It was a very dull and gloomy day and when it was not actually raining, it was threatening to rain. So Meg and I did not get up particularly early and it took us a certain amount of time to get ourselves going. We knew that we had a ‘luncheon’ date with our Irish friends down the road at midday so we did not rush about unduly but after we had our post breakfast cup of tea, we decided to go out onto the road somewhat early to do a little shopping before alighting on our friends. We set off about 45 minutes early and first sailed by our local newsagents thinking that they might not be open and they were, indeed, closed. We then made our way to the furniture store called ‘New Start‘ where there is always a collection of furniture and household items, either donated (as we have done in the past) or available for sale. Now that I have brought my IBM ThinkPad into commission in our Music Room, I felt the need for a more substantial dining-room type chair which I could use to seat me at my new little workstation. When I got to the store, my eye alighted on a couple of ‘bowed’ chairs a little similar but of inferior quality to the captain’s chair I restored recently. Buut I did not need two chairs but only one so I rejected this option and was on the point of leaving when I espied a single dining room chair with what seemed to be a leather seat and back which I thought would suit. But the chair looked superficially in poor condition because the leather on the seat seemed to be full of heavy boot print marks where staff in the store had evidently stood upon it to pile up other furniture on top of each other (it is that kind of store) Nonetheless, I asked a price and was offered it for a tenner and the staff very kindly took it out and put it in the car for me. They had no change for a £20 note in the store so I consulted the contents of my little purse in which I store loose change and discovered that I actually actually had the tenner in loose change which somehow made it appear more affordable for me but more of that later.
We got to our friends just about on time and were especially pleased to be joined by another near neighbour who is a French widow but extraordinarily lively. For example she is still driving everywhere and even had to leave our little impromptu meal in order to go off and do a bit of teaching in Spanish for an old friend of some 20 years duration who she does not even bother to charge for her time. Our friends thought that in view of the abysmal weather, it was not appropriate to give us sandwhiches for lunch so she had cooked a cottage pie for us which was both wonderful and welcome. This was finished off with cheese and then a delicious homemade desert and coffee so we felt that we had a really wonderful time with our friends. Meg was starting to feel the strain a little although our friends are incredibly thoughtful and kind so we returned home in the mid afternoon knowing that we would all be inviting each other into our respective homes in the course of the forthcoming festive season.
Upon our return home, I got Meg settled and then gingerly removed the dining chair from the back of the car. In the course of removing it, I noticed a label which indicated it was of Italian manufacture but also the seat and front/back were 100% leather materials. On getting the chair inside the house and subjecting it to a more minute examination, I noticed that there was a slight smattering of minute paint drops on the seat and back, of the sort that might happen if you were painting the ceiling and had not adequately covered up the furniture beforehand. I did a query on the web with the search term of ‘removing paint spots from leather seats’ and discovered that this is by no means a rare phenomenon. The advice ranged from how to cope with water-based paint drops (just washing up liquid in solution),to a vinegar treatment and finally what the Americans called rubbing alcohol for more severe oil-based paint droplets. I tried the simplest solution first of a bowl of hot water with a good squirt of washing up liquid applied using a spontex type sponge and was delighted that this simple approach seemed to do the trick for me. Later on tonight, I might give it a further treatment and then having exploited the contents of our cupboards, a treatment with some leather preservative which I was fortunate enough to have in stock. After I had got Meg to bed, I could not resist the temptation to utilise the specialist leather spray I had found (going by the name of ‘Leather Silk‘). I have got to to say that the results were absolutely stunning and it is hard to believe the transformation that has been wrought. I wish now that I had taken a ‘before’ photograph so that I could take an ‘after’ photo to show how dramatically the chair has been improved. A quick search on eBay shows me that similar items in ‘faux’ or PU-leather(i.e. leather substitutes and not genuine leather like this one) would sell for about 5-7 times the price that I actually paid for it. This brings the total of items I have restored and/or given a new lease of life to 6 in the last few months.