Half of a postcard from Londinium.
Hola mi gente encantadora, mi beach umbrellas, mi leetle bicyclettes.
Now firstly, I should warn you that if you’re not feeling disposed for a bit of glump, you might want to leap over the next paragraph and land safely on the second, where you’ll find a pink velvet sofa waiting to break your fall. And if you are so disposed, I just need to break that cardinal rule of Blogland – Stay Positive or Stay Silent – for a brief moment.
Because a couple of days ago I came to my machine to write a post to say goodbye and shut down the blog, since all things Regency Wreck are so mired in pessimism and so swathed about with gloom that frankly it’s hard to write about anything in a positive light. The Battle continues on, roaring then whimpering then roaring again.
But anyway, instead of writing that post, I overdosed on cashew nuts, clambered out of my black hole, had a little rummage in my mental pockets and found a tattered postcard from London lurking. You know, from the trip in April. How long ago that feels! Lawdy. We had only a few days there, but it was the usual emotional homecoming (for me, anyway), the usual slug to the gut walking around my old stamping ground. I always feel tearful when I first arrive in London. It’s the tearfulness of returning to a place where your heart is (or a large chunk of it), but not your life. The city which you have not moved on from but which has moved on from you. The happily married ex. You know, all of that. And after I’d got over that, we spent our time cantering around the streets like the demented offspring of Mammon, ogling light fittings, sofas, paint colours, dog collars, bits of art. It’s a strange way of being at the moment – swanning around like Lady (Sch)Muck, ordering kitchens and sofas and the like, while on the other side of the mental curtain there are scenes from Dante’s Inferno going on. And it’s perverse in the extreme, I know, to source from the other side of the world, but there you are. You can take the Pimp out of London but you can’t take London out of Pimp. And anyway, it’s cheaper over there.
So sofas. We are in need of two. One for the living room, the have-a-cup-of-tea-or-a-glass-(several)-of-wine room, and one for the library/telly room. One moderately upright and one supine. Or maybe both supine, depending on the bevies and the hour.
And I’ve learned an important lesson (not exactly one of life’s big existential lessons, but important within the context), which is to not buy sofas you haven’t first sat on. I’d been having a little online fling with Mr Matthew Hilton for some time before we went. His lines appealed to my contemporary-meets-traditional notion of the Regency Wreck. I felt sure I’d be ordering a Lucas
or an Oscar
or a Sissinghurst, for a dash of mid century
But when we espied them in Liberty and lowered our eager frames into their depths, there was what I can only describe as a back-to-bum-interface-situation- situation, the back being hard and the seat soft. Or was it the other way around? Either way, the sofas weren’t as we imagined. Though having said that, had we left our bottoms there a little longer, we would have discovered, as we did at the house of friends with a Mr Hilton, that the seats mould themselves around the sitter rather oomphily, given a minute or two. However, by that time Mr P had struck up a little something with this, also spotted at Liberty, and so we ordered one.
And yes, I’m sticking to my resolve and having it covered in pale pink velvet (though my heart has roamed onto orange, and mutinous thoughts are twitching in my mind, but too late, too late!). And incidentally, I’ve lived all these millennia without knowing what a tuxedo sofa is, or even that there was such a designation (which obviously explains that slight sense of there being something missing in life). I’m perfectly sure that you knew a tuxedo sofa was one where the arms and back were the same height, but I did not.
Which leaves the library sofa still to go. We were at the end of a particularly tiring morning when we staggered out of the lift in Heal’s to fall almost immediately into the arms of this little number by the Italian company Contempo
Like me, it doesn’t photograph well – you can’t see its beautiful copper coloured frame, for instance. Nor can a photo deliver the feeling of falling into a perfect Victoria sponge – neither too springy nor too soft – and lying there, blissed out, amidst the strawberry jam. It was, I tell you, the one. Sofa home. Superlative supine. The only plobs being that there are only two suppliers of Contempo in UhStraya, one of whom simply can’t be arsed, the other of whom is wonderful but in Perth. Which might as well be a couple of countries away. And even wonderful can’t get me samples in under a month, and then there’s the four month waiting period after that and the usual situation of Australian prices being over twice those of Europe. Why don’t I just go down the road and get something lovely from Mr Somebody? Well, because. (I once had a dream about there being two paths across a mountain I needed to cross – one straight around the base and another meandering all over – precipitous, vertiginous, overgrown and given to avalanches. You can guess the rest).
Anyway, that’s enough of sofas. There’s another half to the tattered postcard but I must up, up and away to Potty Training, so I will have to find a stamp and mail that other bit later. Laters, potaters.