This week I’ve started a project to restore a very precious gift, from a very precious period of my life, my Moulinex blender lamp.
In the autumn of 1996, I moved into Flat 3, Lansdowne Centre, Law Street, Bermondsey. At the time I thought this would be a sojourn before moving in with a friend but I settled in quickly and it remains today one of the best places I’ve ever lived.
The flat was part of staff accommodation for Shaftesbury Society homeless services and part of an former homeless hostel that had previously been a school, I believe. Next door there were three more living areas, a huge industrial kitchen and a shower block that got disgusting far too quickly.
Flat 3, though, was a self-contained flat, linked to the larger building through a double door that we called ‘the air lock’. When my flatmates, Graham and Stuart, moved in, the flat was furnished but also filled with junk. Behind a curtain, beneath the long unit in the kitchen were all kinds of broken kitchen aids and items left behind by former residents—the usual kitchen detritus of bowls and jugs, mugs and cutlery.
Stuart, a newly qualified cabinet maker, and I had just met; he was a friend of a friend, looking for accommodation. During our first week in the flat we bonded over a crazy project to convert as much of this junk into art or up-cycle it into things we could use.
A broken Moulinex blender caught our imagination. What if we could convert it into a lamp?
We stripped it down, studied its wiring and headed to B&Q on the Old Kent Road to buy some parts. As I recall, it just took us a day or two to complete the project. We removed the blades, fitted the lamp holder, rewired the switch, plugged it in and… it worked!
Our blender lamp sat in the kitchen, illuminating our kitchen table and became a talking point with visitors; along with the ironing board hoisted up to the ceiling, the jeans on the wall, the dartboard in the bathroom, the defunct washing machine that became our kitchen clock, the pizza box nailed to the wall beside a painting of Jesus of the sacred heart, the armchair hauled up to sit on top of the ‘air lock’, etc.
The following year, it was time for me to leave London. I was heading to Edinburgh to begin ordination training at the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
After I packed up my belongings, Stuart called me through to the kitchen. Unknown to me, he had spend the last few weeks working on a secret project to make me my own Moulinex blender lamp as a goodbye present. I loved it!
Since moving from St Andrews in 2018, the lamp has been tucked away in a crate. I came across it again this week while searching for something else. It was in a sorry state—not only very dirty but the lamp holder had broken making the bulb list forward.
So, my project this week is to restore my Moulinex blender lamp. I have already stripped it down to wash and I’ve ordered a replacement lamp holder. I’ll post the end result when it’s done.