Saturday morning: running with snot, headachy, feeble, in no fit state to do do anything but return to bed, I found myself dragging large pieces of furniture across a carpeted room.
As I think I mentioned in my last London Notes post, returning to Moffat hasn’t been as depressing as I expected. In fact, it hasn’t been depressing at all. The weather here isn’t so different to the weather in London (especially if, like me, you only really experience it through a window); it’s been lovely to see our friends again; and I have my beloved work-room pregnant with books, the smell of turps hanging in the air – as if Picasso recently popped in for a glass of wine mid masterpiece – in which to fashion my dreams.
For some time one of those dreams has been to create a comfortable place to sit and read – something I feel I’m not doing enough of these days. I’ve fantasised about swapping the single bed (my room also doubles as a guest-room) for a sofa-bed, but we can’t really afford one and may not be able to get it up the stairs if we could, and reminisced about my lost Edwardian Gentleman’s chair knowing I couldn’t squeeze it in here even if it were still available to me, but not come up with a practical solution. Until now.
For some time I’d mused about trying to make the bed function as a couch, and even went so far as to remove the duvet and pillows to the loft and scatter it with cushions. But it never seemed inviting being, as it was, on the other side of the room from both the radiator and the window. Nevertheless, as I drank my customary morning mug of strong cafe con leche I began to imagine the bed looking comfy and couch-like in the window alcove, beside the radiator, and wondered if I could totally reorganise the room and jam it in there. By the time I swallowed the last drop I’d decided I could. All that was needed was for the table and bed to swap places. Easy, yes?
Every inch of space under the bed was filled with boxes of materials; the bed itself was covered in books and papers I’ve been meaning to file for weeks; the table was covered in works in progress, more books, and miscellany; chairs, a trolley full of materials, and a bookcase were in the way; I had to find somewhere for all these things to go before I could start. I dragged and pushed, cleared and piled until the landing and doorway were impassable. I folded down the table flaps (it shrinks down to virtually nothing but is heavy mahogany) and put it to one side, then began to haul the bed across the room. That’s when I discovered that the chimney breast posed a problem. The alcove is about two inches bigger than the bed, but the chimney breast extends a further six inches so I couldn’t just slide the bed in, it had to be tipped up on one end, wiggled into the space, then dropped. Fine, I managed it, but now I could no longer ignore its hideous orange-pine finish.*
About a third of the way through I wished for nothing more than to have not started, but a cup of tea and biscuit later I was ready to finish the job. The table was easy to position, chairs and materials were fitted in (I still have papers and books to shelve) and now I have a comfy corner to sit and read:
and for the first time my work table is able to be fully extended without impinging too heavily on the feeling of space:
Now when I look up from my book, or laptop, I see this cheery scene:
You’d think that once it was done I’d have sat down to read, that having been the whole point of the exercise, but no, instead I found myself doing something similar to this site. Frustrated with the lack of distinction between links and the rest of the text, and not being able to find a way to change that, I faffed about with templates and ended up completely changing everything, with all that entails. By the time night fell everywhere I looked had changed.
Is all this shifting a direct response to having spent so long in someone else’s, much grander, house?
*Luckily I had some still liquid paint mixed in an old yogurt carton from a previous project.