay anymore, personally) doesn’t give you a real sense of the enormity of your hoard. Seeing it all in one place at the one time, at a car boot sale, was an education, and actually a rather humbling one. I’m going to try to be far less acquisitive in future (although I know, yes yes I know, full well that I’ve said this before)

And – on a completely self-indulgent and not at all earnest nor humble note – it was also very gratifying to see the extent to which people swooped delightedly upon my cast-off clothes. Good grief, can you imagine – bad enough to be guilt-ridden about how much stuff you’ve bought over the last year or so – even worse to think that it was all tasteless crap that no one liked!

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I have lilies in a tall vase

Stargazer lilies are, no question, my favourite flower, as anyone who was at my wedding might have been able to guess.

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I used to buy them weekly; huge, exuberant, unnecessary blooms that lifted my heart and, with any luck, detracted from my less than stellar efforts with making the house look nicer in any more of a lasting, meaningful way. But a while back my vase, my one suitable vase got broken. I think it was my eldest son who was responsible and I think I’ll have to probably dock his pocket money, if I ever get around to actually giving it to him and not just fashioning vague plans involving star charts and chores.

Anyway, since then, my trips to the florist have gone one of two ways: I either remember the absence of a suitable vase and end up grudgingly buying something that I love less than lilies (I mean, any flowers are good, obviously; well, unless they remind you of someone bothersome or odious that is…) OR I exercise my talent for wilful ignorance and buy lilies, only to get irritated on my return home by the lack of a suitable vessel, and by the poor display made by jamming them all into a defunct-by-virtue-of-its-missing-lid spaghetti jar.

Today was a special day in our household; an anniversary, one that deserved lilies and deserved to have them properly displayed. It’s not a hard thing to buy a vase, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to it; nor do I know why it took a mention of Emporia on a local blog to get me through the door, since I’ve gone past them a gazillion times when out running. Anyway, today I was determined that my Stargazer lilies would be comfortably vased, if I may fabricate such a word. So to Emporia I went, and a vase I bought, and a treasure trove of gifty goodness I found within a short jog of my front door.

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It’s funny, but little things like shopping locally give me quite the happy glow these days; one that I think will add to the pleasure I take in my flowers as they unfurl over the course of the week, as my daughter hovers at the ready with the scissors to “snip out the stainy pollen bits that would’ve ruined your wedding dress if the flower lady hadn’t done it Mummy.”

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