Of all the pre-loved items on display, my lovely chooses the ugliest. With its varnish-finish split and peeling, the 1950s desk stood out like a sore thumb.
‘This will do,’ he says.
‘I haven’t had a chance to restore it,’ says the shopkeeper. ‘But it is a strong, sturdy piece.’
Beyond the sandstone walls of what was once a quaint nineteenth-century chapel, I hear the joyous sounds of children at play. The swollen belly of the thirties-something shopkeeper tells me a baby brother or sister is soon to join the growing family.
‘There may be other distractions occupying your time,’ I say.
‘That’s one way of looking at it,’ she says, smiling and patting her belly. Her gaze falls to the cup and saucer I am holding. ‘I’ve only had those for a couple of days,’ she says. ‘Exquisite design. Coalport.’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘I love the colour combination and the pattern.’ I place the matching cup and saucer on the counter. I turn to see my lovely lovingly run his right hand over the rough surface of the desk.
And I think: really? But it’s so, so very ugly.
‘I could restore it if you like,’ I suggest, hopeful.
‘No, that’s okay,’ says my lovely. ‘I like it just the way it is.’
And for nigh on ten years that ugly duckling of a desk stood in our home. Never mind me wanting to satisfy the urge to restore the thing; out of respect for my lovely I left that desk alone.
Still, there is that saying good things come to those who wait.
Recently, my lovely and I in a fit of industrious activity decided to spruce up the family room with a fresh coat of paint. And having emptied the room of its furniture, we then played around with what pieces of furniture would go back into the family room.
‘And what about your desk?’
His fingers had lingered over the even more uneven surface of the desk. ‘It’s a bit ratty,’ was his reply. ‘Don’t you think it’s going to look out-of-place?’
Ever hopeful, I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
‘I could restore it for you, if you like. And I could do it in the time it’s going to take to complete the painting.’
Finally and at long last I had my lovely’s permission.
And the more I worked on the desk, the wider my smile grew. A smile and a gratifying sense of satisfaction later confirmed by my lovely who upon inspecting the finished restoration uttered: ‘Why on earth would you want to spoil a solid redwood desk with a coat of cheap vanish?’
Copyright Jo 2014