This blog is one year old today (but doesn’t look a day over 11 months:-)).

So, this time last year I had just finished this little beauty:

My favourite sideboard

It was my favourite sideboard then; it is my favourite sideboard now. I bought it at auction and paid quite a lot of money for it, despite the fact that one of the cupboard doors was locked and there wasn’t a key with it. We tried all sorts to get that door open and dozens of keys were begged and borrowed from all and sundry in an attempt to get one that would fit. In the end (3 weeks later!) we had to take the back off the sideboard and remove the lock from the inside.

It was mixed emotions when the sideboard sold because I had a soft spot for it. The lady who bought it arranged her own delivery and I was gutted when a rusty old van full of lorry tyres turned up. The van driver and his mate looked at me blankly when I asked if they had brought blankets for protection. The sideboard was plonked in the van, with loosely stacked lorry tyres around it. Goodness knows what condition the sideboard was in when it got to London! I had nightmares about that sideboard and never again heard from the buyer.

I learnt a very special lesson when working on that sideboard. I wanted one of the cupboard doors to fit more snuggly, so decided to stick a little strip of felt down the inside rim of the cupboard surround. I had the felt on the tip of my finger and thought that really, really strong glue should be used, so tipped super glue on it… A few seconds later I could smell something funny… A few more seconds later I saw smoke… A few more seconds later I realised that the felt on the tip of my finger was hot… VERY HOT… SMOKIN’ HOT!!! That day’s lesson – super glue and felt don’t mix. I sprinted to the nearest tap to put out the fire STUCK on the end of my finger. One has to suffer for one’s art:-) It hurt for days!

On a more serious note, this time last year I was working day and night to try and bring in enough money to keep the wolves from the door. My husband wasn’t working because his father was very poorly with cancer, and he was making daily visits to the hospital 35 miles away. The pressure on me was enormous and I had to abandon my plans of becoming a County Court Advocate – a position that was poorly paid, but one which looks very, very good on a putative barrister’s CV.

Thankfully, last Summer was a little drier than this summer, so I was able to paint from early morning until dusk. I still have a thick brown line across my back from the furniture painter’s cleavage that was exposed to the sun during all that prepping and painting!

So, the memories are bitter sweet from this time last year. I had a new fledgling business that was doing reasonably well, but which was brought about by desperation. At the beginning of 2011, I’d sold a lot of horsey stuff that hadn’t been used for several years. The various items brought in £600 and I used the money to buy paint, furniture and all the other paraphernalia needed to get cracking in the venture. Lord Alan would be proud:-)

One year on, and things are starting to get back to normal; it’s just a different kind of normal to what I’d anticipated when leaving Bar school, with my head full of dreams and aspirations. Instead of cutting my teeth in some back of beyond County Court, fighting a case over a broken vacuum cleaner, I’m refurbishing furniture. I’d have never believed it if anyone had told me so 2 years ago. But I do enjoy what I do now immensely and always have a little ‘I did that‘ when an old and unloved item is given a ‘Gok Wan’ makeover.

I’m still waiting to hear from 7 of the Barristers Chambers that I applied to for a pupillage this year, but have come to accept that if that door closes, there’s another one already open for me to walk through.

Happy Birthday ‘The Barrister’s Horse’.