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My mother-in-law Erika visited Mauritius many times after her marriage, as her husband Serge was a native of that tropical island. During one such visit she had some furniture made for her by a Mauritian-Chinese craftsman, the community of whom were well-known on the island as skilled carpenters. The main pieces included a carved mahjong table and a matching drinks cabinet, the latter of which is a sort of James Bond version, with side flaps and bits that lift up and so on. Since my first visit to Erika’s home in London, when I sat at the little table with a prawn sandwich and a cup of tea – the first example of her warm hospitality towards me – I loved her exotic furniture. Many years have passed since then and my mother-in-law has moved to a smaller apartment, and she has passed on some of her furniture. My husband Marcel and I are the lucky recipients of the mahjong table and drinks cabinet, but we were faced with the problem of how to get it over to Ireland. The problem was solved by Marcel’s big brother Ian, who hired a van and brought the furniture over to us, having a week’s holiday in Ireland with us to sweeten the deal.
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