When I was growing up in the 1950s the fashion in furniture favoured rather ornate “linen-fold” pieces in imbuia wood with ball-and-claw feet
Ever since I became interested in furniture design I have wished I could have met Queen Anne. I believe she is now on the Hollywood circuit, starring in a major film.
I never paid much attention to history at school, so I know very little about Queen Anne apart from the fact that a very curvy table leg has been named after her. And what a leg it is.
With legs like that Anne would have stunned the entertainment world, probably dancing with the likes of Fred Astaire. A little bow-legged, perhaps, but you can’t hold that against a lively girl. I only learned about Queen Anne legs rather late in life.
When I was growing up in the 1950s the fashion in furniture favoured rather ornate “linen-fold” pieces in imbuia wood with ball-and-claw feet.
As a lusty teenager I remember dancing to the records of Mantovani and his Singing Strings played on a radiogram in a stylish cabinet with ball and claw feet. (Ask your grandpa what a radiogram was.)
As a male of the human species I found the concept of ball and claw rather disturbing. I’ve always suspected it might have been a not-so-subtle “in” joke among women, who were, after all, the ones who actually chose the furniture. I don’t think men realised what the symbolism was until it was too late to do anything about it.
We’re stuck with balls and claws to this day.
Some years ago I was visiting a friend in Stellenbosch, who was looking after a little dachshund that kept escaping from her garden.
Once we went looking for the dog and asked a local street sweeper whether he had seen it. Yes he had, he said, and described it in typical “Cape” Afrikaans as “So ’* lang kortetjie met furniture voete,” loosely translated as: “A long short one with furniture feet.”
Obviously furniture feet in his mind meant ball and claw and I’ve regarded all dachshunds since then as having furniture feet.
Next time you see a sausage dog check its feet and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
This weekend I’ll be celebrating St Patrick’s Day with my Irish friends, and I hope some of the merriment and good spirit spills over on to all the readers of this column, Irish or not.
In England the “Irish Backstop” seems to be causing the Brexiteers some bother right now. Fortunately none of this seems to worry us here in the south, so we will drink green beer, wear our green hats and party the night away as usual.
St Patrick’s Day is one of my favourite festivals. I usually meet a few leprechauns on my way home, and once a porcupine. But never any snakes.
The lion and the puff adder were relaxing one evening and the puff adder asked: “So, how was your day, Lion?”
“Great. Since I got these contact lenses I haven’t missed a single kill.”
“Wow. Maybe I should get some too,” said the snake.
A week later the lion asked, “How was your day, Snake?” “Great! Since I got contact lenses my love life has improved wonderfully.”
“Your love life?”
“Yeah. I’ve been living with a garden hose for two years.”