Posted by: docdenbow | January 25, 2013

Adventures In Soft Furnishings

There is a time that comes to us all when certain things in their life change and, perhaps, come into in appropriate focus. Women would insist that it’s the true sign of maturity. Mind you as a reforming irresponsible self centred sort, a lot of the things that I was never interested in down the years, are now interesting me. I am of course talking about interior design. As a male slob, I’d always held the view that as long as a sofa is comfortable, and the cooker cooks and the kettle boils water then I’ve never been overly concerned with what those things have looked like.

I mean, sofas. How could anybody in their right mind get excited over a sofa? I have been party only once to the purchase of a brand new sofa, and it was part of a 3 piece suite. Prior to that the Denbows reclined on assorted donated furniture. Mrs D has always looked to improve the quality and look of Castle Denbow, whereas I’ve just made a felt “Harumph” noise and gone along with the decor improvements.

old sofa

I was broken hearted when our last sofa went to sofa heaven, so much so I needed counselling. The pending arrival of a bonnie new bouncing sofa didn’t even come close to softening the blow off the loss.

Mrs. D was of course delighted to be able to see the back of my old and trusty loyal friend and had dragged me kicking and screaming to various furniture superstores prior to its disposal. DFS, Happy Home, Habitat, Ikea, we visited them all. Nothing that we found even came close to receiving the Mrs D seal of approval. She was beginning to get desperate and was feeling the strain and took the unheard of step of asking me to “show some bloody interest.”  Having discovered that our next trip to a furnishers was to be to Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins, South Wales’ premier (and very expensive) retailer coming  I resolved to “show some bloody interest.” I made a solo trip to a few stores that sold what is euphemistically known as pre-owned furniture, and found what I was to be my new companion. It had everything that a middle aged man could every want.

As you can see this sofa is perfection, it has everything a man needs.maggy sofa Its’ loose cover permits you to shake crumbs off it with ease and the cover is even washable. The magazines came without charge and delivery was a very reasonable, free. I felt that at £35 it was a snip. Even I was prepared to admit that it was in better shape than the old one, Mrs D would be delighted. I had shown some “bloody interest” and had come up trumps. I would, of course need to find a chair or two, but wouldn’t be too hard would it? The sofa was the main thing. The rest would fall happily into place. I happily told Mrs D of my find and she happily jumped into the car to go and have a look at my find.

To say she was not best pleased when we drew up at place that the folks in the colonies call a thrift shop. She looked me rather doubtfully and followed me inside. She looked carefully around the draughty warehouse all the while looking for the “sofa section.” She thought that they had sold the sofa in question as it was nowhere to be seen. It was was at this point that I took it on myself to remove a couple of tea chests that were sitting on my treasure and with a wide armed gesture said something like “Der Daaaah” as a poor impression of a fanfare. Mrs D looked at the sofa, then at me and the sofa once more.

“You’re serious aren’t you?” Mrs D enquired.

I nodded smiling. I was the immediately felled with the sweetest of right hooks.It seems that I’d something wrong, I had no idea what that was. I merely picked myself up and said,

“You don’t like it then?”

“No I don’t bloody well like it!”

Seemed that my idea of a new sofa didn’t match up precisely with Mrs D’s. Her behaviour was, I thought, a little bit out of order. Punching me in the face in a public place is really a no no. Granted the thrift shop was not exactly full of customers, but her behaviour was reprehensible given that we were in a public place. Anyway, she then told me to get in the car and drive. Mrs D announced that we were going to Merthyr Dave’s Designer Furniture Emporium. Oh cripes! Merthyr Dave sold strange, odd furnishings (or so I had been told) with one thing in common. An exorbitant price tag.

Arriving at the the car park of this tin monstrosity of a superstore just off the highest point of the Heads Of The Valley Road, I could feel the tears beginning to sting my eyes. The howling gale or Welsh drizzle didn’t lift my spirits and my jaw ached.  I was starting to lose the will to live and looked sadly at the sheep in the distance and felt envious of them. I reckoned that their lives were more fulfilled than mine.

I was led like the condemned man into Merthyr Dave’s Designer Furniture Emporium. I looked around, furniture as far as you could in any direction.

“You do want a nice home for the children, don’t you?” I could only nod. Of course I wanted a nice home for the children to live in. It was at this point, jaw aching, that I decided to “take some bloody interest,” but this time it would have to be real. It would have to be real “bloody interest.” We set off around  Merthyr Dave’s looking at sofas, three piece suites and all manner of furniture. Some of the sofas were really nice. cow-sofaThe trouble was these sofas had the name of some poncey  London designer hanging off them and as a result cost thousands, and I do mean thousands of pounds. There were one or two that were to paraphrase Beavis and Butthead “Stupid.” We looked at the cow sofa and saw the price tag and immediately I decided, yes I decided that we were wasting our time here and that we should move on to somewhere that sold quality furniture. No DFS, Happy Home, Habitat, Ikea. Absolutely not. We were heading off to Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins to look there. I grandly announced we would go and have coffee there and then carefully peruse the sofas and three piece suites and chairs and recliners that Arthur had on offer. I felt really quite please with myself for I was becoming the Alpha Male. The Boy Behaving Badly was becoming an adult at last.

I reflected after our visit to Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins that it was about time I grew up and accepted responsibility for the things that go on in our home instead of just being lazily indifferent. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in the way our home looked I realized, and if I added my opinion even as a voice of reason looking at practicality rather than just appearance then I would be making a real contribution.

It’s just a shame that it’s taken me so long to realize this

Ciao For Now



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