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The Purchase of a Very Special Umbrella

The Purchase of a Very Special Umbrella

By Guest Harrogate Blogger Zachary Greaves


I thought the summer heatwave had gone to my Mum’s head when she proudly returned from her trip into town clutching an umbrella. She twirled it in the air, and I looked at her bemused – yet intrigued by the eye-catching design. However, my growing confusion demanded an answer; after all her only reason for visiting Furnish & Fettle had been to check that a Lewis and Wood Sample book was still available!


“Mum, why have you chosen to buy an umbrella when there’s rumours of an imminent hosepipe ban?!”


She justified the purchase as follows: “One: I needed an umbrella; Two: I have two budgerigars”.


I laughed. But perhaps this really was ample justification. I have always considered umbrellas as almost disposable items – cheap objects of relatively low quality that can easily be replaced. Mum’s ‘need’ was for an item that would be looked after and appreciated for years to come. I began to admire my Mum’s pluck – this was not an impulse buy as I had first assumed – but something that was rather more carefully considered.


My bewilderment was answered, and attention was turned to the item’s design. I was immediately struck by its unique and special feel; the practical purpose is in balance with a stunning visual appeal. The design reflects my Mum’s gentle, lively character, and the palette is subtle and refined. This is an object which delivers a strong sense of style gracefully and without pretension. 


The quality of the product fits with that of the brand; Osborne and Little are better known for designing and producing luxury wallpapers and fabrics. The sturdiness, quality of the mechanism and material are showing of a product that is not only fit for purpose, but built to last. And the attention to detail – a green satin lining, and ‘Osborne & Little’ logo securing the canopy – add further sensory luxury.


Mum reported that when she left the shop, the assistant had jokingly said: “Let me know when you would like a Roman Blind in the same fabric!”

A passing comment maybe, but it certainly stirred her curiosity; I later saw her looking at the Osborne & Little website. On screen, the umbrella’s fabric was displayed as window coverings – and on a chair. Sitting on the chair arm? Two budgies, identical to those of my Mum’s. The umbrella immediately took on a greater and more personal significance.


“So,” I said to Mum, “I suppose it’s going in your wardrobe until the standard order of British weather returns?!”

She picked it up and twirled it again: “It makes an excellent parasol too!”


A rain-repeller, stylish accessory and shelter from the sun! Bafflement turned into appreciation for my Mum’s clever purchase. It was a purchase based on a moment of inspiration; but the meaning of the design would grow into something money can’t buy.


We often buy things because we feel an affinity with them, even though we may not be able to define it at the time. But as we journey through life, our experiences attach greater levels of significance to ordinary objects. Our long-term relationship with design is defined by the memories we hold and create around everyday objects and furnishings. Having an initial affinity with a design can hail a very personal, emotive and sensory journey.

Osborne & Little Umbrella’s are available at both branches of Furnish & Fettle.  Why not call in and see how we can inspire you to find your own sense of style………

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