So Near, So Far…
I grew up in a small village in the Norfolk countryside. For many years my Dad was the local doctor. We grew up in a big house with a rambling garden – and a family sitting room with a comfy sofa to curl up on. Then, my Dad upped sticks and moved to Libya. Mum, in some attempt to keep the family together, insisted we kept our home as it was – somewhere to go back to during the school and university holidays and somewhere for them to return to.
It never quite worked. I know we often used the house without my parents being around and I know that mum would constantly complain about coming home to find the dishwasher full of mouldy plates and pans, stagnating laundry in the washing machine and no food at all in the cupboard.
We used to spend the first few days of their homecoming in a state of a family feud. We’d got used to having no adults around, staying up as late as we wanted and generally running wild. They had arrived home with rose tinted spectacles, expecting a pristine country cottage with clean, smiling children greeting them at the door. The reality involved a lot of slammed doors and angry words. As a result I have very few family photos in the UK – this is a rare picture of us all outside in the garden.
In the middle of the living room at home, there was a large, farmhouse sofa which mum had bought from an auction sale. I remember it vividly though I can’t find a single photo. It arrived in tatters and I’d helped mum make the loose covers (Sanderson linen union). That involved all sorts of pattern making from the old covers, boiling the cording up and endless French seams.
The final result was rather grand and, with the two mother and father matching armchairs, the whole family could sit around the woodburner in the evening. It was the sort of place where we’d all cuddle up and the inevitable family tensions would vanish.
Although I do remember we’d argue about who sat in the middle. An ongoing issue – we argued about who went in the middle in the car, on the sofa, when we were having our photos taken and even when we were travelling. From a practical point of view there are far more options today – if I had three kids, I’d be looking at at DFS Sofas for one of those corner sofas, with matching footstool, so that snuggling up was easier.
Now, I have a house of my own and a sofa of my own. I have to admit, it looks very like the one I remember from my childhood, although it’s covered in a William Morris velvet and I haven’t yet got chairs to match. Instead, my sofa is definitely made for two…it sits right in front of the fire and is the perfect place to curl up in the evening and listen to music or watch the TV. Throughout my adult life, I’ve gone through various iterations of sofas. But, they’ve always been in that country cottage style – even though I live in the heart of London.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by DFS. All content is editorially given.