Thursday, 29 July 2010
A Room of My Own
I HAVE a room of my own! Well, actually it is a corner of the attic, just beneath the window, but it is my space, where I can sit surrounded by the books which line the walls.
The Man of the House cleared out some of the electrical paraphernalia that cluttered the floor – you know the kind of thing, old televisions, computer screens, a keyboard, lots of wires, speakers, pocket CD players, mobile phones…
Initially he insisted ‘there’s nowt wrong’ with them (he gets very northern in moments of high emotion) but he eventually conceded they did not work and were therefore of no use to anyone. So out they went.
Then it was my turn to clear some space. With a heavy heart I culled some of the books (mainly to make space for more, but I am hoping he hasn’t realised that). I always hate getting rid of books, but there were volumes I knew I would never read again. Why, for example, did I keep my A-Level geography books? Did I really want to read about weather systems, glaciated mountain scenery or vulcanicity? And was that slender but learned tome on the Thirty Years War really necessary?
So out they went: some to the charity shop and others, alas, to the tip because they were shedding pages and were no longer readable.
Anyway, back to my room. The Man of the House has bought me a corner desk, a swivel chair on wheels (I had forgotten how much fun they can be) and a proper computer (but I still have my trusty laptop as well). In addition I have acquired Younger Daughter’s printer, a little lamp, a radio (I cannot work without Radio 4) and Elder Daughter has contributed a pink waste paper bin.
Then there is even a little sofa where I can sit and read – with a fluffy Bagpuss to keep me company.
Now I am turning it into a little pink eyrie. I discovered a box of pink bits and pieces (candles, ornaments, cushions) left over from The Daughters’ Barbie phase, when their most treasured possessions were pink, fluffy and sparkly.
And I am scouring charity shops and chain stores for bargains. So far I have snapped up a pink metal jug, some artificial flowers, tea light holders, a throw for the sofa, windchimes to hang from the beams, a pink feather boa, files and a box of document drawers.
Now pink is not normally a colour I would use to decorate a room, but it is so cheerful I have decided to release my inner ‘girlie’.
I can sit up there to do my secretarial work for the Credit Union, and some writing, and my OU work.
Through the window, which faces west, I can see rooftops, chimneys, trees (it’s far greener than it looks at ground level), clouds and sunsets.
The Daughters think I have finally flipped (shades of the Jenny Joseph poem spring to mind) but the Man of the House has his shed, where he escapes for a quiet smoke and some peace and quiet. He has turned it into a miniature sitting room, with a comfy chair, portable TV, books and curtains!
So now I have my little space as well. Virginia Woolf would have approved, I feel. In her extended essay A Room of One’s Own she maintains that a woman must have money and ‘a room of her own’ if she is to write fiction.
I lack the money, but I have the ‘room’ so I can sit and be creative and write that great novel – or, at the very least, a short story.