We are blessed with sunny weather here in Suffolk and with a sense of spring in the air I decided it was time to restore the rustic legless mantelpiece we acquired in the Cotswolds last October.
When we stumbled across this objet trouvé it was day one of what turned out to be a very rainy trip when we stumbled across an antique shop in Chipping Norton (which The Grey referred to as sodding Norton as the wet week progressed) and spotted what looked like the top section of a Georgian style fire surround with what I read to be £25. Why wouldn’t you? I imagined lovingly restoring it in my art studio, working away, at one with the world.
The owner of the shop was quite a character and full of banter. We got some of his life history as well as being told several times that what we were buying was ‘genuine Georgian’ and he had in fact wanted the piece for himself. Come to think of it he didn’t say why he didn’t keep it for his own home. It was clad in an old piece of cloth and The Grey was walking down the road to the car park when I discovered that there was a 1 in front of the 25 making it £125… Ahhh…
‘No worries, Madam,’ the cheeky dealer said, ‘I can refund your money onto your card.’
But I wanted it! What would be a palatable figure for The Grey? He’s pretty laid back on these matters really.
‘How does £75 sound?’
‘It’s genuine Georgian you see.’ We eyeballed each other. This is the bit where you don’t blink first. ‘£85?’ he suggested.
My friends back home assure me I got a bargain. Phew.
So, back to my sunny day: I’m in the garden painting the now infamous mantelpiece with a gloss paint (not favoured by The Grey so purchased surreptitiously one Saturday when he wasn’t looking) which is supposed to be antique cream but looks white to me; I tell myself it will miraculously change to its true colour at some stage. With just the gentle sound of nature and a paint brush in my hand I felt a sense of calm; a sense of this is what it’s about. And perhaps it went some way to restoring body and mind as well.
So here is the fine piece; restored but still legless.
It’s now raining and according to my weather app this is the status quo until Thursday, so the verticals to complete the fire surround will have to wait.