Monday, March 08, 2010


The book room

I have the spring cleaning heebie-jeebies today. I started with the overrun bookcase in the dining room (gardening, cookery, field guides), where I found books I forgot I owned. Overall I didn't get far and am in fact feeling quite grumpy over the state of our house. Our beautiful, well-proportioned old house, which, when we moved in over two years ago, we had set up just about how we wanted it. Then I closed the bookshop and brought everything home. And we started a renovation project last year (the attic), which displaced stuff and generally made a mess. A year later, the attic remains unfinished until I accrue such funds as will be necessary to finish it off - it still needs walls and floors, and lights, and a heating duct.

Fast-forward to now. The stuff from the bookshop is winnowed down to the things I just don't know what to do with. Boxes of stuff - credit card machines, old shop receipts, files, gew-gaws. And extra bookcases and furniture. And the contents of my old art studio, which was in the back room of the bookshop. All this stuff is taking up space upstairs in our spare room, and more importantly, in the book room, where, to my great discontent, sit rafts of paintings with dust covers over them and boxes and stacks of everything you can imagine, piled in front of the bookcases. Which means I cannot even get to many of my own books. This in no way pleases me. To think that the things I love best in my own home, the things I truly value, what I spend almost all my time working on somehow - books and paintings - are more or less a freaking shambles. So distressing to my generally tidy spring-cleaning self.

Well, the good news is that this is a temporary state of affairs. (Even if temporary means two years.) We've almost made it through winter and "the heating season" as it's known in these parts, and I am slowly but surely accruing funds earmarked for the completion of the attic renovation. This summer should see it through. Then I can tuck away, in newly-constructed storage under the eaves, the ghosts of my bookshop, and, in built-in painting racks, keep the unsold artwork. THEN, I will reconstruct what I originally dreamed of when we bought this great old place - a book room, lined with shelves, filled with all of my dear friends, with nothing else in the room except for a comfortable reading chair, a place to rest my feet, a decent lamp, and a small stand to have reading glasses handy (I'm going to need them soon), and perhaps a coaster for a teacup. Maybe - maybe - a soft place for the cat to sit. He can't have my chair. Well, at least not all the time. Days like today, when the book room is still a distant dream, I look around longingly for that reading chair. This might be it, if I ever could ever aspire to such a thing. The matching ottoman, too, of course. Since we're dreaming.

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