Friday, 14 March 2008

A tile tale

How long does it take two people, a man and a woman who are married, to buy twelve boxes of ceramic tiles for a bathroom floor?

Three months.

Okay, so that isn't the world's funniest joke, but we finally have our bathroom floor tiles after so much tearing of hair.

The story of the new bathroom began last September. We bought the new suite, Brian put down the cork tiles, did all the plumbing and it looked as if completion date was nigh.

Then we had a leak. Not one of Brian's joints, but on a proper plumber's joints. Hot water. VERY hot water. It melted the cork tiles. We decided they were a bad idea.

Which is why, in December, Brian went into a tile shop and brought home three samples. We liked one of them, it looked nice in the bathroom, so we decided to buy it. Brian took the samples back.

That is the point at which he should have bought 12 boxes of tiles, but he didn't, because Christmas with all its incumbent expenses was nigh, as was January with the promise of sales.

So, in January, we visited Focus. We found the tiles and we disagreed. They were £5.99 per pack in the sale. But I didn't like them. I wanted nice, warm charcoal grey slate effect tiles. Bri said they were too dark and instead plumped for tiles the colour of sun-bleached, dead camel bones on the Sahara.

"We have a black dog," I reminded him, envisaging chasing said dog and his four muddy paws around daily with a mop. Surely the tiles should match the dog?

Impasse. We both sulked. For three months.

So yesterday we headed to the first of our three nearest Focus stores. Focus in Cardigan didn't have my favourites, or Brian's. But they did have a third choice, a possible compromise.

"Let's see what they've got in Haverfordwest," suggested Bri, thinking fondly of breakfast at Vincent's on the way.

It was the same story in the Haverfordwest Focus too.

"Let's go to B&Q," we suggested. In Carmarthen.

"Yuk," I said looking at tiles supposedly made to look like slate, but in fact looking and feeling like concrete. One benefit, we supposed, was that they eliminated the need to pumice one's hard skin.

"They give me the nadgers," said Brian.

So we went to Focus. The third Focus of the day, in the third county of the day. We decided to buy the compromise tile, of which there were hundreds.

"How much?" we asked the handle-bar mustachioed man who was in charge of the tiles.

Miraculously the Carmarthenshire tiles were twice the price of those in Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire.

"Something doesn't want us to buy these tiles," Bri said. We left.

On the way out of the estate, tile-less and despondent, I spotted a tile shop.

"Why don't we go there?" I asked.

"That's where I got the samples from last year," he said.

They had 14 boxes left of our original choice. We bought 12 of them.

So how long does it take a husband and wife to buy bathroom floor tiles?

Three months, three counties, hundreds of miles and many 'discussions' in the tile aisles. Then we bought the first ones we saw.


  1. I understand! It's a very important choice to make and one that should not be rushed.

  2. Sheesh! All those miles - I feel your pain! Still, your persistence has paid off - imagine how disappointed you'd feel everytime you soaked in the bath and peered over at the WRONG tiles. Now you can reshuffle your novel in peace instead!

  3. Ah, that purchase was wisely made. All that went before that moment was research.

    Best wishes on the installation!

  4. What a treat to finally get over here for a good read!
    Of course it takes months to make a wise choice - we once lived for half a year with subfloor in our bath - splinters on the feet, wet wood. Loved the final choice of tile and sold the house within a month (sob!) One thing I'd like to know - how many breakfasts and lunches were involved in the choice?
    Have just caught up on your other blogs - loved your furnace saga and the showering at the pool - something we've also done!

  5. Whew! It's finally decided and now you are only a short time from enjoying your choice. Good for you. I'm afraid I would have compromised long ago and regretted it for a long long time.

  6. I'm sure it wil be worth it in the end. Good luck!

  7. We are still in the stalemate stage.....sympathy winging its way down ...but at least you have got there now......

  8. So what colour did you buy in the end you didn't say.

    We have fudge/camel coloured tiles - hate them now - not so bad in the downstairs hall but make the bathrooms look cold and horrid. - should have got slate, actually like the B&Q slate - they look great if you oil them and then wax them.

  9. Hi Mags,

    I have tagged you to do 7 facts about yourself.
    Please come to my 'The Glory Hole' blog for instructions


  10. Wonderful story, which I suspect will be embellished as it is retold down the years.

  11. very funny and just like our tile buying. But you have to go to 20 shops really to know that the very first ones were the right ones. Now you can forget about them completely and start obsessing about the next thing on the list.

  12. Hi there I love your blog,I originally come from near Cardigan (long story but moved away and now want to move back)I can totally relate to your tile searching,it's great isn't it lol!!!!I must start writing in my blog about houses I have seen, just got to convince the other half who has never lived any where but the city to move!!!!Our children love to visit their uncle who lives near Aberaeron (Balamory as the youngest calls it)we love the honey ice-cream!!Love & light beckyx


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