London Notes #6

I realised last night, as I semi-slept, that if I was going to get any real work done here I’d have to move out of the kitchen. I had settled myself quite happily there because I like kitchens and this one is so gloriously English middle class. It’s cosy and functional, and not even remotely on trend; it has a huge sink, a double oven (I’ve always wanted one of those!), and acres of cupboards. It’s my fantasy kitchen; but I have to face facts: the table isn’t big enough for me to spread out the books and whatnot I need to stimulate my creative secretions, and what with D and the cat popping in for cups of coffee or mouthfuls of Whiskas I haven’t been able to get into the poetry zone. So, this morning I searched for a new workroom.

As I said yesterday, D has bagsied the free upstairs room, so I looked to the lower floor. There are four rooms down there: the laundry (no good for obvious reasons); Linda’s study; Mathew’s study, and another room that does double duty as a computer gaming/guest room. We stayed in this room last year when we came to visit; it has a door onto the garden and its own bathroom (handy on both counts!). I decided that was my best option – I wouldn’t feel comfortable using someone else’s study – so I cleaned it, rejigged a few pieces of furniture, took all my stuff down and spread it on the futon like a literary banquet.

A Possible Office

But the sun went in, and a cold rain fell, and it began to feel a bit gloomy down there. I strayed back up to the kitchen and put the kettle on.

D came in and offered to give up the room he’s using, but I couldn’t take it from him, he’s all settled up there and, unlike me, is actually doing a lot of work. So I set up in the sitting room. It has a big table for the smorgasbord, space for pacing, and lots of light admitting windows. The sun shone on my back as I flipped through my books for the next line.* It felt perfect.

Work Station

The only drawback is the presence of a TV.  D likes to watch stuff in the evenings, and this one has Netflix so he has the huge choice tv watchers seem to like. He may never have the opportunity to choose between so much crap ever again. How could I keep him from such fun?

I’m back in the kitchen for the evening while Samuel Jackson saves the Chicago policemen’s pension fund. Which is fine because I’m doing this so I don’t require a stack of books and a case full of finely sharpened pencils beside me. I reckon this arrangement could work: sitting room during the day, kitchen at night.

Daily Observation

Flexibility seems to be key to getting on; Frank O’Hara used to take his typewriter to parties and could construct a poem anywhere, while conducting a conversation. I need to cultivate that flexible kind of mind-set.


Header image is of the kitchen window from the garden.

*Of my rain cento.

10 comments

  1. Sod’s law is that when all the conditions are perfect inspiration takes a holiday. Nil desperandum benefits come in all shapes and sizes and all will be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, when you do find your formula, please be generous.Some of us think our brains have taken early retirement…
    Oh, by the way, that’s the only sort of London house I could cope with. 🙂

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    • I’ll probably find it just as it’s time to leave.

      Me too, it’s really just an ordinary family home – Linda and Mathew have four boys! – and would never make the pages of a magazine. It does have one modern quirk: they installed a tiny ensuite shower room in their bedroom, and the loo is so precious it can take nothing solid, not even loo paper! Luckily there are several others to choose from.

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  3. I set up an office in the “bonus room” aka finished attic room and have only used it a couple of times. It has a big window that overlooks our back garden and our neighbor’s yard. It seems we would both rather use the breakfast room table or the dining room when we work! Glad you’ve found a suitable working routine! xoxo

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    • Funny how we can fantasise about having our own little dens, then when we get them find they’re not quite as desirable as we thought. Not sure I have found a suitable working routine, but time will tell! X

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  4. I love my room. I don’t call it anything other than ‘my room’ because not a lot of work happens here! It has an enormous window. I waste so much time looking out of it.
    Sx

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