The Tale of a Table
It all started with two red apples.
I bought the apples (fake ones, by the way: not even I would bother writing a blog post about buying actual apples. Even although it would totally give me an excuse to call it, “How do you like them apples?” Might put that one into the ol’ “ideas” file, actually…), during the garden centre visit I wrote about in this post. Because I write about ALL the fun things on this blog, don’t I? Garden centres, kitchen tables… I don’t know how you guys handle the suspense of wondering what on earth I’m going to come up with next, I really don’t.
Where was I? Oh, yeah: I bought two red apples at a garden centre. They were actually selling them as Christmas decorations, but let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve used a Christmas decoration as a regular decoration, and as soon as I laid eyes upon them, an idea began to form.
“You know where these would look good?” I said, showing Terry the two apples. “On our white oval kitchen table, that’s where.”
“We don’t have a white oval kitchen table,” pointed out Terry – not unreasonably, given that we DON’T actually have a white oval kitchen table. Or we DIDNT, anyway. [FORESHADOWING.]
“Oh yeah!” I replied, all innocence. “I guess we’ll just have to get one then!”
So I bought the apples, brought them home, and embarked upon a campaign of persuading Terry we needed a new kitchen table.
As it happened, Terry didn’t need much persuading. Our existing table was old, cheap, and rather the worse for wear. It was not nearly as nice as this one from Dwell, say, which was the table I set my sights upon.
Luckily for me, Terry shared my enthusiasm for the table. He did NOT, however, share my enthusiasm for BUYING the table: because the table was £300. And that’s before you even factor in the cost of chairs for it. “It would cost us around £500,” said Terry. “We don’t have £500 for a table. We are not getting a table.”
What Terry was forgetting, however, was that I ALREADY HAD THE DAMN APPLES. So you better believe I would be getting the table to place them on, too, as God is my witness.
A search was accordingly begun for a white oval table that looked more or less like the Dwell table, without actually BEING the Dwell table. And, of course, such a table did not exist: or, if it did, we didn’t find it. The search was then moved to Gumtree and eBay, where we hoped to find either the exact table, or one very like it, being sold second-hand, at a reasonable price, and within driving distance of our house. AS IF THAT WAS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN.
Well, as you can guess, it somehow happened. One day, just when I’d started to give up hope, I got an email from my mum – who NEVER gives up hope, and who has some serious skills when it comes to tracking down items of furniture. Honestly, that woman could find anything: she has a particular interest in chairs (and a house full of them, to prove it: just when we think she can’t possibly find space for another chair, BAM, there it is!), but was more than happy to turn her attention to tables, instead.
“Isn’t this the Dwell table you won’t stop talking about?” she said in her message, attaching the link to a Gumtree listing. “And the person’s also selling some chairs!”
And OMG: it WAS, indeed, the Dwell table of dreams. And it was just outside Glasgow, too. Sure, it was second hand, and had a few scratches and dings on the surface, but…
“I know someone who could easily fix that!” said, Terry, picking up the phone. And that’s how we found ourselves, just a few hours later, on the way to Glasgow in pursuit of a deal that seemed almost too good to be true.
“It seems too good to be true,” I fretted to Terry. “What if it’s some kind of trick?”
“Yeah,” said Terry. “Because master criminals totally use Dwell tables to lure people to their homes now: that’s definitely how it works.”
Luckily it was NOT a trick. The man had the table, he had 4 white chairs to go with it, and he also had a really cute dog – which, OK, he refused to sell me, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, you know?
So we had our table:
“We need a new light to go above it,” we decided. But, try as we might, we just could not agree on the type of light to get. Most of the time, Terry and I have very similar taste when it comes to the house: on the all-important matter of the light, however, we had a stand-off which lasted… well, a few days, anyway. I wanted a big, dramatic light that basically shouted, “HELLO! I AM A LIGHT!” as soon as you walked through the door. Terry wanted something simpler, that looked like it might have been used as a prop in Star Trek or something. In the end we got so bored talking about it that we decided to compromise with the simplest pendulums we could find, which Terry fitted, on the basis that we can always change them if and when the perfect light comes along that we both agree on:
(I’m making it sound like the process of hanging these lights DIDN’T involve sawing a hole in the floor of the cupboard above them, which had to be totally emptied, and OMG, the mess, I can’t even breathe. I’m also making it sound like Terry isn’t still working on adjusting the height of them as I write this, so they don’t blind anyone who tries to sit down. It’s been a saga. Those lights are NEVER GETTING CHANGED NOW, seriously.)
So we had our table, and we had our lights.
“We need new chairs,” said Terry. We liked the white ones that had come with the table, but they were in much worse shape than the table itself, and Terry has had his heart set on some multicoloured Eiffel chairs for a while now, so he hit up eBay once again, and a few days later we were taking delivery of four new chairs, all in different colours:
“I’m just not sure,” I said, looking at them. “I think we need something colourful on the wall, just to set them off, you know?”
But again, we could not agree on what that “something” would be: a situation that’s been ongoing since we moved into the house, over two years ago now. One day, though, we happened to be in B&Q, during the Great Kitchen Light Search of 2015. We didn’t find any lights, but on our way to the door, we walked past this (which looks less like a poster in real life, I promise: it’s just the way the flash is reflecting off the canvas!):
“I know it’s just a cheap, mass-produced canvas, and we’re totally supposed to turn our noses up at stuff like that,” I said. “But the colours are perfect for the kitchen, and don’t you think it could work, just until we find the super-special something we’ve been searching for?”
So we got it. And honestly, I love it. I like the way the colours tie everything together, and, well, I’ve always loved Marilyn, so I guess it’s very “us”. And that, my friends, is the story of how two red apples somehow turned into a table, eight chairs (as I mentioned before, we kept the original four white chairs, which we’ve stacked in a cupboard, just in case eight people turn up to dinner at once. I know it sounds implausible, but we’re actually having a little family party this Friday, so we’ll be needing those chairs…), three lights, four canvas prints, and a lot of time cleaning that stupid kitchen floor. All in, it cost us roughly what the table alone would have cost us new, and we agreed that we’d rather have a slightly scratched table (which we haven’t fixed yet, but it shouldn’t be a big job), plus a minor kitchen makeover, than a brand new table, and nothing else.
Those still turned out to be some pretty expensive apples, though.