Living between two houses has started to become quite hard work. Apart from having to keep mental inventories of each house—I’ve spent three house trips forgetting to have both tape measure and opportunity to work out what size of non-dimmer light switch will fit in the bedroom—and our new house being in a permanent state of redecoration, we’re now gradually losing furniture from our current house while living in it.
The first things to end up in the new house were the two leatherette beanbags, as an easy way of having somewhere to sit that we could throw into a different room when we had to clear space to paint. At the same time I took over most of my personal fiction collection: wherever I lay my books, that’s my home; and indeed it was an indication of where my heart had begun to lie. Most recently, as we’ve bought an Ikea Ektorp sofa for the new place, it was only right that we took advantage of the opportunity to get rid of the futon sofa from our current one, to new owners who would value it.
That futon was originally acquired from Freecycle. Its owners posted it as needing bolts—they’d mislaid a box of them when packing it in their garage—and as such was clearly being avoided by other Freecyclers. There’s nothing that spoils free in the mind of the west Oxfordshire Freecycler like having to do a bit of repair. But moving into an unfurnished cottage meant that we needed a futon mattress for a bed, and that would do fine. So we leapt at the chance, were polite and obliging about taking it and the disassembled frame: and found to our surprise and joy that they’d hunted down the box of bolts by the time we arrived with our car seats down.
Now, in order to pass on the karma, we’ve given it to someone else in desperate need of furniture: a recently returned, quondam emigré and her husband. To be honest, it wasn’t particularly comfortable. The metal frame meant you couldn’t relax much on it, and futon material is quite uncompromising under the bum. We also had Ikea vouchers to spend, as discussed in tedious length elsewhere on this blog. And rather than see it end up in the skip (like so much we’ve tried and failed to Freecycle) we were genuinely glad, glad to the bottom of our heart, that it would be put to good use again.
But there’s now an emptiness in the living room where the sofa once was. We’ve put a rug down and some cushions, as if we’re trying to hide with a complicated Ideal-Home arrangement of cushions and ethnic throws a thing that isn’t actually there to be hidden. All in all it just adds to our desire to move, engendered both by what we’re moving to—a sturdy, sunny, well insulated terrace house with a cute garden—and from—a dark, damp, drafty, miserable end-of-terrace cottage, with water dripping from the ceiling below the shower, and suddenly nowhere comfy to sit.