I have this obsession with chairs.
I’m not sure where it comes from, but I have to stop myself from buying them. I mean I really do. I make a huge effort not to even LOOK at chairs on TradeMe, or heaven knows what will happen. I should never walk into junk shops.
I’m obsessed with a 1970’s 3-piece suite an old neighbour of mine in London had. I can’t get it out of my head. I left there twelve years ago and still, once in while, I scour ebay and TradeMe longing to find one that’s the same. She’d recovered it in different coloured velvets. Oh God, it was gorgeous. Why didn’t I just beg her to sell it to me then.
In early 2003 we were travelling the country in our camper van. I’d wanted a bus – room for freestanding furniture and all that. Watched too much ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. But we had a Toyota Hiace, which was, I’d conceded, more practical. But still…
On Manchester Street in Christchurch I fell head-over-heels for a round orange fibreglass number. Had. To. Have. It. But dragged myself away. Then reclaimed my then-boyfriend (now husband) from a car museum or somesuch place up the street and dragged him to drool over it again. He dragged me away this time.
Fast forward to two weeks later and I’ve been solo in the camper for a week while the boyfriend is off on a photo job. I get a call in Nelson, late at night, asking me to drive to Blenheim to get him. Blenheim? Is he having a laugh? That’s a very wiggly drive in the dark in a campervan. On my own. He’s meant to be on a bus arriving in Nelson in about an hour. “I’ve got all this gear…” he pleads. What else is a girl to do? I hurl the Hiace over hill and dale arriving in Blenheim at some early hour of the morning. And there he is. On the steps of Blenheim visitor information with a pile of photography gear…. and my orange chair. Pretty much the most romantic thing he’s ever done.
The orange chair looks great in the dining area of our current rented house. We’ve added vari-coloured dining chairs too. There are two old dentist’s waiting-room chairs littering the house, that he bought from someone when he went to pick up something completely different that we’d purchased on Trade Me. Yes – he has a bit of a chair problem too. They don’t really have homes or go with anything at all, and move around the house depending on where we can find a space. I’m sitting on one now, so I guess we need them.
There was the purple vinyl-covered egg style chair I couldn’t resist from a shop in St Kevin’s Arcade. I’m pretty sure I was ripped off. It wasn’t in very good nick, really, and ended up in the sleepout of our last house for about five years. I flicked it on on TradeMe when we moved. A sad day – but that means room for one more, surely?
We still have the sofa I brought from the UK. My first ever sofa. Dark red corduroy and a comfy fold-out bed too. I love it. I just do. I simply couldn’t part with it. And the sofa from the three-piece suite I bought for eighty bucks from a second hand shop in Helensville just after we moved into our first house in New Zealand. It’s just so useful. Even if it looks revolting, especially next to the bashed up old leather one that we rescued from a friend’s deck…
There are two really cool folding wooden chairs at our storage unit. My project. Has been for the past, erm, six years perhaps? But I have removed the seats and backs and taken them apart. And sanded one. Okay okay, so that was five years ago. But when I’ve just finished that play, that writing assignment, sorting out those photos, cooked enough food to feed Denmark, I’ll get them out and finish them. I will. Just let me make these little chairs for the childrens’ dolls’ house first. Honestly – they won’t take long…