Can you help me with the phrase "between carpets"? Is it an idiom or they are just saying that they are buying new carpets or something like that? They are chatting at a dinner.

EDWARD: And how's the house? We're between carpets at the moment.

DAPHNE: Poor things.

WILLIAM: It's awful, isn't it, darling? There's nothing worse than being between carpets.

From TV series "Grantchester", season 1, episode 2

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    Is this a dialogue from a book? a film? TV program. What program. Please link to the video if possible. Is it not possible that it is just literal... "We have got rid of the old carpet and we are waiting for the new ones to be installed" Think about the context ... are the people talking currently refurbishing their house?
    – James K
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


It's a joke. It's a play on the common expression "between jobs", which is a euphemism for "unemployed".

Edward is saying their house isn't great right now because they don't have a carpet and need one. The joke is that by saying "between carpets", he's suggesting that not having a carpet is something very uncomfortable to admit to, similar to admitting you don't have a job. This is why Daphne and William react as if it's really sad and embarrassing. They understand the joke and are playing along.

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    "between relationships" or "between boyfriends" (meaning currently single) are also common phrases along the same lines.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 23:42

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