One becomes two

You never know what you might find in a property that you buy… our shop being a case in point. As well as loads of old suitcases in the loft (each one containing at least one smaller suitcase), some very dated pillowcases, a pair of “jeggings” (Mr Snail is still shuddering at the word), six dining chairs, a microwave oven, a desk, an engraved knife and some picture frames with broken glass, there was a big, free-standing broom cupboard with orange doors. Originally this was attached to the wall with a bracket, but it was freed from its shackles during the work day our friends helped with and has been looming over the upstairs room ever since.

On Tuesday this week, Sue (Going Batty in Wales) arrived with her friend Lindy to help out. Over coffee I mentioned how much I dislike this cupboard and asked for suggestions about how to dispose of it. Lindy, however, had much more vision than me and came up with the idea of splitting it into two… which she duly did. Of course, the horrid orange doors are still there, but those can be covered over (paint, decoupage, fabric) and actually, I may now have the beginnings of storage for the sewing machines… at least if we add stronger shelf supports. We could put a work surface between the two, using them as pedestals, so that we have a counter separating the two areas upstairs, which would be useful. I have to confess, that they are currently still unappealing to me, but I can see potential now and all this does fit with the make do and mend ethos of the shop.

Sue very generously offered to do some work at home for me, so she went off with one of the old dining chairs to have a go at making some sort of cover to hide the rather dirty and worn seat pads. Again, we are trying to minimise buying new and hoping that, by demonstrating what is possible, we will inspire others to have a go at improving what they already have. It would, of course, be much quicker just to go out and purchase all the things we need for the shop from Ikea, but this is so much more satisfying and environmentally friendly.

All hands

We are very lucky to have good friends… the sort of people who, when they offer to help, actually mean it. In recent weeks, Mr Snail has slowly been removing the partition wall upstairs in the shop and dismantling the old changing room downstairs. The latter seemed to have been over-engineered and was taking some serious work to get it apart. So, I put the call out and, on Saturday afternoon, four friends turned up to help… and one of them even brought her parents along too!

I had plans for keeping households separate on different jobs (covid, you know), but somehow that didn’t work out and everybody pitched in. In just one afternoon the dismantling was complete, a cupboard had been removed, a bookshelf had been sanded and partly painted (until the paint ran out) and paint had been stripped off the interesting sticky-out bits of concrete on the front of the shop (we have not the first clue what they might be called, but perhaps one of you knows). In addition, tea and coffee had been drunk and cake consumed.

Now we have a big heap of reclaimed timber with which to build a counter and it’s all construction from here on. The shelves we have been offered are ready to be collected (once the owner gets over his bout of covid), so a trip to Manchester is on the cards. It’s all very exciting, because it really feels like we are progressing towards actually being able to open the shop… I really do need to order the stock now for the mendery part of the shop.

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