Sunday, April 01, 2007

A much-needed refurbishment

It’s over three weeks since I wrote about Iris as other current events needed to be posted. However, now it’s back to the original theme of the blog and back to the Seventies.

Last October, I wrote about our revamping the house and how it had taken us almost up to Yuletide to redecorate the bedroom and living room. We had papered and painted the rooms and bought a new bedroom suite and we had moved the old suite into the spare bedroom and also tidied it up a bit. However, three months later, Iris suddenly developed the Spring-cleaning bug. I admit that the place needed to be spruced up a bit as it had been sorely neglected by her mother for many years.

While we had refurnished the living room with a new settee and a couple of easy chairs, we had never modernised the fireplace and it still had the old coal-burning fire that has featured so much in many of my poems. I offered to install a gas fire in its place but Iris said that the local council had told her that she could have it done free under a house improvement scheme. Besides, I think that she liked the old fireplace and wasn’t in a hurry to get rid of it. What she would like, she said, was a colour television.
The present TV was an old black and white
Ferguson of indeterminate age. Indeed, it was one her mother used to sit glued to night after night with the result that Iris, who never went out much at that time, had got utterly sick of the thing and very rarely watched it these days. She said that she felt embarrassed when friends dropped in and saw the old set. By this time in the early 70s, most people had changed over to colour so I could see her point. I think that my wife and I bought our first colour TV in 1968 but that was mainly for the kids. I very rarely watched it and even today, I’m still not a ‘Telly addict’!
However, Iris wanted a colour TV so we went out and bought one. Fortunately, I had a friend who was a TV engineer and he recommended a decent set and he also rigged up a new aerial for us. Iris was over the moon with her new TV but it never interfered with our nights out.

I’m recalling this episode to illustrate how little Iris had in the way of modern domestic items. She had a noisy vacuum cleaner that was at least 20 years old and a gas oven that was of the same vintage. While we were about it, we replaced both these things with new models together with a selection of new saucepans, etc. At the same time, I got someone in to replace cupboards, sink and draining-board. I remember that we were given an electric tin-opener by one of the shops and Iris was really chuffed by it. (‘Chuffed’ is an old Yorkshire term meaning highly pleased)
Of course, a new kitchen meant only one thing; we had to invite friends round to dinner! I warned Iris that the new cooker may take a bit of getting used to but she said that a cooker was a cooker and that was it!
I must admit that the resultant meal she prepared for six of us was absolutely first-class! Iris was in her element with her new kitchen. I regarded myself most fortunate in having a girl who was not just a pretty face but was turning out to be an excellent cook and hostess!

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