The choice be­tween an­tique fur­ni­ture or cos­metic surgery is made


Ihave been buy­ing fur­ni­ture from an an­tique ware­house. A light ma­hogany lady’s wardrobe for me. A chunkier, darker ver­sion for the chief. A sort of old-fash­ioned his and hers. They are nicely solid. The crafts­man­ship is su­perb: brown in­laid with a honey-coloured wood; the in­sides lined with fab­ric. And guess what? They came for a song. Be­cause no-one wants old any more. It might be re­li­able and classy, but old is just so very yes­ter­day. A large pol­ished dark oak ta­ble that cost me a thou­sand pounds twenty years ago is now worth just two to three hun­dred. And that’s on a good auc­tion day. It’s such a shame. Es­pe­cially when you can see your face in it. The sad truth is that plod­ding Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian is out. And thrust­ing shiny pine, or oiled oak – at vast ex­pense, of course – is in. Any­thing made from metal and glass seems to be pop­u­lar. Or how about a flat-pack? Not that I’ve any­thing against th­ese of­ten use­ful cre­ations. One of the best kitchens I saw came f rom Ikea. The chief ’s of­fice is fur­nished courtesy of a sim­i­lar store. The thing is, how long will they last? And per­haps not so cheap when you have to bring in a joiner to put it all to­gether… No­body wants old any more. So a glance in the mir­ror makes me won­der whether a bit of work on the (old) face might soon

‘ It might be re­li­able and classy, but no-one wants old any more’

be in or­der. A new cos­metic clinic has opened in the lo­cal­ity and it guar­an­tees great things.

It prom­ises to send sags scur­ry­ing away. And it pledges to iron out rot­ten wrin­kles. Best of all, all this can be done whilst you’re wide awake. No hav­ing to go un­der the knife.

I think I would rather be detoxed than botoxed. Then there is the price. Hun­dreds of pounds a pop – which will, no doubt, have to be re­peated six months down the line when the cat-eyed ef­fects wear off.

Then per­haps it would be­come ad­dic­tive? Where would one stop? You could end up putting off that bath­room makeover to pay for per­sonal build­ing work.

‘We can make you look ten years younger,’ sounds en­tic­ing. But in this case I am a timid soul. Do I hon­estly need to be filled full of po­tions? Do I re­ally want fea­tures that are, well, propped up by in­jecta­bles?

The an­swer is: prob­a­bly – but not just yet… The mat­ter is fi­nally de­cided when trav­el­ling on a train. Op­po­site me is a woman with dark hair. She must be in her for­ties. Hon­estly, who can tell th­ese days?

She is an at­trac­tive soul. But her face is so ob­vi­ously full of filler. Cheeks have been plumped and lips are bee-stung swollen. Not a mus­cle moves on this glow­ing, un­lined vis­age. I watch fas­ci­nated as we whizz by.

In the mean­time, it is back to the (old) fur­ni­ture. And if I can give you a tip: now is the time to buy an old side­board. Now is the mo­ment to in­vest in a nine­teenth-cen­tury wal­nut dress­ing ta­ble. Or a boxy wooden bed­side cabi­net with brass knob. They will never be cheaper.

So get down to the an­tique cen­tre – the lo­cal one, not that place on Bond Street – and do some buy­ing.

Then, if you have a garage, stack the pur­chases care­fully, cover with a blan­ket, and wait for your in­vest­ment to grow. Which it will. Es­pe­cially when the flat-packs start to pack up. Be­cause the old ones are the best ones…

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