I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Comfort's sell-by date

How do you measure time's passage?

Short-term with a wrist-watch (Don't talk about smart phones, p-uh-lease!) Longer term with a calendar. Even longer term by examining physical decay (Gruesome? Yes, but we've all watched those stark science programmes on telly.)

How about via one's material possessions? Because I’m finding that terribly salutary.

We moved to Hereford on VR's birthday in 1998. The house was new, we were its first owners. All those things to buy: three bog brushes because we now had three bogs, a huge load of light-bulbs, carpets. Carpets for a slew of empty rooms. A small fortune but never mind, we wouldn't have to think about carpets ever again. Or, let's say, for a very long time.

And nineteen years is a long time. Along the way we replaced the stair carpet and the one in the living room but we rationalised them; both had got a lot of hammer over the years.

But the bedroom carpet is another matter. It's a comforting dark green which we both love. When my feet touch its texture in the morning, it confirms I've survived another night. But now the dark green is faded and there are bubbles. Goodness we've hardly seemed to walk on it at all, and then often without shoes. It covers the floor as my skin covers my flesh but that isn't the analogy that most gives me collywobbles. I'm more concerned with another parallel: that non-renewable resource known as my mind. I suspect it too has bubbles. Certainly it’s faded.

The carpet we can replace...


  1. Bubbles? It looks like it needs to be re-stretched, if stretching was the installation method. The fade? if that's the problem it's gotta go I guess. (Though my real guess is it's gone by now). Certainly a new rug will greet your feet adequately in the morning.

  2. MikeM: Re-stretching, qvetching. It also looks permanently dusty, despite vacuuming. But we're on either side of a cultural divide on this. When I say carpet I'm implying fitted carpet, a rug is sort of free-floating and covers just a fraction of the floor-space. Bubbles was self-invented shorthand. Not wanting to go into a lengthy if exact description of the phenomenon I said to VR this morning "Will everyone understand bubbles?" She said, "Of course." So it's a horse that stumbled at the first hurdle. Moral: Buy a quad bike.

  3. I've never been so taken in by the journey of a carpet before!

  4. Cool Kid: I doubt you watched Seinfeld; like Netflix and its search facility, BBC2 did its best to make things difficult. Seinfeld was scheduled to appear late on Tuesday nights (probably), but was frequently bumped because of over-running snooker. It suited my sense of humour, four widely differing characters, often confined to one room of an apartment, uttering sublimely written dialogue. It became incredibly popular in the USA. One envious critic said it was about "nothing". Jerry Seinfeld, who also wrote the show, agreed, then added "There should be more TV shows about nothing."

    Although the carpet post above wasn't based on this concept I have written posts about nothing, or as close to nothing as I could manage (eg, tooth-paste). My brother, whose blog is primarily about taking country walks, recently faced a walk only 3 miles long and despaired that he'd have anything to write about. When I have time I intend to write a 300-word post about going down our stairs - just once - here in Hereford, a journey you have taken more than once. A nothingy sort of idea

    Blogging is in steep decline. Many bloggers are turning to the church, reckoning they have silenced themselves. To me, blogging isn't writing about things because these do eventually run out; blogging is about word-spinning. A dangerous pastime and there is no guarantee I will succeed. Post may well follow post with "No comments" as the last line.

    In the interim I welcome your comments; any confirmation that there's someone out there.

    I have in mind to do a piece about your recent masterpiece: the musical setting for the word Bedarieux.

  5. The bubbling was made clear by the photo. An oldish phrase for carpet here is "wall to wall", and that is what appears in your picture. Tack strips at the perimeter capture the backing fibers when the rug is pushed toward the walls with a knee driven stretcher. Rug and carpet are used interchangeably here (by me at least!) when it has already been determined that we are talking about "wall to wall". And what about punctuation following quotation marks? Are you down with that? Save me the trouble of searching through your novels for the answer. Seems I remember there are two schools on that. Probably unequal schools.

  6. MikeM: A man who knows carpet-fitting jargon as if it were as clear and open as ABC. But then given the recent revelations about your skills I should expect no less.

    But now I'm going off carpets since punctuation is far more important to me. What's more you've gone directly to the heart of a problem I've been wrestling with for the last couple of years. As you correctly surmised it involves the question mark.

    Here's a crude example:

    "Where are you going?" I asked him, and he told me.

    Of course the sentence could be rewritten (probably as two sentences) to avoid the punctuation conundrum: should there be a comma immediately after the closing of the quotes? Tradition has it that the fiction writer's dialogue nightmare - the "he said" phrases one is forced to scatter if one chooses to be understandable - should be bounded by commas, and this is a variant. But being forced to re-write material just because one can't figure out the punctuation is a case of allowing the tail to wag the dog. Also there've been more compelling examples than the one I've cited here.

    So, should it be as above or:

    "Where are you going?", I asked him...

    or, since dashes can function as commas,

    "Where are you going?" - I asked him...

    The second looks clunky but is clearer. However there's a sort of precedent for the added comma in that if you have quotes within quotes and you've reached the end of the sentence you can if you're super-punctilious end up with a string of punctuation. As in this:

    "I asked him if he liked Bach and he said, 'No, I damn well don't.'."

    Incidentally in modern-day publishing, and unlike my sentence, single quotes precede double quotes because they're thought tidier. Alas, I'm habituated over many decades to double quotes.

    And in answer to the question-mark poser, I use both options depending on how academic I feel. As you know, I've had little formal education.