Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homemade furniture

My title is wrong. What I want to talk about is not exactly home-made, but rather home-designed, furniture. For example, I love reading in bed of an evening, before going to sleep. And this means that I need an ideal lamp, which can be oriented in such a way that it lights up my book but doesn't shine in my eyes. It's not exactly the same problem as computer lighting, which I've solved ideally by means of fluorescent U-tubes of the following kind:

This solution doesn't work well for reading in bed, because the lamp head can't be swiveled as much as one would like. So, I set out to find an ideal solution.

Parenthesis. To my mind, bedtime activities of all kinds are tremendously important. Personally, I'm afraid I seem to have moved beyond the stage of sexual gymnastics, unfortunately, for want of female partners in the Vercors wilderness. Half an hour ago, my lovely young neighbor Alison astonished me (I'm still under the shock) by revealing spontaneously that she sleeps with her dog Pif (which, incidentally, explains a hell of a lot of things), but that's not exactly what I had in mind when talking of bedtime activities. What I'm thinking about, precisely, is the possibility of snuggling into bed with a fine book by Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene, Steven Pinker, etc. Don't quote me as saying that it's better than sex. But almost...

Above all, I needed a bedside table. And I soon decided that the best solution (I've already adopted this approach for my computer desk) consisted of asking an expert tradesman to build me the steel frame of the ideal table.

Cost = 55 euros. Next, I needed a couple of walnut slabs. That's the point at which the design of furniture became a splendid quest for authenticity. I soon located a timber mill alongside the mysterious tiny village of Albenc, known to Nostredamus, described in my article of 10 October 2007 entitled Intriguing tourist [display]. I purchased an aged slab of walnut. Cost = 30 euros. I now await the cabinet-maker's trivial invoice for two finished walnut shelves. What I'm trying to say is that designing one's custom-made furniture can be—in the case of a simple bedside steel-and-walnut structure—an exhilarating low-cost experience... with warm repercussions, after effects, every time you snuggle into bed with a good book.

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