Okay, as anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know, I’m a pushover for a love story and, given the time of year, I have a little poser for you to help a young romantic swain. Let’s call him Romeo, to preserve his anonymity in case Juliet just happens to be reading…
I’m thinking about proposing (only thinking of it, R? Might want to make sure, eh…) and would like it to involve a couple of deck chairs (long story relating to an in-joke) Now, although I’m an Engineer, I don’t exactly have the best ‘hands on’ skills. I would however, ideally like to make the deck chairs myself, with a custom design etc.
Do you know of any small furniture or other artisan workshops in the area? The dream being that I could make friends and perhaps in return for weekend work or indeed a small fee, I’d have storage space and access to tools and perhaps some friendly advice on making the deckchairs. The other option I have considered would be buying some existing ones and customising them. I believe the Greenwich Adult Community college runs a Furniture restoration course which might be appropriate.
I like this idea, and it’s probably a good idea to be as vague as possible to give yourself the most options here, Romeo.
It’s possible there’s a friendly carpenter reads this blog, who might be up for taking a romantic rookie under their wing. I don’t know of any specifically.
You might try Stewart John, who restore antique furniture and make pieces to order. They used to have a store in the market place which always had a fabulous display of vintage chandeliers hanging from every inch of the shop – before they were driven out by the ridiculous rent hikes, yet another example of the quirky old places being given the boot by Greenwich Hospital, but I do remember once visiting their extensive workshops in one of those old buildings in Charlton/Woolwich. You could try giving them a call.
You’ve just missed the start of the Furniture restoriation course for beginners at Greenwich Community College but you might be able to join it late if you call them now.
You could see if there’s anyone at Cockpit Arts in Deptford who might be prepared to work with you – try the designer directory on the website.
Or there may be a Phantophile with a better suggestion. I’m always impressed with what people come up with here.
If you’re going to customise one, I wish there were some proper indie hardware stores round here that would sell basic deckchairs for you to customise, but the only sort you’ll get round here are of the designer-variety, which isn’t what you need if you’re going to rip it to pieces and gussy it up. There’s Gumtree or Ebay, of course but you might not want to look too cheap…
There’s one at Argos for £29.99 or, even better in Homebase for the same price – I say ‘even better’ because the Homebase in Kidbrooke has the friendliest, most helpful staff I’ve come across in any of the big sheds in the area, whereas everyone always seems depressed in Argos. Having said that I don’t know if they have any in-store – but at least they’ll be nice to you if you call them. The chairs are nice, plain ones that you could even just paint a message on if you’re not into all the woodwork stuff?
If all else fails and you just want a Greenwich-related one, there are some (frankly rather expensive) special editions for sale on the Royal Parks website, designed by Greenwich and Bromley pensioners, inspired by Greenwich Park last year.
Ah, young love…