Good Furniture

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I never thought about how sturdy furniture has to be until I started to demolish a couch. Why demolish it? It came into the house through the good work of two wonderful movers – a guy and a woman who worked wonders. I actually wrote a poem about the miracles these people performed. It’s on this blog in the distant past posts and you can have a look if you search for Moving a Washing Machine. I need to get this couch out of my house now because I bought what I know is a much inferior couch. The feature that sold me, however, is that it converts to a bed for when my grandkids visit.

People have tried to get this couch out of my house before to no avail. My little duplex was built in 1960 when furniture was not mammoth and on occasion I have even had to take out the living room windows to get other  pieces in or out. The last time was just after a raging snowstorm and my miracle workers had to wade through two feet of snow with my mother’s antique sofa. The legs of antique sofas do not come off. The prospect of taking those windows out again – and worse – getting them back in properly was not to be considered so through the doors we must go.

My 15 year old grandson and his best friend agreed to carry the darned thing out to the curb if I could be sure it would fit. Hence the need to bash the legs off. Easier said than done. When I bought this couch in the 1980’s (God, how old am I?) it was a high ticket item. Over the years I had it reupholstered and to be honest, it has held up well. After wrestling with it today I understand why.

Four legs – four blocky pieces of wood well upholstered and attached to the frame by nails, screws and staples had to come off! Screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer and most important a steely determination to get those damned legs off the sofa – – and still it took me two hours. The boots? well after the first block of wood  flew off unexpectedly and landed alarmingly close to my bare toes, I figured I’d better put on my version of construction boots.

What really surprised me was how sturdy this sofa really is. I am sure the replacement one will not be half as good. However, it was painlessly paid for with money collected  from a cash-back credit card I have been using for two years (plug for Tangerene here) and the kids will sleep better.

Too bad I have forgotten the name of the maker of my old faithful. I remember I paid a lot of money and bought it in Ogilvy’s. I’m sure it’s the only thing I ever bought in there!

In this throw-away era it was somehow satisfying to discover that my furniture was really well made. It took knowledge and skill to make that sofa. But brute force and a stubborn attitude won the day!

 

At Last

Today in my garden.

HARD SPRING

Spring in Montreal

is a breech birth.

We can feel it coming.

We can feel the earth groaning,

absorbing the ice and snow

of months of frigid darkness.

The sun, it’s warmth

no longer faint, fickle, theoretical,

coaxes, wheedles the first snowdrops, crocuses.

These are never picked.

Now come the shoots of daffodils and tulips

and grass, that universal miracle

appears.

The sound of hardy birds, but still not a leaf.

A few closed buds along a twig

and heavy rain – the waters breaking

cold and painful.

The brave yellow blooms

stand against a meager unkind frost one night

and then, sap drips from a vine

and the whole city knows

a long warm day

with magnolias, pink or white like waxy cups or earth

stars opening on the leafless branches.

The moon rises soft and silvery

over the city blessed by newborn Spring.

 

poem from ” Northern Compass” available on Amazon

 

 

 

Homesick for my garden

 

  
How strange to be homesick for a grey sky. I was under an unfailing blue sky for months this winter – never shovelled a flake of snow, didn’t have to battle ice like my dear friends and relatives here in Montreal. Yet, in April I got restless. I longed to hear the sound of geese returning, to see frail green shoots breaking through the wet cold ground of my little garden. The Spanish camellia bush full of pink blossoms was impressive. The purple bougainvillea tumbling over a wall made a great photo op.  Yet, the yellow mimosa made me long for forsythia. Yes, there is nothing like the humble snowdrop to make you realize how strength resides in the delicate things. The crocus that is the first draw to bees is a sign of hope. How can the victory be worth anything if there was no battle.

The downside is that I have a very ambitious fritillaria  that is almost ready to bloom and I heard rumours of sleet tonight. Time to make a little newspaper had for my darlings that waited so faithfully for me.

Mysteries – Do you know?

OK this is my week for asking my readers questions. I am posting a few pictures that have me scratching my head. One is of a tile depicting a saint – well, he has a halo! He seems to have a falcon on his hand as he rides his horse. Any idea who he is? Then there is a weird rock formation. The picture was taken looking at a cliff face. Obviously water has worn a channel down the rock but I wonder why it is that pink color. Next is a lovely plant that is blooming everywhere.  Is it Mimosa? Finally, this machine on the beach had me puzzled. I presume it is to haul boats up the beach but ….is that a car engine? Curiouer and curiouser as Alice would say!

Mystery plant

Those of my readers who love plants will know the frustration one experiences on finding a plant and having no idea what it is. Perhaps someone out there knows? It is shown here at the end of March in a mountain environment in Spain. So, it is able to thrive in cold snowy mountains and very hot summers. Please comment if you know what it is. Thanks

Spring morning in the Sierra Nevada

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Alpujarras Region of Spain 

Legions of hills and beyond, mountains stretch along the horizon. Large cumulous clouds lie above – mighty emperors reclining on rocky couches. Near our little cabin sits  a terraced farmers plot. Almond blossoms of white  and of a shocking neon pink bless a chicken coop. A yellow and white cat treads along a narrow plank between the coop and a grassy bank. Her own private bridge?

The sun is direct and hot even at an early hour but it is easily vanquished by the mountain breeze. We can hear many nesting birds, little finches, quite a flock of what look like large house sparrows, robins and this morning – a story-book pair of blackbirds. Their feathers glossy, their beaks sun yellow.

They fluttered about their business, tilting their broad fan-like tails upon alighting on a branch.

The dog barked and pulled on the lead and it was time to go back to coffee on the terrace.