Some years ago (the wife will probably tell you it’s seven or eight years ago, but she tends to exaggerate for comedic effect, so I think she’s an unreliable witness in this case), I pulled off some wallpaper in the bathroom. Wood-chip, I believe – most of our walls seemed to be covered in wood-chip at the time, so I’ve little cause to think otherwise.
Several months later, I decided to remove some more of the wood-chip, enough so I could repaper the damaged area. Unfortunately a fair chunk of the old plaster came off with it – I should mention that my house is over 100 years old, so respect to the plaster for having stuck there for so long. Undaunted I continued – more paper, more plaster. When I say “plaster”, I’m sure it was plaster when it was put up, but in the intervening years it had reverted to its constituent parts of sand, cement and horsehair.
In for a penny, in for a pound, I thought, and continued stripping the brick walls of their sand and wood-chip coating. Eventually, three of the four walls were down to their not-very-neatly thrown together bare brick. The fourth wall – a partition wall between the bathroom and the corridor – seemed rather pointless, so out came my friends Mr Clawhammer and Mr Crowbar. Oh what fun we had… until the ceiling came down on my head.
Having done away with the walls and ceiling, finally I turned my attention to the floor and took up the carpet – yes, we had carpet in the bathroom, is that unusual? Underneath the carpet I found fragments of older carpet. Underneath the carpet fragments I found old linoleum and under that, linoleum older still, until I finally reached the original wooden floorboards, which had clearly seen better days.
The fun part over, I was left with four uneven bare brick walls, a patchwork wooden floor, and a view of the roof tiles. On the plus side, it made for interesting viewing at bath time, and a talking point when friends visited the loo. On the minus side, the cold Autumnal winds blowing through the eaves meant the bathwater went cold rather quickly.