A weird thing happened last week. A man in a van pulled over outside my home and asked: “Do you need a mattress?”
As it happened, I did — ours was 22 years old and, considering you’re meant to change them every 10 years, was long in need of replacing.
It was so lumpy, with springs poking up in places, that I had to sleep in a contorted position, with limbs twisted at right angles.
So, yes, I said, I did need a mattress — desperately. The man proceeded to haul one out of the van and invite me to test it in the road — a bizarre sight.
He explained that a shop was closing down and they wanted to get rid of stock. He also mentioned that one of my neighbours had bought one the week before, which I verified.
It was properly packaged with a branded label, and looked to be just what we needed.
So, in a completely-out-of-character moment, I bought it.
When I rang my husband, he wasn’t happy. “You can’t just buy a mattress off the street!” he ranted, prompting me to have second thoughts, espec-ially since the man’s calling card ticked every ‘beware’ box under the sun, having just a first name and mobile number.
Nowadays people are so suspicious and particularly wary of doorstep traders.
It’s right that we should tread carefully because not everyone can be trusted, but there must surely be some situations that are genuine.
I’ve turned away people selling DIY tools, cleaning products, make-up and, despite it having been offered many times, I would never consider having my drive Tarmaced.
As I installed the mattress on the bed and removed the old one I felt pangs of sadness.
We bought it for our first home, and it has seen us through sickness and health, the conception of our children — who now bounce on it and have contributed to its demise — good and bad times.
But it had to go, before it punctured a lung or severed an artery.
After having the best night’s sleep in years my husband had to eat his words.
I’m racked with worry though, having second thoughts and half expecting it to collapse or self-combust, in the night. I’m comfortable, but the stress is keeping me awake. If this column doesn’t appear next week you’ll know why.