Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The banister. Feel

Ok – I think it is about time to start making our way upstairs. Satisfyingly smooth – I love the feel of the banister and cannot help put run my hands along it every time I walk down the stairs or across the landing. It is one of the few original features that remain in the house – and is by no means grand, however I like the way that it doubles back on itself along the galleried landing (that sounds grander than it actually is too). Whilst the spindles are painted the top rail is the original wood – probably stripped back by the previous owners. In winter the landing banister is used to hang wet washing on, it’s particularly good for duvet covers as there is plenty of room for them to hang into the stairwell.


  1. That feeling of running your hand over a smooth wooden surface - there's nothing quite like it, is there? I think that also as it never feels really cold (like metal does) it has a visceral connection.
    I do like the fact that it is natural wood too P, rather than painted, as you can clearly see the grain. And unusual to have it left unpainted, as you say, probably stripped back, but interesting of you to leave it like that.

    Do you wax, or polish it?

    Another co-incidence, the hanging of duvet covers over the landing bannister!

  2. I'm rather ashamed to admit that my Mum does my cleaning (guilty face), and I believe that she does polish it from time to time, it certainly always feels smooth, but I'm not sure if that is due to polish or old age. I wonder how many other people have enjoyed the same sensation over the years? I do sometimes suspect that the wet washing is perhaps not such a good idea, but the wood seems to have survived so far, and in winter - needs-must! how else can you get things dry?

    Love that we have another coincidence!

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  4. If my Mum (or your Mum?) lived nearer I would wish that she'd want to do my cleaning too! I'm not that much of a fan, yet love ironing (have I said that before?)and never turn down the opportunity to use a feather duster.

    Yes, I was thinking the same, about the many hands on the handrail. Surfaces are very evocative when they are worn by human contact. I used to like handling my father's and grandfather's tools as they were usually wooden handled and worn smooth. One of the only items I have of my Dad's Father's (Pop)is his hand plane.

    Yes, I agree r.e. needs must and can't bring myself to buy a traditional cast clothes airer, even though it would get everything up and out the way.

  5. Whilst there is a deep sense of satisfaction connected with cleaning, it is the monotonous nature of the tasks that I dislike. I am in awe of your love for ironing, as sadly I fail to see the attraction. I do however enjoy (love is too strong a word) cleaning windows, and favour traditional pink 'windowlene', very satisfying indeed.
    The mention of your father's and grandfather's tools reminded me of the smell of my own grandfather's shed, with all his tools hung up on a peg board, each with it's own particular position and place – a real male domain; how lovely that you have the plane, do you or S use it still?
    Stone steps are another surface worn by human contact that I find fascinating. It always seems rather unbelievable that the tread of feet can have worn away a solid surface like stone.

  6. Yes, I agree, having a clean house is contenting, but r.e. monotonous tasks, I'd rather spend hours typesetting than cleaning any day!
    Is pink 'windowlene' better than other brands? Why pink? Am I missing out - I just have a green coloured glass cleaner!?

    Gosh, yes, the smell of a shed - very significant. Interesting that you mention peg board as it was used as a table surface to display books in a Graphic Design Degree show I saw last week. So retro. The last time I saw peg board was probably at school. I've always though it ingenious, and really like the fact that your grandfather used it in his shed to order tools by hanging them up.
    Yes, the plane is in S's workshop/shed, used regularly. It has the initials A.C.T (my family name) carved into the side, as I used it for woodwork class when I was at school.
    When you first mentioned the stair rail I also thought of stone steps, and then remembered a broom belonging to my Nan, the handle of which was so lovely and smooth, that it made sweeping a pleasure.
    Those things we remember by the sense of touch and feel, rather than sight.

  7. Lovely memories A. I can't believe you were able to take your own plane to school and use it - imagine the health & safety commotion that would cause today!

    I have just tried to google 'windolene*' to find out something about its history, but easier said then done, there are lots of discussions about 'where has windolene gone?' so maybe there is a national shortage?! I buy it from our brilliant local shop called Countdown - they sell everything you may ever want or need! Unlike window sprays this is a cloudy pink cream that dries as a white powder before you 'buff' it off - we also use it when we are decorating a room to block out the windows so that folk can't see in. Ask Margaret, I'm sure she'll know.

    Umm - pegboards, feeling the need to investigate further!

    *made by the company that made Brasso and Dettol.

  8. Your comment r/e/ H&S made me laugh, P - but yes, you are absolutely right.

    Loved the windowlene story - and you pinged me right back to the days of 'clouded' windows as I remember them when either a shop closed down, or (as you mentioned) full-scale decorating took place.

    Thanks goodness for Countdown - buy the stock!

    I will ask Margaret if she has any, it would be great to photograph and compare, if she has!


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