Today is our shopping day so I set the alarm to ensure I was up early and shopped by 9.00am which all went very smoothly. Last night, having just acquired and given a treatment of furniture polish to my newly acquired piano stool, I decided to Google to discover what was the best treatment might be for vintage and antique furniture. ‘En passant’ I have discovered that the term ‘vintage’ is applied to furniture which is at least 40 years old whilst ‘antique’ referes to furniture at least a century old. But the two terms are often loosely applied and used interchangeably. I did run across one website, admittedly written by a professional who had a vested interested in selling his own brand of superior beeswax, which was extremely informative. This expert argued that application of oil-based furniture sprays was nearly always a waste of time and could make matters worse rather than better in the long run. The solution to renovation was in three steps as follows. The first of these steps is to wash the piece with some drops of washing up liquid in a pail of warm water and to immediately dry off with a towel. The second stage seems counter-intutive but goes as follows. One needs a supply of grade ‘0000’ steel wool which is actually incredibly fine and this is then ‘charged’ i.e. loaded with some beeswax preparation. The polish-laden steel wool is then carefully applied to the surface to be treated and then left for about 20-25 minutes. The theory behind all of tbis is that practically all of the polish is applied to the wooden surface – any other system would have the polish soaking into the surface of the cloth if you were choosing to use a cloth in this way. It is then particularly important that about 20-25 minutes is left for the beeswax to harden and to soak in. The expert comments that most people get things wrong at this stage by putting on a cheap oil-based furniture polish and then immediately wiping it off before the polish has had a chance to do its work. The third and final stage requires a buffing with a cotton-rich fine weave cloth applying the minimum of pressure. The idea here is to minimise any heat and to ‘polish’ the very top layer of the beeswax polish deployed leaving the reminder of the applied polish to penetrate the wood, preferable in the direction of the grain. If all of these procedures are performed as detailed, then according to the expert the piece of furniture so polished should be good for up the next five years. Certainly the demonstration on the video clip looked extremely convincing but the author suggests that only the best quality of beeswax should be used and here the prices are generally beyond the point at which people feel it is worth buying the product. I recounted this story at length to our friends wondering if had any similar experience with older furniture. He, in turn, recounted to me how his experience as an electrical engineer had helped him to repair an induction hob that had suddenly gone ‘bang’ He also told us about the ‘Men in Sheds’ venues in the locality which encourages men of a certain age to join with others to repair and create as the spirit moves them.
This afternoon, Meg and I had a scheduled lunch date in deepest Worcestershire at a farm shop and restaurant neat Evesham. The SatNav did an excellent job in guiding us to the spot and we arrived there two minutes before the appointed time. We sat outside with our friends who had brought their dog along on the understanding that he would be allowed to accompany us. Meg and I had a wonderful beef stew which was incredibly tender and tasty and although served with some crusty bread, we minimised our consumption of this to keep our carbohydrate count down. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours or more with plenty of free-flowing conversation and one of our friends went up to purchase some coffee but surprised and delighted us all by arriving with portions of cake that doubled up as sweet. We could well have lingered for a long time in the farm shop as they had a magnificent collection of spices and delicattessen type goods, all of which looked very tempting particularly is one was tempted to buy as a treat for a special occasion. We had a very pleasant drive home but the temperature had climbed quite a lot since this morning so we treated ourselves to a bowl of vanilla icecream. Later on we shall treat ourselves to ‘Today at the Test’ hoping that the traditional mid-order English batting collapse does not occur.