Changing the world, one cushion at a time

In this, the week in which Donald Trump is inaugurated, I have been buying cushions – which strikes me as the 2017 equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.


January is pretty depressing in and of itself. While I can count my blessings – I have my health, a family, an education and a warm home (I could go on), the dark mornings and even darker global political outlook make me peer from my underneath the bedcovers with a creeping sense of doom.

To counter the gloom I do things like buying tulips to fill the Christmas tree void in my life. And cushions, I guess, go some way towards perking me up.

House stuff is definitely my thing. I can justify this because a large percentage of mine and my family’s clothing comes from the local charity shop. But our furnishings – the things that give me more pleasure – are largely from Habitat. I try to live by William Morris’s old adage: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful, and I hope in our house, this is largely true*. We certainly have a low clutter tolerance threshold and I’m frequently walking bags of the stuff that fits into neither of the above categories to the aforementioned charity shop.

So when the ad for the Habitat sale pops up in my Facebook feed I, like the consumer patsy I am, duly click on it and, several clicks later, have ordered the cushions. As it turns out, one of them isn’t ‘right’ so I’m sending it back. Talk about First World problems.

In 2016 I couldn’t get the bad news out of my head – there was so much of it. But my little life continued apace.  On the news, terrible leadership and bad decisions won the day, but I live in a place where, for the most part, clarity and wisdom prevail. In other parts of the world, terrorists and peddlers of hate set out to hurt and divide, yet my community and personal experience is filled with people wanting to help. And after watching news reports of refugee children in war zones or on perilous boat journeys, I can turn off the TV and watch my own children in their school plays and assemblies.

There is a disconnect between the small and big worlds around us, but yet we live slap bang in the centre of both.  A new purchase can make me feel pleasure and guilt at the same time. Am I ignoring the plight of the world every time I do, say or buy something frivolous, or is it simply my way of making sense of my corner of it?  I should caveat this by stating that obviously I do more than sit around buying cushions all day.

Happily I can send my badly-chosen soft furnishings back. I’m not sure the US electorate have the same luxury when it comes to Trump.


  • except for the kids’ plastic tat which we’re stuck with for another few years yet…