By LESLIE ADRIAN rr HE Cadillac, the mink coat and the owner- 1 ship of a swimming pool are the conventional signs of success all over the world. If you will settle for the swimming pool, there can be a lot more successful people about this summer.
I have just heard the news that a do-it-yourself swimming-pool 'kit,' which is to be marketed in this country in the spring, will first be seen at —of all places—the Chelsea Flower Show, where the manufacturers hope to show that no suburban garden is complete without its own pool.
The manufacturers, Messrs. Gilliams, of Pur- ley, Surrey, have made their new pool out of unbreakable plastic less than a quarter of an inch thick, but extremely tough and durable. Initially they are making a relatively small pool measur- ing fifteen by eight feet : cost, £300. At three feet six inches deep, it is safe for children. Grown-ups will have to polish up their shallow diving. It is moulded in one .piece and merely needs to be set in the earth. The manufacturers advise you to dig the foundations to a depth of approximately half the depth of the pool. The bath, which is very light, and can be handled by two men with ease, can be fitted into the hole without any further preparations. The earth from the hole is then banked around the portion of the bath that shows above the foundations. There is no trouble about filling and emptying. The former is done by a garden hose, the latter'by removing a plug.
If your garden is on high ground the drainage problem solves itself. The water seeps away naturally. If the garden is low-lying it is advisable to lay a pipe to a near-by manhole when you dig the foundations.
The idea of the do-it-yourself pool comes from America, where it has been a great success among the Joneses. If the idea is successful here the manufacturers will market larger pools than the original fifteen feet by eight feet model.
Perhaps you may think that it is too early in the year to be planning a swimming pool, but you vill probably find it is easier to dig the foundations now than in the heat of the summer.
Apart from massive secondhand Edwardian mahogany pieces, I cannot find a wardrobe which will give me enough hanging and drawer space. So I have been collecting estimates from little joiners around the corner for built-in cupboards to run the length of one wall of my bedroom. I propose to cover these with wallpaper panels to match the walls. Prices quoted in London for this kind of job are between £40 and £80, accord- ing to the number of doors required. The panels are usually made of hardboard and the back is provided by the wall, which can be covered with lining paper.
Of course, the ideal way is to call in an expert who will design you a personal wardrobe with wooden backs and elaborate fittings for prices from about £120. Even' more popular than built-in wardrobe fit- tings today are kitchen cupboards and work- benches; and I know many people who are either employing small joiners or are doing the job themselves. A kitchen-planning expert gives me this word of warning about these kitchen fittings. You must only buy the best quality woods. The cheaper types tend to warp badly with kitchen condensation and will give you endless trouble. He believes the medium-priced pressed-steel kitchen furniture is the best buy : a large wall cupboard in medium-grade pressed steel costs £16 13s.; in good aluminium, £19 15s.; and for best-quality wood, the price is the same.
The best wooden fittings have one distinct ad- vantage : you can repaint them as often as you wish. Metal furniture has to go back to the fac- tory for a complicated stove-enamelling.
But to all built-in cupboards there is a snag. If you live in a flat, these cupboards can count as a landlord's fixture and you cannot take them with you when you move. The manager of a firm making built-in furniture tells me that the method of fixing the cupboard to the walls is an important factor in determining ownership when there have been lawsuits. If screws, rather than nails, are used the verdict will probably be in your favour. If you go to the trouble of having your cupboards wood-backed, your chances of claim- ing ,ownership are increased still further, this manager tells me.
I. am the last person to denigrate the current popularity of continental green salads with their splendid ritualistic dressings. I would, however, like to suggest that we have very much neglected those two traditional favourites of the school- room wet-flannel horticulturists, mustard and cress, The other day I had an egg salad whose only green garnishing was some succulent mustard. It was a great improvement on the all-too-common wilted lettuce. Mustard has a pleasant bite to its flavour.
Perhaps one of the reasons why cress has gone out of fashion is that dinner-table conversation is apt to be suspended while guests chew with rabbit-like concentration.
This can be avoided by cutting the stalks in half. Do not throw the stalks away; they can be added to the salad, too, as they have a par- ticularly succulent flavour.
People who still enjoy the comfort and warmth of old-fashioned quilts and eiderdowns are often unhappy about whether it is sufficiently hygienic to have them dry-cleaned. I am glad to see that it is now possible to have a warm yet washable quilt made of Terylene and filled with a Terylene down. This, which is claimed as the only washable 'quilt on the market, is sold in several colours and costs £7 12s. 6d. single-bed size, £10 2s. 6d. double-bed size.