Dorothy shrieked and leapt
from her armchair.
She and her husband stared
at the offending item of furniture and noted the
sharp metal point of a fractured spring
protruding through the fabric of the seat.
Its time to get
new furniture, concluded George, surveying
their front room.
Familiarity with the
surroundings had obscured their antiquity. The
springs sudden emergence brought the other
torn material and damaged woodwork into sharp
We cant afford
it, said Dorothy. Thirty years ago,
when we bought all this stuff, we were in our
sixties. We thought it would see us out.
She tutted. We havent got the money
to replace it, now.
There may be a way,
said George. You know that store they
advertise on the telly that builds furniture to
your own specifications?
What about it?
Well, they offer five
years free credit and then four more years to pay.
He counted on his fingers. Im ninety-five,
so if we buy it all in my name, I might be dead
before any payments need to be made. Im
certainly not likely to last for the whole
repayment period, so there shouldnt be any
need to pay the lot.
They want ten percent
deposit, noted Dorothy, and,
she glanced around the room, wed have
to find cash to get this lot taken away.
George thought for a moment,
then stood up and left the room. He returned with
What are you going to
do with that? enquired his wife.
Ah ha, he
replied, starting to saw six inches off a leg of
the coffee table. Dorothy watched as he removed a
similar length from the other three legs.
We can burn this furniture and fund the
deposit from the money we save on coal,
George announced, placing one of the leg off-cuts
onto the fire.
dear, concluded Dorothy. Although
well need to keep using it all until we can
order the new stuff.
Thats why I cut
the same length off each table leg, said
George, tapping his nose to emphasise his cunning.
We can stand things on it for a while yet.
The following weeks
required increasing ingenuity by Dorothy and
George to sustain an adequate winter fuel supply
while retaining a practical level of domestic
functionality. Regular discussions as to which
remaining parts of which items were most
expendable, however, afforded opportunities to
consider furniture design in an exceptionally
detailed and discerning manner.
dont want arms on the sofa, said
Dorothy to the salesman at the furniture
warehouse. Its much more comfortable
to lie out and put your feet over the end.
and we want
the armchairs with front legs one inch shorter
than the back legs, insisted George.
It makes it so much easier to get out of
and no doors
on the cupboards, continued Dorothy.
Theres no point in having the bother
of opening and closing them.
and legs no
more than two inches long on the occasional
tables, remembered George. Theyre
hugely more versatile if you can use them on your
lap, too. George inspected a shelving unit.
Is this wood well seasoned? he asked
Of course, sir. Why
do you ask?
George winked at Dorothy.
Oh, just in case we have a particularly