Have you ever skidded down the passageway on your bottom?

As children, we used to run along the passageway in our pyjamas, and then launch ourselves onto our bottoms. We had a shiny parquet floor that was amazing to slide and skid upon. We would whoosh our way past our bedrooms with shrieks of delight to end up in a tangled heap of joyous mirth. Then we would pick ourselves up, charge back down the passage and the delightful process would begin again. I can still see the burnished shine of that bronzed polished floor of delight. I can also see the look on my mother’s face when she saw our ‘burnished’ pyjamas! 

We grow up and stop doing things like sliding down passageways on our bottoms. I wonder why? It was such fun and bought us so much joy. Doesn’t being adult imprison us somewhat?

In my small apartment, my lounge has a laminated wood floor which is covered by this glorious Persian carpet. This was my fiftieth birthday present from family and friends and I cherish it. Remembering my bottom skidding days, I looked at my bedroom and study. Besides being small, they were both carpeted. Definitely not places for pyjama-bottom-skidding, I thought ruefully.

Perdita, the Dachshund that shares my home with me, has been caught short on a number of occasions through the eleven years we have been together. On the last occasion, it had stained my study carpet and no amount of rubbing could get it out. Then I stumbled across this new carpet cleaner which ‘guarantees to remove stains perfectly.’ B, my best friend, caught me mixing the solution in a bucket.

“This will definitely get that awful stain out,” I said with determination. “There is also one hidden under my desk,” I muttered.

“Hold it!” B’s voice cut in sharply.

I looked up in surprise.

“You and I are missing each other’s birthdays because I return to England in three weeks time,” B said. “So I am giving you an early birthday present. I am going to do away with your carpets. I would like to replace them with beautiful strip wood lino floors.”

“You mean, like the floors you have now?” I asked disbelievingly.

“Yes, let’s go right now to George Carpets and Curtains where you can have a look at their sample books,” my friend said with amused pleasure. “You will enjoy this!”

What a total dream and delight awaited me! I was greeted by the owner of the shop, Ernie and his little Jack Russell, Mojo. Perdita is a fairly timid dog but Mojo was having no timidity around him. He greeted Perdita enthusiastically and soon I saw Perdita’s tail begin it’s answering wag. Good, the dogs were sorted out, I turned my attention to Ernie and the floors. I explained what I wanted and he gave me this book of different coloured ‘wood’ to go through. He made an appointment to come and inspect my flat and I excitedly took the sample book home. 

I looked at all the stunning examples of strip ‘wooden’ flooring set out before me. They were all totally entrancing. How could I possibly pick out one? The one meant for my floors? There was: Tulipwood, Hedgewood, Partridgewood. I mean, Mistywood sounds incredibly alluring. Canarywood  seemed to match the floor in my lounge. Are you meant to match up all your floors? I didn’t know! I had never done this before.

Ernie came around the next day. And so did Mojo! The fact that Perdita was the only dog allowed in my block of apartments was besides the point. I shut the front door after Mojo’s entrance. Best to keep him out of sight. Ernie looked my two rooms.

“Your rooms are fairly dark, Gaynor, I think that the Canarywood will be the best one to use on your floors.”

“Oh, you also like that one?”

“Have a look at the others,” he said spreading the samples out on the floor. “The darkness of the rooms destroys their impact.”

So Canarywood was decided upon and he would begin work in two days.

“Don’t worry about moving anything. My men will shift everything  into your lounge.”

Mums was away in Cape Town so Perdita, Spencer, my cockatiel, and I went and stayed with B and John for three days. Before leaving however I moved all my gorgeous stained glass lamps into the safety of my kitchen. I also carefully packed away all my valuable possessions into this enormous plastic container of B’s. That included all 250 of my DVDs! 

Ernie and his team began the transformation.

I popped round to see how they were doing. I walked into my apartment and utter chaos met my eyes. It was as if I had just walked into the back of a removal van. My furniture was crammed higgledy, piggledy, one thing on top of the other. It looked as if it was desperately trying to get out of my lounge but was prevented by the size of my windows! I heard Ernie’s shout from my bedroom.

“It’s all okay, Gaynor, I’ve tested for moisture and there was none. What a relief!”

I had no idea water was even an issue. I dread to think what would have happened if my floors had been waterlogged. I peered in the doorway and my floors were being covered in wet cement. The curtains were tied up and out of the way. It didn’t look like my well loved room at all. Quite frankly, it looked dreadful.

“The screeding to level and smooth your floors is just about complete,” said Ernie with satisfaction.

The wet mess on my floor was obviously ‘screeding. 

“Tell me, when we start laying the strips of flooring down, which way do you want the planks to run? Vertically or horizontally,” Ernie asked.

I had thought about this and I showed him exactly what I wanted. I realised that seeing my apartment in the state it was in, was definitely not good for me. 

“I will leave you to it then.”

“I will give you a call when everything is finished. Don’t worry,” Ernie chuckled, “It will look beautiful!”

Two days later the call came while I was having my afternoon rest. B went over and explained where my stained glass lamps lived and other precious items resided. She also replaced my 250 DVDs!

Then she returned and fetched a newly awakened me. My nerves were haring their way around my body. Oh, please let me like these floors, I prayed, please, please! I opened my apartment door and entered into the Gaynor world as I had known it. Gone was the mind boggling clutter. The lounge was back to normal. I walked slowly, ever so slowly towards my bedroom, and stood not daring to lower my eyes. Finally I dropped my eyes to the floor. And stared. 

This beautiful ‘wooden’ looking floor smiled shyly back at me. I couldn’t believe how glorious both rooms looked. 

“Ohhhh, B, the floors are exquisite, aren’t they? They are utterly magnificent!”

Alas, my apartment lacks a long, polished bottom-sliding parquet floor. But, as a slightly cronky 56 year old, perhaps my bottom-sliding days are over. However, it does now have the most breathtaking strip floors. Amit Kalantri in Wealth of Words says: 

“The job of feet is walking, but their hobby is dancing.” 

I love this quote. Somehow I never ever felt like dancing on my carpets. But now with my beautiful floors, I can give a little twirl as I take down a book or dvd from my bookshelf. And if I were able to, I would give a grande jeté out my study door and into my bedroom!

In fact, I might give it a try!