In what I thought was an act of self-indulgence, after Christmas, I decided that it was time to buy a sofa that was actually comfortable. Living in a small georgian terraced house in Lewes, England, I had accustomed myself to small furniture and, generally speaking, small furniture usually means uncomfortable sofas and chairs. Heigh-ho, I thought, what does a bit of discomfort matter in the interests of period aesthetics.
Well, that all changed when I came across a large three seater sofa in a warehouse sale in Brighton in the week after Christmas. Value Added Tax (VAT) was about to go up to 20% on most products apart from children’s clothes, food and educational goods and I was not clever enough to make a sofa out of kids shoes, bananas and school books, so it was a good moment to buy this sofa which was listed on the label as a 3 -2 -1 Sofa. I assumed that that meant you could sit either three, two or one persons on it – a bit obvious but there you go.
It was also made from raw hide and was, let me repeat myself, over-whelmingly comfortable. I have never owned a leather sofa before because even though I knew that they are blissfully comfortable, I had always assumed that they were the exclusive property of sexual perverts or hopelessly cool city types on the pull. Sitting on this one though allowed me to conquer my prejudices and lie back feeling the joy. I was tempted in fact to just move into the furniture store and die there a happy man.
It was also half-price and, sorry, let me cut down on the drama here, readers, I bought it.
I have told you about the problems of living in an early Nineteenth Century dolls’ house so you will, I hope, forgive my recklessness buying something that I knew would not even fit through the front door.
It was all arranged. I would get someone to remove the ground floor sash window, remove the old uncomfortable but very pretty sofa and begin a new life relaxing in a sea of leather. It would be easy – I had done all the measurements so nothing could possibly go wrong.
Apart from torrential rain, that is, and that the rubbish hadn’t been collected from outside the house and that a man allowed his dog to do what dogs do right outside my window and that the double glazing had been put in with super glue so the whole window frame had to be removed. apart from that, everything went smoothly and I refused to get stressed by the operation.
The furniture delivery van was on its way – only slightly delayed when their “sat nav” directed them to the wrong town but they had looked me up on a paper map and were going to be only about an hour late which was good because the ground floor of the house was now filled with various large pieces of window frame and a lot of rain water.
I retreated to the kitchen where I was working on the second draft of a poem whilst making coffee. I was not going to get stressed or so I kept telling myself. All would be fine once I had delivery of that 3-2-1- sofa.
Well, as you can see, it arrived. Two men wearing Guantanamo Bay orange boiler suits drew up outside in a large van just when the rain storm began to make Hollywood movie rain look drizzle.
The main man arrived and stood in a puddle in the middle of the living room.
“We have a three piece suite for you, sir. Is that right?”
‘No’, I said, trying not to whimper even though a cold sweat broke out on my forehead. “No, I ordered a sofa.”
‘Well we have a three piece suite for you. A 3-2-1″.
“Oh,” I said weakly but with a gradual dawning of some horrible new reality. “Maybe I should come and look in your van.”
I went to the van and there it was. My sofa standing on its side to its full gigantic size. Next to it was a smaller sofa made of the same leather and there at the back was a leather armchair. 3-2-1. So I hadn’t bought a large sofa that would only just fit into my house, I had bought two sofas and a chair and I had got someone to demolish the front of my house to fit them in.
What should I do? Would it be unmanly just to run away and find a pub somewhere on the other side of town? Maybe I could fly to Australia and never come back. No that would be silly. I have to go through with this, I knew that. Fate had decreed it.
“Don’t know how you will fit all that in there,” said the window man unhelpfully.
“It will be fine.” I answered as if that had always been my plan.
Well, after a lot more anxiety and a brief moment of internalised panic, the furniture was in, the window was replaced and I now had a downstairs living room which not only had the most unbelievably comfortable three-seater sofa but also an equally wonderful 2-seater too…..
…to say nothing about that armchair. I no longer cared what they looked like because I had sat in them and, dear readers, nothing is going to part me from them.
Don’t laugh at me, well you can if you want, but this is my little leather-filled paradise and I don’t care if
I am the only one who thinks it is perfect.
I need a long sit down on each of them to recover from the stress and I may never bother getting up again.