My mother is livid.
“YOU DON’T NEED A KING SIZE BED,” she thunders. “NO ONE NEEDS A KING SIZED BED!”
I calmly point out, quite tactfully I think, that king sized beds might have been considered wildly hedonistic luxuries back in the 1970s, the sort of thing that Rod Stewart might have had in his gold penthouse, probably featuring himself clad in furry leopard print pants and draped across a succession of leggy blondes, but nowadays, king sized beds are considered fairly standard, even for those of us who don’t consider ourselves large enough to actually need one, and who don’t anticipate sharing it with anyone other than a toddler.
I want a king sized bed, I insist. I have wanted one ever since Piglet fell out of the bed that time and I wished he had the extra rolling space. I have wanted one ever since the crushing disappointment of buying a standard double five years ago, only to realise the king size would have fitted in the room after all. And now, after eighteen months borrowing my brother’s old bedroom and overstaying my welcome in the king size he abandoned in there, I have got used to the luxury. I am converted. I can never go back.
“WELL,” says my mother abruptly, and not without a hint of puritan disgust. “It’s your funeral.”
You see, my mother is convinced that the larger the bed, the greater the danger to the physical stability of my new house. According to my mother, whose qualifications in building and associated trades stretch to putting up some Thundercats wallpaper once thirty years ago, it is not safe to house a king sized bed in a loft conversion. Naturally I, whose quantity surveying qualifications stretch as far as googling pictures of ceilings (more on this later) and painting my bedroom door an ill-advised shade of purple in 1996, have no argument with which to return the charming predictions of my own inevitable death in a loft-conversion slash king sized bed related accident, and am forced to google tragic accidents involving lofts on the train to work the following morning. If loft conversions really were inherently unstable, surely the Daily Mail would have something to say about it, probably involving single women of tragically advancing years and their unnecessarily oversized beds.
I find one story about a collapsing loft, and it seems to involve Tyrone from Coronation Street putting his foot through someone’s floorboards. I conclude from this that if the best Dr Google can prescribe is a plot line from Corrie, I am probably safe, and the king sized bed is duly purchased.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with my house purchase. It’s coming along nicely. The hasty paint job I have inflicted on the pantry is at the very least an improvement on The Great Purple Door Incident of 1996, and I have even managed to visit a branch of Wickes without being laughed at and chased from the car park with torches by DIY enthusiasts howling in derision. I am starting to feel something verging on smug.
“THERE IS AN ENORMOUS CRACK ALONG YOUR KITCHEN CEILING, YOU KNOW!”
And then, just like that, my bubble of smug is burst.
I am living in a Condemned Building. I am going to be escorted out by people in dust suits and hard hats, sobbing as I clutch Piglet to my breast, sniffling that all I wanted was to have a nice little garden for him to play in, and a room of his own so that he didn’t have to sleep in with Mummy until he leaves home. Termites are going to be crawling out of the woodwork in droves and eating the roof. I am going to be like poor Tyrone, falling through the floorboards in a repeat of a thousand melodramatic episodes of soap operas. It’s going to be like that time the Argy Bhaji restaurant fell on Syed’s head in Eastenders and I refused to watch it ever again in protest at the ridiculousness (I kept my word). Who’s laughing now, Eastenders scriptwriters? Who’s the one crying and admitting that it was true, sometimes buildings do just randomly collapse on people’s heads when they’re eating their dinner?
I have developed a sudden fascination with all things crack-related. Cracks in plaster, cracks in ceilings, cracks in elderly walls (what did you think I meant?) I have started scrutinising the toilets at work which, I am happy to say, are absolutely full of cracks. Cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceiling (what did you think I meant?) And they have been standing straight and tall for literally centuries without falling down. I find myself gazing idly into people’s windows like a crack-obsessed peeping tom, craning my neck to catch a glimpse of ceilings old and new and scanning them for cracks. Plaster cracks, concrete cracks, who even knows? All I need is some flimsy reassurance that yes, buildings sometimes contain cracks, and no it doesn’t mean that I am taking my life in my hands every time I enter one, or that the foundations are collapsing into a great big sinkhole and I’m going to end up like that man in Florida whose bed fell into a sinkhole while he was sleeping in it, and they couldn’t even get in there to fish him out and just had to assume he died a horrible death, swallowed up by a gaping chasm as though Satan himself had come up to personally deliver him into Hell.
I have come to my own conclusions about the crack. After spending an evening prodding it, I believe it is something to do with the drywall, even though I’m not entirely sure what that is. Dr Google can tell you a lot, but cannot allay my fears that the huge bed is going to come crashing right through that ceiling crack.
Mother knows best, as they say. I just hope that proves to be false on this occasion.