So much for that new blogging leaf, right? But anyhow, lots of catching up to do and we’ll begin as ever with that titan of domestic anecdote, Mr Litlove. Have I ever told you how lucky Mr Litlove is? I promise you, it is quite galling. Let me give you a brief example: one evening a couple of years ago, he was headed down to London for the evening, which meant leaving the office in especially good time. He did not do this, surprise, surprise, texting me from the back of a taxi with a mere ten minutes before his train left the station, still needing to cover a good ten-to-fifteen minute journey and buy his ticket. But did he miss that train? Oh no. He then texted me from it – the train had been delayed by a perfect ten minutes. This is the sort of thing that happens regularly. The other morning he left early to marshal rowing races on the Cam in cold, drizzly weather. But when he came home to change into his kit to take part in his own race, the clouds parted and the sun shone. ‘You have the luck of the devil,’ I told him. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but I’ve got to stop wasting it on things that benefit everyone when I’m going to have special need of it for my own ventures in the next few years.’
Ah, and never was a truer word spoken, as he’s been pushing that luck of his to the limit lately. He’s certainly been pushing it with me. January was full of little incidents. He handed me my plate of lunch, for instance, not noticing that it was garnished with the plaster that had been holding his blackened nail onto his finger. And then he was forced to admit that the local paper I had been carefully hoarding – it had a great map of all the new housing developments in our area, with average prices, that I thought was perfect for marketing his furniture – had been inadvertently used by him to light the fire in the sitting room. And then we decided to go to the university library together in my car. My poor old car is rather elderly now and the battery has been dodgy for months. ‘It’ll be fine!’ said Mr Litlove, and I was idiot enough to believe him. So we went to the library, he dropped me at the main doors to return our books and was supposed simply to turn around and wait for me to emerge a minute or two later. But Mr Litlove saw a parking spot, and indeed they are rare at the library. So he parked the car… and turned the engine off. Well, the moment I went through the revolving doors, I knew what would happen. I’ll cut a long story – and a comedy of errors – short by saying that eventually Mr Litlove accosted two students who helped give me a push start. But you can see that he was living on the edge.
So, Mr Litlove attends an upholstery class that is straight out of a Joanna Trollope novel on Thursdays in term time. This means that every week, as Thursday nears, he frets about whether the foam/upholstery fabric/haberdashery supplies are going to arrive in the post in time for class. It’s worth fretting because every week Mr Litlove relies on his sterling luck by ordering his supplies far too late. This week in point was especially time-sensitive because Mr Litlove had decided to make a heart-shaped chair for Valentine’s Day. We’d ordered a lot of fabric samples in pinks and roses and raspberries but when it came to it, Mr Litlove felt that this was a chair crying out for risks to be taken. And so he went for bling, a brilliant copper-red crushed velvet the colour of a flame. Every day he watched the post, anxious for its arrival, and every day his hopes were dashed. The frame of the chair was ready, Mr Litlove was ready, and if his material didn’t arrive, Valentine’s Day would have been and gone by the time the next class rolled around, and the moment would have passed.
On the day of the class, Mr Litlove sat disconsolately on the end of the bed (I was eating my breakfast in it), sending out texts on his phone to his rowing mates, organising some sort of alpha male contest. He was wondering what he could possibly do in class, as there was nothing else in his workshop ready to be upholstered other than his heart-shaped chair. ‘Well, well,’ I said. ‘I can’t quite believe that you are being forced to suffer an inconvenient situation that’s arisen as a direct result of your own foolishness. Welcome to my world!’
And then there was a knock at the door.
Mr Litlove abandoned his text about macho activities and leapt to his feet crying, ‘My fabric! My fabric!’
(I will never get used to this.)
But no, from the sound of his footsteps climbing the stairs as he returned, I could tell that he was not a happy bunny. He entered the bedroom with only one square package in his hand. ‘It’s a book for you,’ he said sourly. Then, just as I was forming a good, pithy moral about planning and efficiency to deliver to him, there was another knock at the door. Mr Litlove ran back downstairs…. and this time his return had a marked skip in the step. ‘She was only playing with me!’ he declared. ‘She missed this package the first time around.’
And so the luck of Mr Litlove held good. Though when he opened his parcel and revealed the fabric, we had to hide our eyes momentarily. ‘What have we done?’ I wondered. Below is the finished article. I think it’s the sort of chair that the Queen of Hearts would sit on in Alice in Wonderland.
‘Darling, this is your Valentine’s Day present from me,’ said Mr Litlove when he’d finished it, and I thought how sweet that was after all those little incidents. ‘Unless I get a really good offer for it,’ he added.
Who says romance is dead?
Well, as ever Mr Litlove takes up far more words than I expect him to and there is no space in this post now for my news. Hopefully I can write a part 2 in not too many days. (Though they may be famous last words.) But be warned – Mr Litlove gets Lewis Carroll, and I get the Brothers Grimm when it comes to recounting tales.
Wonderful chair, and I do love to hear about Mr. Litlove. And I hope you’re ok and the stories we have to come from you are not too awful…!
I was too spoilt for choice with Mr Litlove stories, really! As for my own, I have finally got around to posting them. I MUST come visit your site, Karen, as I’m longing to hear your news!
Lots of love and hugs for both of you. Apologies to Mr L for not replying to him sooner, please ask him to look out for something relevant to our project before Monday morning! P x
Oh never worry! It’s fine for you to take all the time you need. Hugs back to you, and hope you’re doing great. xx
The luck of the devil, indeed, and what a chair!
Hasn’t he just?? And the chair is indeed quite something!
Good story, great chair …. unless I get a really good offer indeed!
Ha! I know!
I have asked my husband to read this like IMMEDIATELY. He is EXACTLY like this. Trains wait, sun comes out, and he just keeps on getting his own way! 😛 Anyhoo, that chair actually looks quite good!
Well solidarity, sister! It’s annoying and admirable at the same time. 🙂 Do you think they were separated at birth?
I ADORE that chair. It is entirely the sort of thing the Queen of Hearts would perch on. Does it have a matching footstool?!
Now it’s funny you should say that, as Mr L. has been making footstools lately too. I will pass that onto him as an excellent idea (and thank you for making him happy!).
Can you sprinkle a bit of his good luck fairy dust in my direction? These moments seem never to happen to me 🙂
Me neither! I promise you, if I find a way to bottle it, I’ll post some to you. 🙂
That is an entirely and originally beautiful Valentine’s present and might perhaps make up for not having the luck of Mr L, just a little?
Oh indeed it does. Though if I got a really good exchange offer for luck on it….. 😉
Glad you got a book along with his fabric. I should think that it would be convenient to be partnered with someone who has that kind of luck. I would rub elbows with Mr. Litlove at every opportunity. (Literally, because I think it’s funny and friendly to rub elbows with people.)
The chair is quite fanciful.
I am so going to try rubbing elbows with Mr L. He’s a bit taller than me, and I worry he might inadvertently elbow me into next week, but it’s definitely worth a try. Fanciful is a good word.
Wow, taht is absolutely the Queen of Hearts’ chair!
Thank you! I think so too!
Beautiful chair. Striking. Definitely Queen of Hearts. And luck of the devil indeed. 🙂
Thank you, Pete. Your girls are approaching exactly the right age for this kind of thing, I’d imagine! And oh, if I could bottle him and sell him, I would. 🙂
I laughed out loud when I got to the end of this story. Dear me, what it must be like to have that kind of luck. Hooray for Mr. Litlove, and the chair looks wonderful! Neither the lucky last-minute delivery nor the beautiful finished chair product would ever happen to me. :p
Me neither! I do witness these events with awe. But I am delighted you like the chair (and Mr L will be too – he just adores a compliment). If I find a way to bottle him, I will be sure to send you supplies. 🙂
Oh this all made me laugh! I can see how his luck must be a bit trying now and then especially since it doesn’t quite seem to extend to include you. And what a chair! Has he gotten an offer on it or do you get to be Queen of Hearts?
I am still the Queen of Hearts at the moment, and I have so far resisted the temptation to say ‘Off with his head!’ Which is great, admittedly. 🙂 It’s my birthday coming up – do you think Mr L will give me some of his luck as a present??? I wouldn’t say no!
I do hope you get to really keep the chair and that you do like the color–it is really lovely I think–very pleasing to the eye. Having a husband like that would annoy me to no end (as in his luck!), but it does give you very good writing material! Now if it were Me trying to catch the train–not only would I totally miss the train but the next would be delayed by hours! So happy to see your post here and next time (hopefully soon) you have to give your news!
Yup, I’d be sitting on that empty station too! He is quite galling, but you are so right – the stories ARE good. 🙂 It was so lovely to get your email! Thank you! I’m at the end of my computer time today but I am so writing to you tomorrow – watch out for me arriving in your inbox. 🙂
A most excellent and amusing read! That’s like me, ordering or organising things too late, although I am not nearly as lucky.
The chair looks most impressive and a lovely present (too keep, I hope.)