Skirting boards

Walls with skirts. Little additions to cover their joins with the floor. Modesty? Practicality? Custom? Not in every country I am sure.

One of my earliest encounters with this phenomenon was when I was very small. My father, still a student at the time, was an almost perfect househusband. He couldn’t cook or diy but he could look after me and he could clean. And clean he did. Using the carpet sweeper was his forte. It was a long time before we had a vacuum cleaner, but the carpet sweeper made a lovely rolling noise as he pushed it back and forth over the almost threadbare carpets, in and around the table and chairs , under the bed and on the linoleum in the corridor and kitchen. Sometimes he would let me push it in the corridor. It was much taller than me and I found it very unwieldy. But I wanted to help. Silly me.

One day he put me to work. Taking advantage of the fact that I was very small and therefore nearer the ground generally, he sat me down on the floor at one end of a wall, wound a wet rag round my index finger and showed me how to clean the skirting board. It was fun at first. My rag-bound digit got dirtier and dirtier and so he showed me how to move it on bit by bit. Once I’d got the hang of it he sat down and read the newspaper. Happy in the knowledge the job was being well done.

I was happy too after a fashion. I don’t remember now how often I did this particular job. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone else do it. But to this day I find myself peering at skirting boards and on occasion finding a wet rag, winding it round my slightly larger index finger and giving the piece of painted wood a much needed once over!

No photo today. I don’t think I can bear to photograph a skirting board

8 comments on “Skirting boards

  1. Haha! Reminds me of my little brush and pan when I was a small child – I’d run after my mother and clear up the ash that dropped from her cigarette (and at the same time usually with a scolding look on my face!)

    Are skirting boards to tidy up the bottom of the wall? Or to stop chair legs kicking into them? I know the dado rail (that’s the, usually wooden, ‘rail’ that is part of the way up the wall in some old houses) is meant to protect the wall from chairs.


  2. I think they’re meant to cover the gaps between the wall and the floor. Mice can usually get behind them in old houses! in England they’re always quite high whereas in other countries they can just be a quadrant. Thank you for commenting. I always like it when there’s a dialogue!


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