" TEARS ago I used to go but it made me want to chuck everything out of my house and start all over again."
"1 thought the whole show was terribly grotty this year. It didn't have anything I'd want except perhaps a Sauna."
"I thought the show was worse than ever this year but then walking round exhibitions, however much I want to do so, always makes me bad-tempered and unable to view them objectively."
A NUMBER of women
were giving me their views about the Ideal Home Exhibition, although they didn't seem to have much in common with the words of George V: "The foundations of the national glory are set in the homes of the people."
This gem is set on a pinkswathed beam high above the swirling crowds and lights, the cardboard-looking houses, the cookers and fridges, the sofas and chairs and all the paraphernalia that go to make up this enormously popular exhibition.
After a couple of hours trekking round it myself I felt able to agree with all but the first remark, for today, not even this lady would want to
hurl out half her furniture for what is being shown.
She might, however, want to alter her bathroom radically after a long look at the three Ideal Standard bathrooms designed by architect John Prizeman and Daily Mail journal• ists Shirley Conran and Judy lnnes.
Described by Prizeman as "extensions of living rather than places in which you can just get clean," two of the bathrooms are a sybarite's paradise.
There is one which includes a study as well with telephone and writing-desk and the conservatory bathroom is festooned with exotic greenery. They are the kind of places to spend one's day in rather than a rushed five minutes for a lick and a promise.
The family bathroom, however, is much more practical, with scarlet plastic on the walls to relieve the spartan atmosphere of two huge washbasins, plastic bath and washing and drying machines.
My ideal family bathroom would certainly have two washbasins, but one would be too high for children and the other too low for adults— that way we'd all be better cff. My dream bathroom would also include a sauna. Paying 7s. 6d. at the Hackney baths is all very well, but to have it in. the home would—together with clean sheets every day— be my idea of luxury. There were two companies showing these log-cabins at the exhibition—one man had sold six of his L225 cabins within three days.
"What beats me," said Mr. P. Wadham of Norpe Saunas, "is that we have taken so many orders from people who have never had a sauna before."
Mr. Wadham doesn't usually expect to sell even one Sauna at the exhibition itself. The selling is done by following up interested parties afterwards. But this time it seems as thoughFinnish Sauna has caught the imagination of the British in a big way—even to the extent of buying it without trying it.
Perhaps it is because a Sauna is cheaper than a decent-sized swimming pool and yet provides the same if not more snob value.
Compared with the bathrooms, furniture at the exhibition was dull, pedestrian or expensively vulgar. I even preferred our old tatty sofa to some of the pseudo mod, imitation leather stuff being shown.
There was an exception, however, in a folding trolley which rejoices in the clever name of The Oojamaflip. You can carry it in one hand and flick it open in a second. Like most 'trolleys you can use it for anything from a baby's clobber to an adult's supply of alcohol.
It would be particularly
useful as a picnic table as you could fold it flat for the car. At £4 17s. 6d. it seems very good value to me.
Like the trolley, an entirely new can opener won a Blue Ribbon Award at this year's exhibition, and deserved to, for it opens tins in a totally different and much safer way than ordinary tin-openers.
Called the Topper and costing 14s. 11d. it opens a can from outside the rim, bending it back so that there is no sharp edge to cut yourself on. Afterwards you can use the top as a lid without its falling back into the can.
On my last flip round the exhibition I noticed a toy which dozens of people have had trouble finding. One of the great successes of the Blue Peter programme,it is the Polypops Lunar Track, an articulated caterpillar toy made of stiffened cardboard.
Packed flat when bought, it can be linked together without too much difficulty so that a child can get into it and move along. even making it climb over obstacles.
Only available at one store in London at present — John Lines in Tottenham Court Road, it can, however, be ordered direct from the manufacturers for £3, including postage and packing.
The address is Polypops Products, Ltd., 216 Tottenham Court Road, London, W.I.