Once upon a time, two years ago, Steve and I were on the lookout for a couch. I’d just moved from Sydney back to our flat in Melbourne, our former housemate Nic had moved out with his couch, Steve and I were about to get married, and there was a big space in our living room needing a cosy piece of furniture on which to snuggle up and watch telly or read a book. If it could double as a guest bed for friends, even better. We had a bit of a look on the internet, and kept our eye on the local op-shop, which often has great second hand furniture, but so far nothing had really taken our fancy.
One day, I was over at my friend Jane’s house having coffee. Somehow, sitting in her sunny back room, we got on to the topic of the empty spot in our lounge room. ‘Well,’ said Jane with a grin, ‘I did see Guy putting a couch out in the back lane yesterday. You should take a look.’ Jane’s next door neighbour is Guy Pearce, movie star and musician – you might know him from The King’s Speech, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, or even Dating the Enemy (I used to LOVE that film!). Neighbours? The Man From Snowy River? LA Confidential? Memento? He’s a spunk and a talented one at that. Sometimes I see him walking his dogs in the park. One time, when I was about 12, my friends and I went trick-or-treating and knocked on his door, and he gave us Ferrero Rochers. Whatever. Just play it cool. No big deal. I’m kidding – we were pretty excited. As soon as he closed the door, the four of us, who were dressed as fairies, went out to the street and started squealing. Anyway, all I’m saying is that I know where he lives, but I’m not going to put that on the internet.
After our coffee, I said goodbye to Jane and mosied around to the lane behind her house for a stickybeak. Sure enough, there was the couch. It was huge – three people could easily sit on it, even four at a pinch. It was a lovely creamy-beige colour, and had linen cushions filled with duck down. It had a FOLD OUT DOUBLE BED inside. The only obvious defects were a tiny bit of bird poo on one of the cushions, and a small hole in one arm. I took some photos on my phone and walked home to show Steve and see what he thought. Steve was excited too, and we agreed to walk past it again on our way to my parents’ house for dinner that evening. We did. We both agreed. It was perfect.
At this point in the story, it is pertinent to know that at that time, neither Steve or I could drive a car. I have since learnt (as painfully described here), but we still don’t own a car, so when we need to move anything large, we rely on the kindness of friends and family.
That night at dinner, we told Mum and Dad about the Guy Pearce couch in the lane. One of the many things I like about my parents is that they love repurposing things found on the street. For our wedding, Mum did the flowers. They looked amazing. She bought all the flowers from the South Melbourne Market, but all the leaves were clipped off trees and bushes from around the local suburb. Dad picks up pieces of wood and whatever else looks interesting on ‘hard rubbish night’ and finds a use for them. I have inherited their excitement for giving a home to a useful but unwanted thing…why buy new when you don’t need to?
While we were eating dinner with Mum and Dad, I could tell that the thought of this great couch, former property of Guy Pearce, still sitting there in the laneway, possibly being collected by someone else, was making Dad antsy. As soon as the last bite of food had gone down, Dad was on his feet. ‘Right! Let’s go. Who knows who might see it and snap it up?’
Off we went with Dad in the i30 (which is a small-ish car). He reversed into the lane, headlights beaming, and right up to the couch, which was thankfully still there. Dad got out of the driver’s seat and we all stood around and saw the problem. The couch was huge. The boot was small. There was no way this boot could transport that couch.
We decided that the best plan of action was to put the large couch cushions into the car and then come back for the actual body of the couch tomorrow. Steve’s Mum, Michele, has a six seater car and it would probably fit in her boot with a bit of manoeuvring. Plus, we figured that no one would take a couch without its cushions. Like a dog taking a wee on a fence post, we were laying claim to the couch (sans urination), and would just have to hope that it was still there the next day. Dad drove us home with the cushions.
By that time it was about 11pm. Steve messaged his Mum to see if she might be free to help us move the couch the next day. A text shot straight back: ‘I’m up. Should we just go now?’
Steve’s wonderful parents, it’s fair to say, share my parents’ love of re-purposed things. Five minutes later, Michele picked us up in her car and drove us back to the lane: the fourth time I’d been lurking behind Guy’s house in the one day! This time, with some serious heavy lifting and manoeuvring (those couch beds are heavy!) we got the couch in the boot. Yes, the boot door wasn’t going to close, but we didn’t have far to drive. Still, there was no room for three passengers, so I decided to jog home and meet them back at our flat. I remember running so fast that night…it must have been the adrenalin that comes with an exciting new couch with a story! I arrived home just as Steve and Michele were unloading the couch, panting, but pretty thrilled that we could give Guy’s unwanted furniture a happy new home. We washed and dried the cushion covers, gave it a vacuum, and now it has pride of place in our Melbourne lounge room. Many friends have slept on the fold out bed. Many people have sat on it and agreed that it is, indeed, a great couch.
So that’s the Great Guy Pearce Couch Saga of 2013! The photo is off our niece, Ella, sitting on the couch with her teddies. Isn’t she lovely? She turns three next month.
Do you love re-purposing things? Do you have a piece of furniture with a story? Do you like Guy Pearce? Please share if you like!