My old Victorian house is full of steps. To be precise, there are 87 of them in total. You have the whole story now, with facts and figures, so don’t complain please. The thing is, most old houses in London have lots of steps. We simply got used to it. And the silver lining is that we exercise without even thinking about it. Climbing up and down the stairs make our bottoms a lot firmer, right? In short, it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I like it. Each floor is quite isolated from the rest of the house and it is easy to spend time together on one floor or to have some private time on another floor.
What still bothers me is all the comments I have to listen to when I get family and (French) friends coming over. I can be sure that they will complain about all the steps. Maybe, after all, complaining is part of the French culture. It is only a question of time before someone asks about the stairs. It usually takes a drink or two and the complaining squad starts firing.
Sometimes, it is a criticism hidden in a concern for my family:
“Aren’t you afraid to fall with all the steps? “
“What about your children?”
Well, we have never fallen so far, and it has almost been ten years now.
My mother is especially good at making complaints and reproaches in a seemingly helpful way. She is all about:
“ It would be great if you could have the same surface in a flat. It would feel so much bigger.”
“If you ask me, the lounge should be on the same level than the dining room.”
Such comments drive me mad. Not to mention the fact that London service charges are rocket high for flats and in a house, you are less likely to hear your upstairs/downstairs neighbours, right? But no, the complaining squad doesn’t want to see all the positive sides of living in a house. They have to make their points, even if nobody asks them to.
Here is the thought that crossed my mind last time I had such a comment: well, if the worst comes to worst, I will push them down the stairs. I am sure that they will be delighted to be right: stairs are so dangerous, right?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London