Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Things for Old?

We went to buy some new mattresses recently at our local bedding shop.  They are cosy memory-foam, so deep and luxurious it meant moving the large pictures on the wall over the bed as now our heads would bump into them.  At the shop was a new range of bedroom furniture and it was exquisite; reproductions of Georgian style antiques, all in walnut and very expensive.  I yearned.

When we got home I paced the bedroom and eyed the ill-assorted types of wood and style of furniture there and thought how lovely it would be to have all the furniture matching, in the same light walnut, the same style for chests of drawers, bedside cabinets and dressing table plus a charming, tall, slender piece of furniture in that range solely for the purpose of guarding ones undies.  I might even treat myself to silk undies to go in such a delightful piece with its little secret drawers (sorry for the pun!).   Then I'd have to get new curtains as well as such elegant furniture would require something far more elegant than the ones I'd hastily run up when we first moved here.  The list was growing at an alarming pace of effort and expenditure.  However, I wasn't rushing into any sort of  decision - but woke every morning and contemplated happily just how splendid the room would look.

Then it gradually dawned on me that I couldn't part with what I already had.  These old, battered pieces of furniture had a memory, a meaning, a moment in my life embedded in them.  The Victorian chest of drawers, the drawers of which always stick and are annoyingly difficult, the washstand with it's quaint green tiled back on which a repeat motif of mauve pansies flourish, were bought in the 1970's when I won a prize of £20 for a play I had written.  The simple, useful bedside tables were amongst my mothers first household items, bought in the late 1940's.  She gave me these when we married and we cut off the cabriolet feet in an effort to  'modernise' them at the time.  They are now so layered with coats of paint through the years to match every bedroom decor we have ever had that the doors scarcely shut any more. The nursing chairs I bought at my first ever auction and I love them. The Victorian dressing table was purchased when I first moved to Malvern.  I felt so happy with it because it's quaint and has useful drawers beneath it.  The old oak chest belonged to my late mother-in-law. I can still picture it standing in her hallway during all the years I knew and loved her. How could I now get rid of all these much-loved items with their history and their personal meaning, give them to strangers? 

It made me understand that a home is an organic place that should grow with one over the years.  It should contain the ancestors in it, contain one's past, present and future too, be a living entity, a part of oneself, the outer shell in which one exists and lives.  This struck me with real force and feeling.  I knew that everything was perfect just as it was.

So I saved our money and now take a renewed pleasure every time I awake to these items which have remind me of so many loved people and moments in my life.

Favourite Quotes

  • My home is my retreat and resting place from the wars: I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner of my soul. Michelle de Montaigne
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony: Mahatma Gandhi
  • Friends are people you can be quiet with. Anon.