Saturday, 3 May 2014

Turning the mattress

I'm up to my old tricks again - publishing two posts in one day! But I'll have no opportunity tomorrow. I'm off to hear a Bach recital at Glyndebourne - Angela Hewitt - with friends V--- and K---, and with dinner to follow afterwards at V---'s. Cooked, she says, by her elder son T---. I think that will be a recommendation. But what with getting ready in the morning, and not getting home till late, I can't post anything tomorrow. So you're getting tomorrow's post now, before I cook and settle down for the evening.

Busy, busy, busy, that's me. Thank goodness I've got that handy Heart Rate monitor app on Demelza!

Right. This post is primarily about - though I promise to digress - turning the mattress on my king-sized pine bed. A chore that must be done every few months, and one that I don't look forward to. My somewhat posh mattress is large and heavy and cumbersome - well aren't they all, really? - and is a strain on the aged Melford muscles. Did I say muscles? They are not worthy of the name. They are so feeble. But I managed it without help. Here's a shot of the thing stripped of bedding and being turned, after upending and then being lowered onto its other side. I'm panting a bit, and taking a camera break:

But with one more effort, it flops into position, and I can get on with washing and drying and ironing the bedding. With summer on its way (holds breath in hope) it's all change with duvets and fitted sheets.

It really is quite a decent mattress, made by Relyon, and designated 'Extra Firm'. I don't like saggy mattresses and over-soft beds that can hurt my back:

It's not at all new, but still firm and able to give me a glorious night's rest. Composing this post made me curious to know how old it actually was, but oddly enough I couldn't trace its purchase in my banking spreadsheets, not for any year back to 2001. The best I could establish was that I owned it on 25 March 2005, because here it is in a photo taken in the bedroom of my old home in the village (which was sold later on in 2005, after my retirement). That home (another bungalow, like my present home) had just been redecorated and recarpeted for sale:

I had some money from Mum and Dad in 2004 for my birthday and for Christmas, so I'm thinking that I used some of that to buy a new mattress, to replace the original that came with the pine bed in 1989. (Don't some things last an awfully long time?) I have an idea I bought my new Relyon mattress from Vokins in Brighton (before they closed their shop there), and I'm pretty certain that I got it on the same occasion that M--- bought an ordinary-sized mattress for her own bed. In which case, she may have paid for both, explaining why there is no record in my own bank or credit card account. Presumably I later reimbursed her in cash. I do know (from photographs) that after my original home in the village was sold in 2005, this Relyon mattress was stored in M---'s house, and then later moved to Ouse Cottage in Piddinghoe, our investment property. Here it is at the Cottage on 2nd October 2007, waiting for a bed to be put together:

Ultimately it was shifted again, from there to my present home in the village, which I inherited from Mum and Dad in 2009. So I still don't know what it cost, but I think it's about nine years old, and likely to last for a long time to come.

The Hypnos pine bed, as I said, was bought in 1989. It came from Chiesman's in Kingston-upon-Thames, a high-class furniture shop that closed down in the 1980s. It was a casualty of the Recession (the first one, that began in the late 1980s and lasted until the mid-1990s, the one that introduced the phenomenon of 'negative equity' to a surprised and shocked public, and probably, as much as staleness and sleaze, ensured the Conservatives' eventual General Election defeat in 1997). It was to be installed in the house W--- and I had bought at Broadbridge Heath, just outside Horsham. This bed was very expensive because the wood was seriously matured, and very hard, and would last decades. So far it has.

I have another item in my home that was bought from Chiesman's, not by me, and ten years earlier than 1989. I am referring to the extendible round table and collection of chairs (four of them armless, two of them carvers) in dark wood that Mum and Dad bought for their London pied à terre in 1979 or so. Here's a shot of my Uncle Wilf (right), speaking to Dad (left) from one of the armless chairs on 26th August 1979:

Well! I still use that brass magazine and newspaper rack (bottom centre) - and most of the ornaments elsewhere in the picture. So they're all at least thirty-five years old!

And here is the table itself, with the four armless chairs, in my conservatory on 11th November 2012, ready for lunch for two:

Mum and Dad ingrained in me the notion that it paid to buy high-quality stuff, because it was solid, looked good, and it lasted. I imagine that all my inherited furniture, and some things of my own like my pine bed, will soldier on indefinitely, and maybe see me out! Good? Bad? Who can say. It's a definite comfort to have something tangible and enduring to remind me of my parents. And it also gives my home background a welcome continuity and permanence. As you get older, and the cold winds of later life make you shiver, you really want this.


  1. Not much in our house is that new...

  2. The oldest furniture in our house dates back to the 1940's I think. They are a wardrobe stored in a room at the top of the house and two dressing tables in bedrooms below. I too have an extra firm mattress but it was bought in 2007. It cannot be turned over, just turned around.
    Shirley Anne x

  3. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

  4. Good luck on the Bach recital. Turn your pine bed mattress every few months? Really? I never knew that! I’ll have to check into Reylon mattresses, I never really researched the name before. Wow I can’t believe your old mattress lasted 14 years! Wow, I never kept a mattress that long, probably because I buy the wrong ones. Lol!


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