We bought our first house nearly thirty years ago. The couple we got it from were divorcing. Because neither of them had the room to house it, they bequeathed us a beaten-up old sofa. We were delighted. At the time any furniture at all was a bonus. When the kids subsequently came along the old sofa was put into one of their bedrooms. They jumped on it without mercy. Scores of over-stimulated little visitors would climb on its back. Its possibilities as a trampoline, bus and shire horse were explored with some rigour. We didn't mind because we hadn't paid for it. We deduced from the fact that we obtained it for nothing that it must be on its last legs. Kids were ill in it - and probably on it. They had stories read to them on it. I've lost count of the number of times we've fallen asleep on it with some spark-out child cutting off the circulation to an arm. It's been terribly mistreated and yet through all that it has remained the most comfortable item of furniture in the house and the house after that.
Until a couple of months ago we thought that was mere sentiment. Then we got an upholsterer round to examine our furniture and see what was worth improving. He looked at a few different sofas and eventually pointed at the old one. "That," he said, "is a very fine piece of furniture. If you could buy something like it today it would cost a lot of money." He explained all the design features that made it so comfortable. This was an unexpected bonus. It was like suddenly finding out that chocolate was good for you.
We paid for it be reupholstered. Today it came home, no longer to be covered in discarded shoes, empty cereal bowls and copies of Heat in an upstairs bedroom, but to take pride of place in the sitting room. It's expected to be receiving visitors in due course.