When I was but a wee babe in arms (actually about five), I can remember our household going into turbo overdrive one Christmas. Was it Santa’s impending visit that was causing my brother to act as if he’d just consumed four espressos in one sitting? Was it the thought of escaping Christmas dinner duties by us all piling round my aunties on the big day causing my mother to skip with glee? Was it the mere prospect of acquiring a fat juicy bone in his stocking causing our dog Sam to howl wistfully into the cold night air? No. No. And no.
It was laminate flooring. Yep, you heard that right folks. Laminate flooring.
Back in the day (the eighties to be precise, or a bit more vague) it was all the rage to rip up your carpet, smash your tiles or hide your painted shame with the L word. To become a family with laminate flooring in my neighbourhood back then was being cool and trendy. And it was in our kitchen! After a lifetime (literally, for me) of living with some strange red tile-type monstrosity that was our kitchen floor, we were finally getting laminated. I can still remember the first time my foot touched the soft spongy veneer. It was heaven.
(Full Disclosure Note: Despite the new floor being perfect, it wasn’t heaven for everyone for long. My brother calmed somewhat when he learned he could no longer traipse muddy boots through the kitchen. My mother’s skip morphed into a shuffle when my auntie saw the new floor and duly invited the entire family round to ours for Xmas dinner instead. And as for Sam getting his juicy bone – that could never have happened. We didn’t own a dog. Just a cat named Thomas. )
Then came the 90s. And the noughties. Everyone decided to ditch the kitsch. Laminate flooring went quiet for two decades. Very quiet.
But thank God for the Twenty-Tens! Laminate is back, and it’s back in a big, big way. More importantly, this time it’s here to stay. How sure am I? Well, I’ve just kitted out my bedroom, living room and, yes, my kitchen in the latest design. That’s how sure I am. It was quick, it was easy, and it looks absolutely stunning. I opted for a white oak laminate flooring with gloss finish for the kitchen, but with so much variety to choose from, it really is a buyer’s market.
It’s not all heaven, of course. My son now has to be reminded to take off his muddy boots before leaving the garden. My mother has invited everyone she knows and a few she doesn’t round to mine for Christmas dinner and Sam is still howling away for that juicy bone that will never come because he isn’t real.
So whatever happens with the turkey and the sprouts come the Queen’s speech, and no matter how badly I mess it all up, I can be safe in the knowledge that everyone will be secretly admiring my spectacular new floor.
Except my auntie. Strangely, she was the only person not to get an invite from my mother.