A different kind of emptiness

Thursday September 14, 2006

Having been dragged kicking and screaming to Office World today, I gave in finally and bought myself a new office chair. The old one gave up the ghost shortly before we left Lincolnshire, having served me well for a handful of years, and since moving here I’ve been using my good old rocking chair—comfortable and attractive, but too low for protracted use at the desk.

“Gosh!” I said. “Will you look at the price of it!”

“You won’t get this kind of quality for less,” Graham insisted.


The new chair


So I gulped, and pulled out the plastic, Graham lugged the box over to the check-out, and the deal was done. In no time the box was stowed in the back of the car, where it’s going to have to stay until Sunday.

“Don’t you dare try to move it,” Graham said. “It’ll do no harm where it is, and I’ll be home Sunday to set it up for you.”

“No problem. At 23.5kg it’s way over my lifting limit.”

“Absolutely. If I weren’t used to moving beer barrels about it’d be more than I’d want to tackle without a sack barrow.”

And so, it sits there, covered with a tarpaulin against prying eyes, and I shall remain content in my rocking chair until Sunday. I can be patient when the need arises.

Actually, the price was not as bad as I’d expected. The cost of these items has dropped steadily over the past few years and is now approximately one-half what it was when I researched for the last chair. It was by far the most comfortable chair they had, with all kinds of ergonomic features. I knew it was the right one for me the moment I plonked my backside onto the leather. Not a twinge from the coccyx and my back fell into optimum working posture immediately. It’s billed as The most comfortable seat in the house™ and, for once, the hype matches the product. And, unlike many other purchases, I know that I’ll have full value of it, day after day, until it wears out and needs to be consigned for recycling just like the last one.

The trip from Bridgwater to the out-of-town retail park in Taunton had taken a lot less time that we’d expected, so we had a couple of hours free.

“Coffee?” I ventured.

“Good idea.”

It was darn good coffee, enjoyed under the ancient beams in Caffe Nero while watching the young Goths parade in and out, and wondering what the good people of Taunton sitting here would have thought of them back when their major concern was reconciling themselves to the execution of a king.

The journey over to West Quantoxhead was speedy, too, even the stretch through the winding lane across the foothills through Weacombe and down to St Audries. This follows a narrow, wooded gully where autumn has started work already. Fallen leaves line both sides of the lane, golden and crisp, and the trees are changing colour. As we passed, gaps in the hedges revealed view after stunning view of the Quantocks glowing in a perfect early evening sunshine. I kicked myself for leaving my camera at home and missing the chance of a few good landscape shots.

And then, after a short break in the caravan while Graham got himself ready for work, I drove home alone, along the coast road, to a house that is significantly changed by dressed windows but which felt emptier than it has since we walked through the front door on completion day. A different kind of emptiness.


Dressed windows; curtains to follow later


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