There are lots of reasons why we’ve an eclectic selection of furniture, partly because we’ve both moved a lot and bought pieces when we were flush, the piece fitted with the décor of the moment or served a function as basic as it got somebody off our backs while we mumbled “it’ll do grand”.
There are some items of furniture I’ve got that are akin to hairstyles I’ve forgotten about until somebody unearths a photo of me from a time, place or relationship I’d rather not have bandied about in front of Himself.
There are others I’ve to try to forensically deduce what state of mind I was in when I bought it as it’s so removed from anything I’d like in the house we live in now. For my part, throughout each move from one home to another, I’ve had different criteria as to what came with me and what I dumped.
The wrought iron furniture is something of an anomaly in that I went through a phase of finding rustic, Mexican furniture utterly fabulous. Why rustic? Why Mexican? I had something gothically, mediaevally heavy in every room – the black wrought iron was part of the romance of cheerful ol’ Mehico that was born in my mind and heart from too many cowboy movies as a child where teak chests with extravagant black bolts and hinges carried Iberian family heirlooms to the New Country. Rough-hewn cupboard doors with trellis inserts and black studs sat happily with the heavy metal frames, as did terracotta or sunshine yellow walls.
Then I started getting pictures of different styles of décor, ranging from Modernist to Post-Modernist expressions of personal taste, and that jump up to expecting to recognise the provenance of furniture happened to coincide with the time in my life when a normal person is expected to furnish and maintain their own home. In my 20s I came home from a six-year stint working abroad with suitcases of clothes and a little housey stuff (curtains from the Wembley Ikea, bolts of fabric from an ex-boyfriend, when my mother would have preferred a current boyfriend and the possibility of a happy pregnancy). The ‘home of your own’ thing didn’t actually happen till my 30s and since then every move has entailed exponentially increased volumes of stuff. No matter how consistent you are about decluttering a room when its purpose changes, you’ll probably still get caught short when a Major Life Event rips you from the recently spruced-up combinations of fixed or stand-alone furniture you finally found a great place for. Given that the MLE this time was the marriage to Himself practically every room in the house and corner in the garden is trying to catch up with the ‘his meets hers’ multiplication of stuff.
He’s got his own stuff to sort out. I’ve got my stuff to sort out. The twain shall meet about four or five times a week but not always as fabulously as it could. Hence, the experience he has of painting is slightly mismatched to mine. “Buck off, feen there and fought the T-shirt,” could be the answer to any of my ploys to get him to paint the hall, stairs and landing (he’s better at it than I, or was till he insisted I got better at it). It’s sort of the same, funnily enough, about his experience of hanging out of rafters, thoroughly cleaning window frames on the roof and checking to see how big the spider is now that lives in the hall. It’s also sort of the same, sadly enough, about his experience at writing prose. It’s been fun finding out what the limits of his patience are, just as it’s sometimes been fun finding out the limits of our combined skills. The DIY part of playing house with him has been some of the easiest stuff we’ve had to do and while it may have taken three months to sort out the wrought iron meets Perspex-type chairs in the garden, or sugán chair meets pregnant chair indoors and they both still awkwardly sit – not whispering a word to each other in the wrong place in the kitchen – the bits that get featured here on ainehannah.com are the parts I’m happy to record on a website.