Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The Bookcase

Before I met my husband I did have a relationship with a guy in Sheffield who collected antiques ( and very expensive antiques I may add) He had a penthouse flat in Sheffield and owned a country property in the Lake lived a very different lifestyle to my nurse existence in a two up two down in a slightly down-at-heel suburb of the city..Anyhow I digress.

One afternoon he asked me if I could help in load several choice pieces of furniture into a van, so that he could take them to auction. As I recall there was a French chiffonier, an early Victorian farmhouse grandfather clock and a rather handsome George III glass fronted bookcase, which dated from 1780. All beautiful pieces of furniture.
We carried each item down 4 flights of stairs without incident and loaded the clock and chiffonier. I held onto the bookcase as my boyfriend cleared some room in the van, and for some totally unknown reason left the thing standing in the road as I walked up  to see what was going on.
Sheffield streets are steep, and in what could only be described as slow motion we both turned to see one of the bookcase doors open ever-so-gently.....unbalancing the whole piece.

As I screamed ( and I did scream)..the bookcase started to a tree and with the biggest of crashes it fell onto the doors downward.
I couldn't move. My boyfriend (who was crying silently) did however and without a word he lifted the bookcase off the road.
There couldn't have been more damage to it if Hattie Jacques herself had jumped on it from the top of a wardrobe, and even to my unsophisticated eye, I just knew that I had inflicted damage a nurse's pay could not quite cater for.
Still in silence, the bookcase (or the pile of wood and glass that it now resembled) was loaded up and driven away, leaving me to ponder my fate.
On impulse I drove immediately to one of the less attractive parts of Sheffield ( Think The Wire) and offered my old beat up peugeot 105 up to a scrap merchant to buy......The scrap merchant was a big hairy arsed bloke who seemed rather sceptical of my motives... but seeing that I looked rather distressed, he offered me a cup of tea and seemed ever-so-faintly amused that I was selling my car because I knackered the front off my boyfriend's priceless antique and wanted to "pay" for the damages

As I recall he gave me 150£ for my car....
I never knew what happened to the bookcase....
The relationship never lasted either...................


  1. Not your fault, he should have sorted the van out BEFORE bringing down the last piece.

  2. some days just don't go well

  3. Accidents happen. If it was that valuable he should have had insurance on it or at the very least have it moved by professionals. You poor thing, though. I can imagine your distress.

  4. What a horrible experience and memory. Not your fault, he should have organized the space and/ or made sure the bookcase was stable. I feel so bad for you, all these years later.

    I collect antiques and over the years things have been broken. I always say, let it go, no worries--part of oo-owning something fragile or priceless is the understanding it may break or be lost.

    On the other hand, he doesn't sound quite right for you either.


    PS My dad let a restored vintage Ford convertible roll down the steep driveway and out thru the back of the garage wall. I bet bet your face looked a lot like his did that day.


  5. I feel for you. But, exactly what did you do? He put it down before you walked up.

  6. Well,I would have been upset that he'd driven away like that,it wasn't your fault- you weren't a professional removal man.I would not have sold my car.He sounds a bit grumpy x

    1. Ps-My car was parked on a steep hill once and I watched it verry slowly,roll slightly to one side and demolish part of an allotment shed.Luckily the man was not angry and asked for £100 to repair it himself x

  7. He should have got Mr Shifter and the other P.G. Tips chimps in to do the job.

  8. how the hell did you know he was hairy arsed?

  9. I don't move furniture for a living but I do warp delicate pieces in cargo blankets with ties around them from scrap and scratches or in this case damage. If they were that expensive, he should have paid a professional mover to haul them to auction you think?

  10. What did the guy say when you offered him the 150L?

  11. If he had been a keeper, you would not have felt you needed to do, what you did. Love is unconditional, and priceless.

  12. Oh no! What a terrible feeling to watch the piece turn from priceless antique to stack of firewood! That slow-motion, can't be stopped movie that imprints on one's brain never really gets erased, does it?

  13. Surely he had insured it against damage? And I agree with those who say he should have hired professionals to move all the furniture, given its value.

  14. The whole thing was probably a metaphor for what the relationship became, I guess.
    Also, if they were priceless, and mine, I would have been much more careful. You were better off.


  15. Dunno if it's a comfort, metaphor or what, but all the women I've been involved with, including my wife, died '97, became a religious sort, my wife a Unitarian Minister, after being involved with me. Another became a Quaker, the other a oddball Fundamentalist, maybe coincidence...or, maybe karma.

  16. He should not have accepted the money John.

  17. Barbara Anne4:16 am

    Gravity: cannot live with it unless due care and forethought is given and without it, we'd all float away.

    I agree with all who said the owner of the bookcase should have been more careful and hired experienced movers. You weren't at fault then or now.


  18. I have a Longcase clock that was made for my family in 1735. I am the current guardian. When moving it between two houses in Brighton, I put it in the back of the car with most of it sticking out. As I drove the few hundred metres, Lady Magnon was running behind shouting STOP STOP. I knew it was safe; she was convinced it would fall out. I was right.

  19. Goodness, you must have been absolutely mortified. Of course it was just an unfortunate chain of events, but of course also you blamed yourself.

  20. What we do when we are young. Your story made me smile. I did some mortifying things when I was young.

  21. Maybe he objected to you finding out the car guy had hairs on his arse.
    I once went to a horse auction with an acquaintance (don't know the right word for it, just someone I knew. I was around 17 at the time and camped at his farm.) He bought a lovely foal. Whilst backing out the big Mercedes plus horse trailer through a narrow fence, it turned out that I had not properly closed the car door of the passenger seat behind us. It swung open and was cleanly amputated from the car.
    He stopped, picked it up, put it on the back seat and said : well, that foal just got a bit more expensive.
    Not a cross word and the trip home was as lovely as ever. He never asked for money. Things happen ...
    What a hero of a man!

  22. Well, that's one thing less to dust!

  23. What a guy. Like you, I would still feel awful about that, even though it was an accident and you both shared responsibility. But again, it was an accident! Unlike you, I wouldn’t have sold my car. You’re a much better person than I.

  24. Love endures all things.

  25. I am sure his insurance paid him the value of the bookcase. If he didn’t have insurance and had all those valuable antiques, he was an idiot.

  26. Shit happens, if the relationship does not survive, flush it!


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