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Norwegian couple’s 50-year-old wedding present fixed at Baughurst Repair Café

A Norwegian couple had an important and much loved item that had been in their family for almost 50 years repaired at a local repair café.

Terje and Michaela Hartberg married in 1975 and on their wedding day they were given a wooden bowl painted in the traditional Norwegian design known as ‘rosemaling’—translated into English as rose painting.

Terje Hartberg and Brian Watts with the repaired traditional Norwegian bowl
Terje Hartberg and Brian Watts with the repaired traditional Norwegian bowl

Rosemaling folk art is used in many old Norwegian houses that have their wooden architraves, architectural features, furniture and household items decorated with the floral designs.

Mr and Mrs Hartberg were extremely pleased to be given the traditional bowl as a wedding present. It was hand painted by one of the ladies from the church in Telemark where Mr Hartberg’s father was a minister.

Over the years, and after moving to the UK, the object proved an important tangible link to their Norwegian heritage.

When the bowl started to develop a worrying split in its base, the couple stopped using it and packed it away to make sure it didn’t deteriorate any further.

Brian presenting the bowl he fixed
Brian presenting the bowl he fixed

For 15 years the bowl languished in a cupboard, not being used or seen.

Neither Mr nor Mrs Hartberg had any idea where or how they could get such a special and unusual item repaired.

The couple, who live in Thatcham, brought the bowel to the Baughurst Repair Café at Heath End Village Hall in February in the hope that they could get the precious item fixed.

Café volunteer Brian Watts, who lives in Ashford Hill, assessed the damage and concluded he was able to do something to help but that he would have to take the bowl away to repair it properly.

The Hartbergs returned to this month’s edition of the repair café on March 17 and were delighted to discover that Mr Watts had been able to fix their beloved bowl.

Baughurst Repair Café volunteer Rosie Harle said: “Brian has done an amazing job. The split in the base cannot be seen at all.

“He managed to clamp the bowl in two places so that the split came together neatly and then, very carefully, repainted the parts of the design that had been damaged.

“The result is a beautifully restored bowl with no obvious signs of damage and ready for another 50 years of use and love.”

She also thanked the Hartbergs for sharing their story and congratulated Mr Watts on his handiwork.

The Baughurst Repair Café takes place on every third Sunday of the month, from 10am till 1pm, at Heath End Village Hall in Baughurst.

Café volunteers can fix a variety of items such as electrical appliances, electronic devices, textiles, fabrics, toys, wooden furniture, IT equipment, bicycles and jewellery.

The café also offers tool sharpening as well as IT and mobile phone advice and troubleshooting.

Those interested in finding out more about the repair café and booking in a slot for April should visit its website at https://baughurstrc.uk/ or email baughurstrepaircafe@hotmail.com

Repairs are free but a donation would be appreciated by the community group to cover its costs.

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