One of the many items on The List was to get Niall a desk. Mind, we had a desk the first couple years we were married. It was inexpensive and looked it, but worked. And it never got used. Niall spent so much time "working" from the sofa that he sprained a muscle. (I'm serious.) After moving the cheap desk three times I finally shipped it off to the US (long story, but there was method to my madness and it didn't cost us anything) and then took it to get donated when we visited Utah last summer.
I was not about to get another pressed wood desk just to have Niall "work" from the sofa.
Lately, however, Niall has insisted that he's desperate for a desk. Our budget was 25 pounds and it doesn't go far. For over a month I kept getting outbid on ebay, checking the "Desk-Cardiff" feed I set up on gumtree.com and hitting up the charity shops on a regular basis. No luck.
What I did find were frames that would work for all of Niall's degrees.
And a frame for the print Niall got from the steam railroad. (Did you know he's kind of obsessed with trains?)
We kept looking for a desk. I was not going to get another fake wood one, just to ship it off to America as well. But Niall insisted he had to have one, and said I needed to lower my expectations. (Given the ones I was outbid on were going for 3 figures.)
And then, magic! Monday morning my Vienna reader told me a wooden desk was for sale in Cwmbran for 12 pounds. No picture, but I didn't care. I contacted the seller and made arrangements to pick it up. It was a 30 minute drive, but worth it. Somehow I managed to cram the desk into our little hatchback along with the baby and myself and get home safely.
Niall and I carried the desk upstairs (even with his bum knee, I guess he really is desperate for this desk.) It smelled a bit of smoke and wet dog. And it was banged up. But it's a lovely hardwood, and nice and deep.
I cleaned it with water and wood soap. Then rubbed it with steel wool and boiled linseed oil (the combination works wonders, I tell you!), then let it sit. A few hours later I rubbed it with cotton (or with an old sock, if you will). Then polished the handles with Brasso. (I wanted to replace the handles but Niall vetoed the idea.) I found a little tag saying the desk was made in Worcestershire.
I wanted to refinish the top but Niall said he likes it just how it is and needs it NOW. So I put it together and it's sitting in the loft. It smells fine. It's waiting to be used. Maybe someday it will get a proper desk chair.
But only if Niall will actually use it.