Friday, 7 January 2022

A year in review: Furniture and fittings, part seven

This memorial contains almost a month’s worth of parts – though not all of ‘em are about my house! – and the post you’re reading is the fourteenth in the series. 

On5 May I drove to Newcastle to pick up the picture hanging gear from Mark’s sister’s place. The day before with Mark via Messenger I organised the pickup, feeling confident enough to suggest doing it myself, and in any case needing a trial run as in June I’d booked motel rooms in New England on account of an event I wanted to get to (I never went). 

The Newcastle trip was brief and a touch harrowing, especially on the way back when it bucketed down and drivers responded in sometimes dangerous ways; I just avoided being collected in the rear by a roaring semi-trailer when the motorist in front of me put on hazard lights, slowing down to 60km/hr in a 110km/hr zone. For the first time I used Northconnex with its disco lights and dull tunnel, the rain more sedate once I got back to Sydney and, as I put the rubbish bins back into the garage, I complacently chatted with Chris, a friend of Joe’s and a local resident. 

I SMS’d Beaumont about the boxful of things – some I’d seen before, but others were of a kind that were new to me and had me wondering if they were to be used with monofilament or with metal cable drops – and was told that the hooks with screws in them were old-fashioned devices he doesn’t recommend using as they wreck drops and are unreliable since they can slip if not sufficiently well-tightened. The lot also contained 24 monofilament drops I could use with the hooks I was buying at regular intervals on eBay. 

On Facebook Marketplace I listed the hooks I didn’t want and in July sold a packet full of them for $25 to a woman in Windradyne, in rural NSW. She paid for postage as well and used PayPal and, having mailed them on the Monday, see below the Australia Post delivery notification that came up when I used the QR code on the printed receipt I got from the sales clerk at Botany post office.

Including roughly $60 for road tolls plus $150 paid for the lot, out of the transaction I gained a substantial surplus and as I finished with value of well over $800 it was very much worth my while engaging with Richard and his wife. In October when, in order to find out the brand of the rails, I used Messenger to get back in touch with Diane, she replied after a short delay but couldn’t tell me the name of the maker. Beaumont told me that many companies manufacture them in different countries around the world and Diane just said hers were called “Click Rail Art Hanging System” and that she’d bought ‘em in Toowoomba. This didn’t help much but in January, when dealing with her and Richard, I’d known even less about what was on offer. Months later I reserved quiet moments to think how it’d all been perfect and silently congratulated myself on a gamble that paid off. When Ollie came over on 14 October to install the rails he expressed an idea that I’d gotten good value.

I was also happy when I made another outlay on 13 May after driving – again using satnav – to Coogee to get a towel rail I’d discovered on Facebook Marketplace to replace a bedside table I’d used in my walk-in wardrobe on which, at the end of each day before showering, I’d been in the habit of placing my trousers. Ming’d asked for the return of a small table from the middle room on the first floor that’d been left when she moved out, and my red table was to go in place of it. The towel rail cost $10 and I picked it up from the father of the owner (who, herself, was on the telephone when I rocked up in the RAV4), to whom I passed two $5 notes. Back in Botany, the wardrobe got the towel rail that’d originally been in the middle bathroom on the first floor, with the new one going into my shower recess.

On 20 May an email arrived with details of the amount owing on the couch, which I learned had arrived in the country. Sitting on the light rail in the CBD I read the message then called the store and left one of mine with the aim of having someone call me back as – due to problems the last time they’d asked for money – I wasn’t sure about the amount written on the invoice they’d just sent. When the staffer called back we sorted it out and it turned out this time that they’d not made a mistake, but that, in fact, I was about to. At home I transferred the required funds to a bank account they’d specified then contacted the removalists responsible for my January relocation, asking if they could pick up the couch and bring it over. 

On Saturday when visiting her house I offered a friend the old couch which, though gratefully accepted, finally fell into place as a done deal on Monday after a conversation on Messenger about the item’s age (14 years), original purchase price ($1100 plus twice having repair work done), and place of purchase (eBay). Money would, of course, change hands. 

Removalists booked on Tuesday the previous week brought the new purple couch to my place in Botany after, at around 1pm, calling me from the warehouse to get an order number so they could convince staff there to release it into their custody.

Once everything was in place (see above) I noticed colour coordinating the sofa with Stephen Deutscher’s ‘Ulmara Creek’, an oil-on-board Facebook Marketplace purchase that came to me when I’d driven out to Coogee to visit the seller’s house – or else the house of his or his wife’s parents (it wasn’t clear at the time I was there). The sofa took more effort to situate in the broad expanse of the living room with its ornate pink curtains. For a start it’d been packed for shipping in a strong wooden crate that Adam and Sia had to disassemble using a hammer (I fetched mine from the laundry) and a screwdriver (theirs was in the back of the truck). Adam initially wanted to use a crowbar, but I said I didn’t have one (who on earth keeps a crowbar at their house?). The men carried the old sofa from the living room and put it on the pavement outside the house, then after the new one was free of its covering they manoeuvred the heavy thing – Sia said it must weigh 100kg – so that it slid through the front gate and then carried it until (the two men breathing heavily and straining at every muscle) it hung in position over the rug I’d brought from the warehouse in March. With the sofa oriented sideways and held in their hands, Adam and Sia lowered it to the floor, flipped it onto its feet, lifted it again bodily into the air, and situated it as instructed so that I could arrange my legs between the mass of its wine darkness and the coffee table. 

By 2.30pm the two of them were on their way to my friend’s house and I phoned her to make sure she was ready to receive it since Sia’d said more money might be chargeable depending on how much time was needed for the delivery.

In the event none was and my friend called me just on 3pm to show me video of her and her dog. The sofa’d been brought into her living room and now sat in pride of place in front of the TV and she said the two of them were very happy with her new purchase. 

The crate ended up in the basement in my garage and got listed on Facebook Marketplace.

I was astonished by my new couch – see photo above – which makes me feel, while seated, as though I’ve been conveyed to the Topkapi Palace. To suitably elaborate the setting as well as to better use artworks in my collection on 12 June I brought down a portrait of my grandmother (done in 1981) from where, since December, it’d hung in the first-floor hallway. Its sharp acrylics (the first and only time I ever tried this medium) in colours – blue and maroon – making it match the couch. 

Blue in the portrait resonating with a slightly different blue in ‘Bondi’ (see above). I never went to Bondi with granny though mum used to drive me and my brother to Hall Street to buy school shoes. No memories of mine tie granny to the suburb or to the beach but the arrangement of the paintings seemed appropriate, especially as the red in the portrait matched the Deutscher landscape with its warm, muted palette.

At the same time on the opposite wall I put up a small photo of my son and daughter that’d been taken about eight years earlier (see below). This went above a linocut I’d made in my youth, the blue colour in the family snapshot matching colours in paintings nearby. 

This hang would change again not long afterward (regret hounds me as I didn’t note, for the record, the exact date the change was made) after I brought two drawings from the entranceway and hung them in the living room, removing small items from underneath the river scene and putting them on a wall out front near the street.

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