Saturday started slowly. We felt we owed it to ourselves. At about 10 am we took the shopping trolley and went to Chapel market for breakfast at Pane Vino. Then we toured the market looking for the Carpet Man. We found him and explained what we wanted and he took us to his “shed”. This is really a lock-up in the alleyway behind the shops.
The kitchen occupies one corner of our front room, on your left as you enter. To your right is the famous rounded corner that the plasterers had trouble with. The big fridge-freezer stands there but cannot go into the corner because of the curvature. That makes a space where Henrietta our vacuum cleaner will probably live, along with mops, brooms and other cleaning implements.
Further along that wall, diametrically opposite the kitchen is the quarter of the room we have designated The Lounge. It will contain the bookcase, a dresser, a coffee table and two small settees. We thought we should buy a carpet to cover the vinyl flooring and to delimit or demarcate The Lounge. The tape measure indicated that we needed a carpet about 8 feet by 6 feet.
In the “shed”, the Carpet Man displayed his wares and came up with the ideal carpet. Just about the right size, a sort of Persian style pattern, with dark red as the predominant colour, just right for our decor. £45. Done.
The carpet was rolled and we put one end in the shopping trolley and then, holding the other end, I dragged it home, weaving through the crowds in the market like a human articulated lorry.
We then set off for that place that all people with normal feelings love to hate, IKEA. We chose the branch in Croydon because, perhaps paradoxically, it is easier for us to get to, not having a car. You take the Brighton train from Kings Cross to East Croydon and change there to the Wimbledon tram which takes you almost to the door. It would take several buses to get to the others and worse, to get back, carting your purchases.
The plan was to buy and carry home some smaller items and to choose among the bigger pieces the models we wanted and then order them online. We brought home a towel rail for the bathroom, a dinky little floor lamp that peers over your shoulder while you are reading and some boxes. We picked out a folding table and folding chairs which can be got out at mealtimes and put away afterwards. We would order these online.
In Croydon we went to Poundstretcher and bought a mat for the hallway to catch the dirt and wet off our shoes when we come in. We discovered that with the vinyl flooring, the door can’t open over the mat so we will have to put it outside and hope no one steals it. I also got a non-feather feather duster for cleaning. How domesticated is that?
When we went online, we found that the table is not available from IKEA’s online store but of course they don’t tell you this until you have registered. I am not sure what the solution is to that little dilemma as I don’t see myself carrying a table and chairs – even in flat-pack form – the the tram and train. On the for the further-thought department.
In the evening we went out to dine (at Pane Vino – did you guess?) and came back to relax and enjoy our new home which is beginning to form around us. The place is still dirty: there is dust of various colours everywhere still. In the coming week I will really have to get to grips with that.