Winchestered Cathedral

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba vividly remembers the first time he saw a cathedral ceiling in something other than a cathedral, or a magazine – you know, one of those magazines that’s chock full of Very Good Ideas and tries to make you saddle yourself with them in your very own home. Ka-CHING!!

The event was, er, some years in the past – not so long ago that elephants had fur, but long enough that Americans were complaining mightily about gasoline that had hit the outrageous price of $1.50 a gallon. The owner of this palace – he didn’t think it was a palace, but I begged to differ, though not to his face; amoebae have to remember their insignificance and behave accordingly. Mind you, I was living in a rented room at the time (speaking of insignificance), and this might have colored my perceptions …

As I was saying. The owner of this palace extolled, with great pride, the virtues of his stratospheric vaults. The sight lines they provided; the airiness and sense of freedom they gave to the denizens of the house.

Me, I’m thinking Right. And you’re going to mortgage the futures of your great-great-grandchildren to heat this place. Which happened to be at an undisclosed location in the Great White North – years before Al Gore’s political career melted away with the ice floe that carried the last polar bear.

The vogue for cathedral ceilings – for the sake of clarity, I should probably state my definition of ‘cathedral ceiling’, which is ‘any ceiling, any part of which cannot be touched by YFNA standing on a chair.’ I am sure some of you out there will consider this definition to be slightly excessive, especially those who are familiar with YFNA’s stature, but …

Where was I? Oh. Yeah. The vogue for cathedral ceilings. Which has persisted to the present day despite their manifest shortcomings. Of which the heating (and, depending on where you live, cooling) issue is one of the least troubling.

I mean, what are you supposed to do when the cobwebs start building up, way up there? Hire Spider-Man? What if he decides to (ahem) hang out with his buddies? Go ahead, you try to get him down.

Not to mention the various sporting goods that from time to time locate the most inaccessible lofty nooks in that ceiling and lodge there. Frisbees, nerf footballs, overdue bills …

And heaven help you if anything happens to all the stuff that people insist on hanging from the highest, most inaccessible heights. Light fixtures. Fans.

Smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors!

Smoke detectors, I swear (trust me on this), have to be the most nefarious instruments of torture devised by humankind, this side of waterboards or (worse) the little bells that go dingdingding any time you even think about doing something so rash as driving your car. I no longer believe that fire departments, or even insurance companies, had anything to do with their invention or deployment. They are the crowning achievement of a raw-food vegan world takeover plot. Have to be. I mean, any time a slab of steak for the broiler gets within 500 yards of the driveway

beeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeepbeeep …

And has anyone ever thought to provide these screaming meemies with a nice, safe, effective, reachable kill switch, to silence the false alarms before the entire neighborhood association descends on you with a citation for noise pollution? Hell, no!

I am considering asking for a lease on this place that has terms similar to those afforded by Mrs. Hudson to her tenant, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Mrs. Hudson, after all, afforded her lodger the privilege of conducting target practice in his rooms, which Holmes once indulged by sitting in his parlor and adorning the far wall with an image of Queen Victoria’s royal seal done in bullet pocks, using his hairtrigger pistol.

Though, I confess, I was thinking of using something more along the lines of a Winchester .30-06.


(This post is a work of fiction. Landlords take note.)

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2010 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. My home has a cathedral ceiling in the front room and every word of this is true. But not original. .30-06 was exactly what came to mind first when the fire detector went kooky 18′ over my head. 20′ ladder, fortunately, came second.

  2. […] Quilly! :. Email me! .: Quilly’s Feet! :. .: Amoeba’s Place :.Winchestered Cathedral June 3, 2010Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba vividly remembers the first time he saw a cathedral […]

    • Linda — we have those, too — right beside the smoke detector, but of course they don’t open — not that we could reach them if they did!

  3. We have them in the kitchen. I got married so I would have someone to take care of these kinds of things. And I never look up.

    • Nessa — it is good that you didn’t marry Amoeba then. He thinks if I made the thing go off, I should make it stop.

      • Nessa — I totally agree! Tell Amoeba. Also please tell him that, “Yes, dear” is not the appropriate response to me when I hear things go “bump” in the night.

  4. My dearest love, thank you so very much for finally chasing my “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” earworm away, but did you have to replace it with “Winchester Cathedral”?

    • Thank you, Quilly. Now you’ve given me an earworm:

      Allan Sherman’s “Westchester Hadassah”

      (parody of “Winchester Cathedral” by The New Vaudeville Band).

  5. There’s a house for sale in Ireland you may be interested in — very low beamed ceilings put up in the 19th century when people still had common sense. I’m almost missing it now!

    One of the houses we’ve looked at had cathedral ceilings – I asked how on earth I was ever supposed to paint that (I didn’t think of the cobwebs!). The realtor looked a bit blank — no answer however.

    And why don’t smoke detectors come with remotes for Pete’s sake?

    • Susan — you aren’t supposed to do your own painting! How gauche! And if smoke detectors came with remotes people would stop buying ladders. 😉

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