It is quite odd how an inanimate object has brought several things into sharp focus for me this week. Perhaps my mind is open to learning from past mistakes, maybe my meditation and mindfulness practices are beginning to pay off.
Whatever it may be I am very grateful that this battered and unloved chair found it’s way home to me.
I picked this chair up for a song on the Austrian equivalent of ebay a couple of weeks ago.
I went off to the other side of Salzburg to pick it up. To avoid the tolls I drove through the centre of Salzburg. My sat nav told me it would take me just over an hour, it actually took almost two thanks to the traffic in the City Centre. I got quite frazzled with the bumper to bumper queues and realised what it is that I dont like about city living.
Eventually I made it out to the other side and headed up the mountain overlooking the city and arrived at the most beautiful apartment sitting on top with stunning views overlooking Salzburg. I clambered out of the car and stood at the edge of the path looking down on the city, breathing in the mountain air deeply and then releasing the tension from the commute I started to see the city as a beating heart and it suddenly occured to me that all those years of working in the city and blaming my job for the stress was a complete mistake. What I had in my job in the city was my beating heart. What I lacked all of that time was that ability to retreat from the stresses of the day and regroup. For years I walked out of the office and into another drama every day.
I started working on the sorry beast this weekend. Putting it up on the table I sat looking at it whilst I drank tea. I was lacking inspiration.
As I looked at it I thought about what it was that had attracted me to it in the first place. It wasnt the dowdy fabric nor the scuffed deeply depressing dark woodwork. No it was none of those things, it was it’s potential.
I had seen so many wonderful renovations of these chairs and longed for one to do myself for some time.
As the sun was shining I decided to take it outdoors to start work on stripping it in the hope that inspiration may hit me in the face.
This is my first attempt at proper upholstery so I am doing it on a budget. No fancy tools for me. Just a hammer and a screwdriver to get me started.
As I stood looking at the chair, hammer poised, I thought about how much it reflects my current state of being. Frayed at the edges, stuffing falling out, scuffed, scratched and joints coming unstuck. Faded grandeur just waiting to be loved and nurtured back to its former glory.
Thinking of it in this way changed my mindset and I decided that I needed to do this job properly (all be it with the wrong tools) and give it love, care and attention. So, I started slowly, taking each tack off carefully. It took me over an hour but I got there in the end.
And then the rains came so I retreated indoors where I continued to remove the fabric With each piece a mountain of dust and grime cascaded onto the table, eventually exposing the makeshift foam seating that had obviously been an attempt at makign it more comfortable.
Finally it is down to its bare bones. I am aching all over as I had stood for over 3 hours. My hands are stiff with pain and my fingers are tingling with pins and needles but it was all worth it.
Time now to start building it back up. Washing it down, glueing the joints and giving it a light sand is as good a starting point as any. Now I just need to find my staple gun and buy some staples. But next is a paint job.
Still no inspiration as yet but at least, for now, it has some breathing space and time to just be its basic self. I am sure that it will let me know who it dreams of being when the time is right. After all I sit and look at it every morning whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day.
Watch this space for the next step in its evolution.