20 JANUARY 1967, Page 26



As carpets always figure in the sales, I thought I would pass on a timely collection of tips from one of London's oldest dealers in floor cover- ings, Turberville Smith of Hay Hill. They have produced a leaflet in which they reinforce the RT-SA's warnings about 'traffic,' adding that two-thirds of their customers never volunteer this information. Buying a carpet is like building a road: before you start, work out the likely wear and tear—from pets, children, itchy feet and grit. Also think about the floor underneath. Is it even, do you run wires along it, are the boards far apart? Never equate price and wear. While you are more likely to get a hard-wearin carpet if you pay more, the makers rarely fix prices and some retailers charge more than they should. That's why they can make 'genuine reductions.'

There's nothing magical about the names Ax- minster and Wilton. They are just types of wea"e. There are seven basic weaves, including such splendid names as Spool and Gripper Axminster, Brussels, Twist Pile Wilton and Aubusson, but

altogether there must be hundreds of variations on them. And there are bad weavers as well as good. Turberville Smith's comment on this is: it may confuse you but we find it exciting. Well, it is nice to be an expert.

Have the carpet laid by a specialist. He can save as much as a tenth of the total area (a worthwhile consideration at 80s. a square yard) by clever cutting on a fitted carpet. He also knows which way the pile should lie and what underlay will give it the longest life, but he won't do it for nothing. 'Free' fitting is hidden in the price.

There are some carpet-like coverings that are fairly new and worth looking at if cheapness and hard wear are the first two qualifications. Rooks- moor Mills (Stroud, Glos.) makes a tight woven jute called Colourweave in cheerful tints that do not fade easily. They say that a lair-siied room' can be carpeted for £15 and guarantee a refund without question. Just as cheap is Tintawn at 21s. a square yard. Heal's Tretford, which is a hair- cord they use in their Tottenham Court Road store, costs 43s. 3d. a square yard and comes in twenty-two fadeproof shades. Papisom is a closely needled nylon felt at £4 a square yard (laid). Hardly cheap, it is true, but one of the toughest, comfortable floor coverings made, and if you are sitting on a long lease or a freehold ideal for hall, stairs and corridors. Available only through builders and flooring contractors. There is also its stablemate Tapiflex which is a hard- wearing compromise between felt and linoleum. It is a good sound-insulator and easy to clean. 29s. a square yard from any of the John Lewis shops or Bentall's of Kingston.

The advantage of all these cheaper coverings is that they cannot suffer from tuft loss, the disease of badly made traditional woollen carpets. One of the commonest complaints is the kicking out of tufts from the risers in stair carpets.

As the RT-SA said in their December bulletin, 'labelling must come,' if only because the con- sumer needs to know what a carpet cannot stand up to. I understand that carpets are going to be among the first products to be dealt with under the Consumer Council's Teltag labelling scheme.

The British housewife's favourite carrot is apparently a variety called Dutch King. At least, this is what Marks and Spencer have found from the returns to their food department. Why do the British prefer Dutch carrots? Mr Israel Sieff took the trouble to ask Dutch carrot growers the secret of their success. The secret, they told him, was to use the invaluable Cambridge research station of the Agricultural Research Council in Britain.