Today Paul and I went to the dechetterie. (When I first visited France I was sure this must be a tourist site as there were signs everywhere.) It’s the local recycling dump. We took the broken dish washer, an ancient Dyson vacuum cleaner and a pile of other junk that had been accumulating in the barn.
When we arrived there was one other vehicle being emptied of its contents. I nearly cried out loud when I saw an antique bedroom chair being thrown into the large rubbish container. It was in a bad state but looked like the real article complete with brass castors on the feet.
“No,” said Paul firmly, “you can’t have it.”
A couple of winters ago I persuaded Paul to accompany me to upholstery classes. I thought it would be a fairly gentle, undemanding course - choose some nice fabric and tap a few tacks in.
We arrived at the classroom clutching our old Victorian chairs acquired cheaply from an auction. Straightaway we started stripping away the old fabric and stuffing, right back to bare wood. Paul’s springs were broken (I’ve been telling him that for years) so he had the added struggle of replacing them with new ones.
|shiny new springs
I soon discovered that I am not very handy with a hammer and the tacks would invariably fly around the classroom or end up in the wrong place. Bringing chairs back to life the traditional way with tacks and webbing is hard work.
All the original, manky horsehair was removed from the chairs, placed in a pillow case, and put in the washing machine. It came out beautifully clean and fluffy. I had piles of the stuff all over the house drying out.
It was a tough, back breaking (all that bending over) and sometimes exasperating task but we were very proud of the finished articles. The trouble is upholstery can become terribly addictive and there are only so many chairs that my house can accommodate.