Adam Bird

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Great Sofa Swap Saga



Sometimes, do you ever get the impression that your life is like the Truman Show, that things happen to you on purpose and would never happen to anyone else? My blog is a personal account of things that I’ve done, or things that have happened to me, stories that may have no relevance or interest to anyone else, but I make no apologies for that - it wouldn’t be a personal blog otherwise. But I wanted to share this story as it typifies the strange but true occurrences that seem to happen to me, for no apparent reason - a magnetic attraction to the strange and surreal.

Stephanie and I were given a three piece suite when we lived in our flat which belonged to the parents of my good friend Will. They were getting a new sofa after 20 years and as ours at the time where a mish-mash of things we’d found or rescued we gratefully accepted their offer of providing a home for their old furniture.

That was five years ago, and since then, we’ve moved, back to my parents old house and had a baby, which has grown up into a fidgety toddler and now a boy who likes to explore and fiddle with things, as well as a cat that likes to scratch and generally paw at anything that resembles a fabric of some kind. So our hand-me-down furniture has aged more in the last five years than the preceding twenty. We needed to get some new ones finally, despite my financial misgivings as it hasn’t been nice inviting people around to sit on sofa’s with holes in or covered up with old blankets.

On Monday past, as we knew that our new furniture was to arrive this week, Stephanie called the council and asked for them to pick up our old furniture, which they do upon request, for the sum of £20. “Yes Mrs Bird, they will be around on the 21st to pick that up for you”. Wonderful Stephanie thought, that is tomorrow, I’ll get my brother around this evening to put all the furniture outside ready for the morning.

Except, Stephanie got her days all wrong. The council were coming on the 21st, Monday was the 18th, so for three days last week, we had the unfortunate sight of a cream leather 3 seater, a 2 seater, an arm chair and a pouffe sitting out in the wind and rain, making the street look an eyesore which is made worse by the fact that our house is on an elevated position in comparison to some of our neighbours - certainly no room for camouflage or careful concealment.

We were talking at work and via facebook about similar instances of leaving furniture outside houses to be picked up, a work colleague explained how he had once put his sofa out and on his return home he found someone looking down the sides for lose change! But even so, that didn’t prepare me for what happened on Wednesday night, the night before the council were due to take our sofa’s away.

Stephanie came into the house whilst I was cooking dinner. “There are some people outside” she said “who want to take the sofa’s away - I’ve said yes, they’ve given me the £20 back what we paid the council”. And there were, believe it or not, two girls of Eastern European descent waiting for their partners/brothers, whoever they were - muscle, to carry these rain sodden sofa’s back to wherever it was they were taking them. It must have been a fair distance, because an hour or so later we got a knock on the front door. It was the two young girls again, apologising because they couldn’t get the sofas through their front door and wanted to know if they could possibly bring them back and have their £20 back! So there we were, sitting watching television on garden furniture in our lounge at 10.30 at night, watching out the window as our sofas of the past five years were walked up the road and back, one final hurrah before being mercifully crushed by the rubbish bin men the following day.

As I said at the beginning of this post, it’s one of those stories that may not mean anything to anyone else, but the idea of blogging for me, is recording what has happened at a particular moment in time. In years to come, this will still be there, looked back upon and laughed at as we remember sitting there dumbfounded by the family who obviously had nothing and the desperation that they must have been going through to carry a rain sodden, ripped old sofa goodness knows how far up the street and back again.

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