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Bon Journal

Ideal home show

Every spring in London, the Ideal Home Show reigns Earl's Court exhibition halls. This is the first time that I have the chance to visit. It also coincides with my urge to purge and merge.

Barely half an hour after it opened at 10 am, there was already a long queue. As soon as I got through, I took the escalator to the second floor. It's like a big shopping mall with lots of booths showing their wares.

Downstairs, there were people queuing to get into the show homes. One was a castle. Another, a cottage. And a third, what seemed like an ordinary house. But inside, each room was professionally designed. Oh! It's so nice to dream!

Both exhibition halls were filled with all sorts of vendors. As I wandered from booth to booth, I couldn't help noticing that I was their perfect gullible customer. The time-challenged, damsel in distress who doesn't abdicate, but let curiosity kill the cat. Yes, to sell something to me, they'd have to educate me.

The energy suppliers were there vying for our time and attention. I decided to switch to London Electricity not because they were giving out free energy efficiency light bulbs, but because the sales representative said that they would relocate my meter for free.

At some point my stomach started to grumble. I ate my crawlfish sandwich at the Colour Advice Centre. This was a free service offered by a paint shop. After an hour with two different designers, I became convinced that it's time to repaint my house. They suggested to paint my living room purple at the bottom and cream at the top, with white on the woodwork. To overcome my recent sleep problems (due to jet lag), they suggested painting my bedroom different shades of green for a calming effect. As for my north-facing study room, they suggested painting it a different shade of purple. It would work well with the compact discs that I've been collecting for the wall decoration.

The music booth was too hard to resist. Panasonic just came out with an electric piano that looks like a desk - the keyboard slides into the desk. But the touch wasn't as good as Yamaha. Indeed when I tried the latest Clavinova and heard the big discount, I almost took out my credit card right then and there.

Probably the best catch of the day was the cast aluminium wok with a glass lid. It's about time I replaced my 12 year old stainless steel wok. Fifty-five pounds - not bad for something that truly will last forever!

13 March 2002 Monday