late summer 2008
renovation, restoration, relocation?
I was very excited to finally find someone prepared to take over to France a part load of furniture, tools and other stuff that even I couldn’t squash into a suitcase
This was not as easy to arrange as we had expected as some companies offering transport had fixed load weight limits that didn’t suit us, or were astronomically expensive, partly because the house is located so far down south.
Trevor had already bought some French tools which had been good value, but being a tight Black Country boy, he didn’t want to buy new chop saws and other vital tools that he already had here in the UK and was familiar with.
We did the maths and decided that, as good furniture tends to be more expensive in France and we couldn’t find anything off the peg sofa-wise to suit the sitting room, it would cost about that same to buy the basics needed in the UK and pay to have those and the essential tools etc. transported to the village in one trip.
Priority one had to be beds: the leaky air beds had lost their charm and novelty some time ago and although I had trawled brocantes (reasonably priced French antiques/vintage shops ) and trocs (French junk shops) looking for my perfect French bed, my visions of –
delicately scrolled metalwork coupled with ……..
stable construction and hopefully…….
a standard mattress size…….
…..seemed doomed to failure. Any one of the three was possible, but not all in one, so I compromised with a beautiful bargain bed we found in a UK bed shop chain and which fitted the bill perfectly. I also enjoyed the salesman’s face when I casually said
HA!……………….if they could only see the reality of our dusty, demolition dump of a house they would have laughed all the way to the till.
The only slot available to fit in our stuff with a load destined for Spain was closer than ideal so this necessitated a frantic dash around local furniture makers to find one who was prepared to interpret exactly what I wanted sofa wise and in the exact size we needed.
The sitting room in our French hovel has three doors, a built in cupboard and two fireplaces, so any old sofa/chair combo was NOT going to work.
The ideal option was a large corner sofa and I had taken measurements on our last visit to Campagne to guarantee a correct fit. ( It is sad but true that none of my family believed that said sofa-combo would fit when we finally heaved it into place and had to EAT THEIR WORDS when it bloody well did!)
Being me, and having the usual vivid vision of exactly what I wanted floating about in my head, & taking into account my insistence on a real wood frame, and a combination of high quality leather ( to age attractively) and robust and well stuffed cotton chenille seat and back cushions (bare skin sticking to leather in high summer temperatures is horrible) I got what I wanted in the back streets of our nearest little Black Country town and the end result is fab-ul-ous.
It lived in the garage for two years because we couldn’t get it upstairs, but that’s another story….