23.6.09

Mothwoman



I loath carpet; it is up there in my pet hates, along with central heating, as being one of the more self indulgent and unhygienic of modern household innovations. But as we rent, we don't have much choice about it - Landlord has decreed that upstairs we will have wall to wall beige nylon stuff, and on the stairs, a chintzy green runner that I suspect was in place when he acquired the cottage in the early seventies. Imagine my mixed feelings when I discovered a thriving moth colony inhabiting the suburbs of this matted, slippery monstrosity. On the one hand; oh my God, my wools, my fabrics, my leather books, my toys...on the other hand...





I rang our landlord and explained the situation; would he mind if I ripped it up? And so I found myself embarking on my first dabbling in DIY. It was certainly hammered in well, and as I hefted and heaved, it became apparent that moths had been making merry in the underlay for generations. I also discovered - possibly hidden by the original carpet fitter - two pennies, dating from 1971 and a plastic cracker charm of a lucky horseshoe. Which confirmed my suspicions about its age.


Another little surprise were these -




Grippers! Apparently they are commonplace, at least everyone I met that day knew what they were, from nice Mr N, the Post Master, to the girl at the Co-op. Who knew? Not me. I'm a council house kid. Anything which went wrong in the numerous cruddy places we lived in was supposed to be repaired by the Authorities, though it never was. And after that, a succession of equally badly maintained rentals, where neglectful Landlords happily take your money and ignore the damp, the mould, the - oh, don't get me started. Anyway, delightful old cottage this may be, but I'll be surprised if it is here in another 250 years. Back these gripper things, which were nailed flush against the boards; I was ridiculously proud of myself when I worked out how to jemmy them up, using a hammer and screwdriver, and delighted when I discovered what a claw hammer was for - isn't it clever?






It took about 6 hours, and a lot of sweating and swearing; my dainty artist hands aren't used to the rough stuff. But at last, the manky thing was disposed of, and the nice, smooth wood stairs were exposed, moth free and so easy to sweep clean.





After liberating myself from the cactus, I have been on a major stuff-we-don't-want-or-need purge. The village jumble sale benefited hugely. Instead of going to the sale and buying back other people's stuff-they-didn't-want-or-need, I watched our lads get thrashed at cricket by Wantage CC. This being Britain's summer sport, it naturally rained halfway through.






Even the towering book piles are being culled for the village fete bookstall;
every saved inch of space makes a huge difference in our little matchbox and as we have decided to stay here, we need to get it just-so, as far as we are able. We've been a bit more out and about this year, and realised that not only can't we afford to move, we don't really want to. Home, even if it is damp with bees living in the walls, is where the heart is. And you can't beat the Cotswolds in summer.




34 comments:

Cathy Cullis said...

I rent my home too - and have really old carpets that are so worn and yucky. The carpet was fraying near one doorway so the landlord had a wider door strip fitted! Oh I envy you being able to rip it all up, the stairs look fab without. have a good Tuesday.

janet said...

Hello Gretel..another fun post...happy you now have your lovely wood stairs. Moths...another reason to tout the use of canvas floorcloths!! See you on Twitter.
Janet

PS..love your little felted house ;-)

Bee said...

You did a smashing (!) job on those stairs.

It makes me happy to think of you staying in the Cotswolds . . . because hopefully we will be able to organize that needle-felting someday.

Your sweet little house looks like it has a face to me.

Mary Beth said...

Now that's a staircase I can get behind! I love the stacks of books - really, books everywhere! Our stairs are covered with wall to wall white carpet. Really, who puts white carpet into a home? I would love to rip it all out but again, renter:{

Decadent Housewife said...

Oooh the nature study books - you gave them up? Great job on those stairs.

Cathy said...

You did an amazing job on the stairs. I hate carpet to so we are slowly but surely replacing it in our home with tile and hardwood floors. I don't beleve you can buy a home in the US without central heat and air. Most homes have had it from construction or installed later. My parents had it but opted for gas fireplaces which are super toasty.

tlawwife said...

After all of those years of getting up and putting my feet on cold tile I love my carpet. There are places that are best without it however and stairs are one of them. I do love central heat and air however. I own some rental none of which have central air and I always feel guilty about that when it is so hot.

We saw some friends from England this past weekend and my daughter said she got a cricket lesson. I'm not sure she really learned anything.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I would love to spend an hour or two sitting on those nice clean stairs digging through those tempting stacks of books!

I love the new felted creation in the last photo. What is it? A house?

Sue said...

Oh well done, Gretel, those stairs look fab!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

I agree carpets are scary!!! And ususally there is perfectly nice wood underneath, just waiting to breathe again; good job on the floor liberation front. Love the picture of the rained out Cricketeers....

Lyn said...

For years at our old house we had the stairs bare, it is lovely, bit noisy though!
I like the photo of the rainy cricketers!
Love
Lyn
xxx

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

You did a wonderful bit of work there! Now please come do mine...

...and thanks for the comment about the new kitty but oh! Gretel you would have laughed...Willie came downstairs to get a bite and she was laying down next to me. I didn't have time to blink and she was off and after Wilie !!! I have NEVER seen him move that fast. I ran after her with a squirt bottle fearful for my sweet Willie's life.
Slipped on a damp spot in the kitchen and went flying but not before I squirted her twice and she let poor Willie go. Now my ginger babies won't come downstairs they are so afraid of this little spitfire :)
(())

Frances Tyrrell said...

What a dear little felt house, a perfect little house inside a house, like Russian dolls.
Well done with the stairs, don't those grippers look like something out the Dungeon of Despair, not nice to accidentally kneel on. Now that you have the clean paintable hardwood surface is it beckoning you to add a Gretel Parker decorative touch?

Caroline B said...

Excellent job on those stairs! Must admit I miss the Greek way of every house having either marble or tile floors, so much easier to keep clean.
Good job I don't live near you, I'd have had all that stack on your stairs to add to my own stacks of stuff!

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh, I know the ways of the horrible gripper strips. Looks like you did a fantastic job there, PG - looks miles better now. Just bewailing the fact I don't live nearer - I'd have been fighting Caroline B off for some of those books.

Jackie said...

This is not the first moth/carpet combo = thrown away carpet post I've read this month.
It looks nice without. Hope its not draughty.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your little drawers.

Syren said...

I agree - carpet is yeuch! Knowing what happened on the carpet in our last rental (Huon was only a baby)...! We had it cleaned professionally but still....
The stairs look fab. Good job.
We have wooden floors in our current place and I was horrified by the amount of dust etc that I sweep up every week thinking about how dirty carpets must be. We have rugs but they are so much easier to clean.
Commiserations to the lads on their loss and the inevitable rain.
Yes, I'd love to have a good purge of stuff but Mr I is a squirrel, I don't know if we'd still be married by the end of it :D
Love the little house with it's blue nose/door and red beanie/roof.

the casbah kitten/inside the casbah said...

What beautiful stairs! How could anyone cover them up? I'm sure it was very satisfying to expose them. I hate carpet too and hope to (next year) rip all of mine out and put in some sort of wood or wood laminate floor. The cats won't get much traction for their wild stampedes but....well, maybe it will slow them down.

Frances said...

This post of yours has got my replies multiplying. Not sure how many of them I should write here. I have got my own landlord and moths stories related to work....

Hoping that you did receive the e-mail I sent you maybe last last week? Let me know, because I would like to try to write you again.

Your stairs are definitely esthetically and vermin-wise improved by your hard work.

Glad that you are able to stay where you are. Let that property ladder wait until it truly does fit your step.

The cricket in the rain photo is a gem!

That is it for now. xo

Liza said...

The stairs look great! Maybe the moths came to help you. I have been stuck in private rented houses almost all my adult life too. Here's to one day having freedom to rip things up as we choose - in our own houses - one day!

Jessie said...

I too came upon these fierce monsters a year or so ago for the first time! They're very stubborn aren't they? You've done a lovely job with the stairs they look so much nicer. Cleaner yes, but it never ceases to amaze me where all the fluff comes from...you'll understand what I mean soon!xx

Merisi said...

How lovely that you were able to not only rip out those carpets, but discovered beautiful wooden stairs below that ugly monstruosity!

Tell me, have you already informed your landlord that there are also moths underneath the upstairs carpet??? ;-)

Jennifer said...

Great job on those stairs! I agree with you on the carpets. We had charming vintage-1970's orange covering colonial era floorboards... (what were they thinking??)

Kim said...

Well done on the DIY. It's fun once you get going and the stairs look fantastic and far better than with the carpet.
I love your little felt house, it's just soooo pretty.

Thank you for your kind words. For some reason I now feel pathetically weepy! I must be ill ;) You're right about the focus. I just wish I learn to do it!

Kim x

Cotswoldgent said...

Good job on the stairs CG, fancy coming down to my place and and mending my guttering?

Cotswoldgent said...

Just realised I did CG instead of PG.................Doh!

Mlle Miracle said...

I don't know why, but I'm happy that you both decide to stay where you are. Your posts and pictures about your walks always make my day!

Elizabeth said...

This is so thrilling!
Carpet stinks both literally and metaphorically.
How much more glorious your stairs look.
Carpets should be banned.
A wonderful post.
Sorry I haven't commented lately
bogged down in who knows what!

Karen said...

I hate carpet! Dirty,dusty,itchy haven for mites!
Your stairs look great now. We did the same thing to ours several years back and gave it a coat of varnish and what a transformation.
You can't beat good old wood.

Over the Garden Wall said...

What a pretty little story-tale
staircase.Was it part of the original house?

Kitty said...

Oh those wooden stairs are beautiful now (really like the piles of books!) - good to take matters into your own hands! My rented place has a HUGE leak above the window, and the building manager has taken 6 weeks and 4 heavy showers of rain to do...nothing at all about it.

joanna said...

Oh my goodness, G, it looks SO much better without the carpet!! Beautiful staircase, and well worth the sweat and tears :D Please could we come and visit again in the summer? Jo, Freya and Anja xxx

Kitty said...

Thanks for commenting and following!! :D I use a fuji as well! It's exact name is Fuji FinePix S7000. I've only recently worked out how to use the shutter speed/aperature settings on it though. And yep - I find my fuji good for macro, but don't like how it handles landscape shots!

Mytutorlist.com said...

I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for it. I loved the swallows and toad pics the best, the the stairway reno was really interesting!