You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Monday, 21 May 2012

of Desktops and Cupcakes

It is with much pride that I would like to introduce to you the latest addition to the Maroon Household.

Ta-da! And this one has a lovely story.

Last week, I was feeling very virtuous about staying home and resisting the urge to go randomly op-shopping. I do have to restrain myself sometimes. But on this particular day the universe must have decided that I really did need some more beautiful stuff after all, because the op shop came to me in a most spectacular fashion.

There was an unexpected knock at the front door. This doesn't happen very often around here, as I have decorated my front door with warnings and legal notices designed to scare away door-to-door salespeople and the prosetylising, door-knocking kinds of Christians - and it worked. But on this particular occasion, it was my next-door neighbours who dropped over to make a remarkably kind and generous offer.

Mr and Mrs B are a middle-aged couple who became empty-nesters a little while ago and downsized their way down to the little cottage next to ours. They are pretty great as far as neighbours go. Mrs B is very passionate about gardening and often gets a bit carried away and ends up cleaning up our garden and carport too. Hey, I'm not complaining. In spite of her formidable housekeeping skills, Mrs B does not bake. It's just not her thing. So that gives me an opportunity to share when I get some baking going. Mr B gets quite excited about freshly baked, warm-from-the-oven baked goods. We've kind of developed an informal, unspoken baked-goods-for-gardening-services bartering system.

The reason for their visit, however, was to ask me if I would like to have this gorgeous antique writing desk. I was determined to say no as I really do not need any more furniture. But once I laid eyes on it, I knew it was meant to be for me. It just suits me so well, and fits in perfectly with the house and decor.

This desk belonged to Mr B's father, who was, by all accounts, a decent, honourable, intelligent gentleman. He was a biochemist - I wonder what fascinating experiments or discoveries were once expounded upon this very surface.

I think that the situation was basically one where Mrs B didn't want the desk taking up space in her tiny down-sized living room any more. Perhaps she doesn't feel it goes with her decor - home decorating is another of Mrs B's special skills. But of course, Mr B didn't want to part with it, what with it being an heirloom from his dear father. Mr B's brother offered to take it but that would have involved transporting it to Queensland. I guess the solution they came up with was to find it a home where they knew it would be well loved and cared for. It was given to me on the condition that I never sell it or give it away - if I get to a point where I can't keep it anymore, I am to give it back to Mr and Mrs B for them to rehome it themselves. Fair enough, I reckon.

It took me a few days to settle this lovely piece in. Once I found the right spot for it, I had to rearrange the artworks on the wall around it to fit the space. That was a slightly sad moment as I really loved having the Toulouse-Lautrec prints (my heirloom from my grandfather!) here around my computer station - but they didn't fit with the new desk taking up all the wall space. But in its place I get some of favourite books on display here in the main living room rather than tucked away in my bedroom, and they look and feel just lovely there. Then I had to decorate it just right and fill its nooks and crannies with appropriately handy, useful, creative stuff.

Now it's ready for its public introduction. I invited Mr and Mrs B over for a viewing of their treasure in its new home and some thank-you cupcakes - chocolate and raspberry, and colour co-ordinated with the dark wood of the desk itself. And of course I made extra so there's some left over for us. Hey, I'm not silly.

While I'm here celebrating the joys of heirloom writing-desks, I'll also introduce my little desk. I've had it for years and lugged it all over the country moving around here and there. It's performed in a wide variety of functions in various locations, including a stint as a kitchenette in my room in a boarding house. (It copped quite a range of new stains during that particular assignment.) My nana bought this desk for my pa when he studying to become a teacher at Melbourne University, and my father and uncles all went through their high school studies with it. Now it's mine. It's not so grand or handsomely hued but I just adore it.


  1. You have caused me to have *neighbor envy*! Wow, such a lovely story and you are now in desk heaven I'd of the finest blog posts about furniture I think I've ever read.

    Looking mighty spiff over here ;>]]

    1. Ah yes, furniture, garden tools... the very stuff of life!
      Perhaps I can tone down your envy by pointing out that my neighbour on the other side is a 95-y-o Italian lady with dementia. She often blocks the traffic with her tiny little body and gets confused and thinks that I am a member of the Gestapo - she even sent the police around to check our backyard for buried bodies.
      It takes all sorts, doesn't it?

  2. That is an awesome story, and awesome furniture!