I tend to go on a bit about objects past. Today for a change I will rant and rave about the work of the son of friends of ours. Sam Rose is a brilliant young artist trained in furniture making and his current group of creations are bentwood lampshades. I know he is getting a lot of interest from those in the know, but I wanted to get in at grass roots level. I took this picture at his dad’s stained glass studio in Bridport
One of these gorgeous timeless shades adorns the ceiling of the newly-restored 1930s living room of his parents house. It looks beautiful, and it totally commands the room. We can barely wait to find a space for one at the house in France, and are thinking of the full 3-storey height space over the stairs. I see that someone has already put his work on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426293920952089104/
Sam is still holding down another job while he gets his workshop fully up and running, but the passion really shows in his work. It’s reassuring to know that there is such talent coming along and that people are creating the classics of the future
Audrey lost her fight on Saturday evening. Pure guts and instinct, she was a uniquely lovable character who simply enjoyed being a chicken and she shone to the very end
This week I bought two 1930s club chairs on ebay. We picked them up locally from an upholsterer who had them as a project but is moving house so just wanted them gone quickly. I was traumatised when he told me he had thrown the matching 3-seater sofa into a skip lorry. He was a lovely guy and I felt bad that I only paid 99p. On another day even in this (disgusting) state they could have made him £100.00. But it wasn’t another day, it was a Wednesday. They were only ever going to appeal to an optimist or a masochist (I am not a masochist). They appear to have been re-covered by a professional in the late 60s, but I think it has been done out of necessity rather than love. The current fabric is pink, semi-shiny and hideous, and I recognised it instantly from furniture in my relatives’ houses when I was a child. Surely no-one would have just ‘had to have’ that fabric?!
The springs look fine to me – but what do I know? I have started removing all the tacks and staples during my lunchtime so that I can try to template the fabric and chuck out the horsehair. Ambitious, I know, but I have bought some leather and I hope to be able to completely re-stuff and replace everything, using just the wooden frames and the existing springs. The bottom line is that they cost me 99p for the 2, so I am allowed to make errors as I learn. And as Baz said, if we find a quid down the back of one of them, we’ll be in profit!
Friendships are formed in the most unexpected ways, and I suppose that is part of the beauty of them.
On the plane on the way down to view the house I chatted with the English couple sitting next to me. I will refer to them as G & T – it seems fitting, who then helped me find the connecting bus service to Quillan. This has been a very happy coincidence because as it turns out G is a fellow passionate admirer and saver of all things old, beautiful and undervalued. According to Baz she and I have been enjoying a wo-mance ever since, with frequent supportive texts, email exchanges about various gorgeous things, and then a chat on the phone when G negotiated with (possible!) Russian mafia in order to pick up a mirror I bought on ebay for £10.00. Some of the coincidences have been spooky and we even had to check we were not bidding on the same ebay items. How insane is that?!
So G has been ‘virtually’ with me every step of the way. From the initial viewing through the frustrations with the estate agent and notaire, to finally getting the final completion date, she has been an essential part of the process, keeping me sane via text and helping me understand the system. Now, to top it all, G & T are going to pick up our keys from the estate agent, collect us at Carcassonne and take us to the house when we arrive. This means I will get a chance to show them around (I know they are desperate to see this monument to my insanity), and that Baz and I will have some good old-fashioned moral support when we open the door. Honestly, it has made this whole ‘adventure’ feel way more manageable, and I am dying to buy them dinner to say thanks.
One of the hardest things about being away from home is leaving the chickens. They are very well cared for in our absence by our lovely neighbour Sue, who keeps them fed and puts them to bed. It’s especially hard to leave Audrey (above) who has never been well and has had more meds in her 2 and a half years than most chickens ever have to endure. We all have so much love and respect for her as she has repeatedly defied her odds, coming back from the absolute brink. She is such a fighter, brave and resilient. Luckily, Baz will usually be at home to care for them while I am overseeing work in France.
Now, if the estate agent will only tell us how much to pay and to which account in time for completion on Thursday, we’ll be fine….
The intended completion date is now 20th August. We are excited and relieved, but we will have to let the notaire sign for us as we cannot get over until the week after. The timing means that we will take possession just a few days before my 50th birthday, which is pretty fantastic.
The plan is to go over and ‘camp’ with sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses for a few days. It’s one way to find out if the toilet works(!), and it will help prepare me for the weeks that I go over alone to get the repairs etc underway. Now the sleepless nights will start, as I start to panic about whether Baz will see potential in the building or be disappointed, and if it is as I remember it…..