I have a new love.
It’s going to surprise you.
I had no idea carpets could be like this! Carpets can be so much bouncier and comfier than I had dared imagine. In case you hadn’t guessed we’re getting our carpets done at the moment – replete with a foam underlay. It’s such a boon. When I stand with one foot on the un-underlaid carpet and one laid upon the underlayed carpet the difference is revelatory. Apparently they make carpets last longer and I’m sure they make feet last longer. They dampen sound, they give greater longevity and they are oh so comfy.
I’ve never given carpets much thought.
I am now going to make probably the most boring referendum analogy you’ll have come across.
The referendum is a bit like carpets.
Bear with me.
Underlay is a simple, effective solution that makes all the difference in the long run. On the 18th of September, I’m going to humbly and somewhat tediously suggest, we are going to be asked – do we want to get some new underlay? Now I think turnout would be slightly less than the predicted 75-80% (praise be!) if that was the question on the ballot paper. But walk a mile in my moccasins (or rather without my moccasins, in your bare feet) 0.5 on underlaid carpet and 0.5 on un-underlaid carpet.
I feel the No argument is that it’s not worth pulling up the carpet. It’s not worth looking at what lies beneath. If you want comfier feet – we’ll get a rug. We don’t know what pattern is on the rug, we don’t know what size the rug will be but we’ll get a rug. If you don’t like the carpet – we’ll get something to cover the stains. Pulling up a carpet is a hassle. Why go through all the (literal) upheaval?
The Yes argument is that it’s time to pull up the carpet. Yes we’re going to have to move the furniture, Yes we’re all going to have to pitch in to make it work, Yes it’ll be more work than just throwing a rug down but it’ll be worth it. Carpet underlay is about making a change from the the ground up. Yes we need to lay a new carpet but it’s a carpet that’s designed to be comfy, practical, neighbourly (i.e. noise levels – maybe that’s trident… I dunno I’m still running with this) and cost efficient.
In the UK we haven’t risked pulling up the carpet we’ve just added rug after rug. The stains are there, just under rugs, or a sofa or the occasional occasional table. We put a grandfatherly clock in the corner and mount a swordfish on the wall and
The UK is not a place to be without slippers.
Imagine a carpet truly comfy for bare feet? Where slippers are fun and wacky and not a necessity without which we shuffle to and from rooms?
Scotland has been a place of great experiment and endeavour. In recent decades we have been a place where experiments like the poll tax (mohair?) were put to us. Let us have a go at pulling up our wee bit of carpet and putting down some underlay, so all can benefit where they pad about – not just those with a toe hold on a rug. Let’s lead the way and try it and show our neighbours what can happen. They are welcome to come and try it out. Let’s start the underlay movement, not just for us but for the whole building.
In our flat it’s been the same way. One room. Then another. Then another.
I think it’s time to make a fundamental change to the fabric of our society. All we’re being asked on the 18th is if we want underlay – not what carpet we want. Between the 19th September and May 2016 and beyond we can wrestle with what carpet we want. We can look at colour charts and visit neighbours.
We are being asked – do you want to take the opportunity to make a fundamental difference to the base layer – making it more local, more accountable and more accessible? A comfy carpet is one you can stand on, sit on or even lie down on. I’d have never laid down on our old carpet but sometimes I do now. A carpet with underlay is welcoming and invites people to give it a closer look. Vaguely promised powers patchwork rugs are only going to cover and obscure the stains and the actual carpet underneath. A new underlaid carpet is one we can immediately see and reach out and touch.
Where we can wiggle our toes!
When talking to our decorator about the thrills of carpet underlay he was explaining that when you get into the high end of carpets (say Nordic social democracy with Scottish enlightenment, ingenues libertarian streak) they start selling them on their ‘boing factor.’ A liminal, lunar world of gravity defying carpets. Right at the top end is, and apparently this is absolutely true, is ‘Luxury Boing Factor.’ An out-of-this-world-in-this-world experience.
I think the movement for Yes has The Luxury Boing Factor.
Tune in tomorrow for the first of a weeklong series of guest posts.