And Another – The First Time I …

This offering is from Maureen Wells – we loved it for its self-depreciating humour.

The first time I bought a sofa of my own, albeit second-hand, I felt  really independent, grown up, even if I was in my twenties. I’d finally made it in life.

Until then my parents made the choices, their furniture was comfortable but meaningless to me, like the wallpaper or wardrobe in my bedroom. Things I took for granted.

Then  came sharing a flat, fun but it was already furnished and once again furniture simply served a purpose. The sofa bed provided somewhere to sit and occasionally sleep and certainly nothing to do with comfort or style.

 Next stage was a move to an unfurnished flat, a spacious maisonette on three floors. An unwise choice perhaps for a person on her own. But I excelled at unwise choices.
 Gradually spaces were filled with bits and pieces kindly donated by friends and family. Nothing matched but I didn’t care. I convinced myself it was only for the time being and soon I would select all the things I wanted… Well, that day never actually arrived, something called ‘rent’ always got in the way.
 However, one day walking past a second hand shop I spotted a sofa – a very large three-seater, with wide squashy arms. It stood facing me in the window and an urgent desire overtook me, probably because I wanted to sit down somewhere, due to ill-fitting shoes. But I knew then I had to own this sofa. I think it was £30 and the helpful man offered to deliver it free. The deal was done within minutes. I hadn’t even bothered to inspect or sit on the object about to share my life.

 I remember casually mentioning in the shop that there were stairs to my flat but failed to mention how many.

Eventually after much effort from the drivers and a wide range of language not in the dictionary, the sofa arrived in the lounge. Far too large of course for the room but this was to be my friend. Size didn’t matter. Sitting on it sadly was quite a disappointment. The   words lumpy and uncomfortable sprang to mind.

 The worst thing though was the smell. The previous owner must have owned a dog and perhaps not noticed the lingering odour. I certainly did. So it was washing up liquid and hot water to the rescue, lots of it. In those days products like Febreze hadn’t been thought of. Unfortunately the tweed like fabric felt permanently damp due to this constant drenching. The smell, or by this time the imagined smell, persisted.
 Worse was to come because any visitor sitting, or almost falling on to the sofa meant determination and prayer to get up. It was far too low. As a result, they quickly learnt to avoid it.

 So my first sofa didn’t live with me for long and it is said that we should learn from our mistakes.

 Well, have I? Of course not!

About Rosemary Noble

Writer, author, amateur historian and traveller
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