My computer is on a corner desk in what I like to call my ‘study’ but in reality is one of the three bedrooms in my house. It’s the corner near the window, with a view (from above) of my garden, the backs of the houses on the next street and, in the distance, the lights of the motorway. Not very inspiring!
Within the room, however, I’m surrounded by my 'life'. Books which indicate my varied interests – medieval history, the American Civil War, family history, and Ireland. A couple of shelves of reference books – rarely touched now because the internet has become my main reference source. Four shelves of DVDs (a very eclectic mix) and another of CDs, and two shelves of my holiday files – the ‘scrapbooks’ with descriptions and photos from all my trips abroad. There are also photos on display - my daughters and grandsons, and a couple of my favourite actor Martin Sheen too! Plus the two photos I had taken with Stockard Channing, to remind me of the times I met her. My noticeboard is full with letters about appointments, reminders to myself and, most important, the phone number of the computer expert who rescues me when anything goes wrong with my computer.
Of all the rooms in my house, this room reflects me. I spend more time here than in any other part of my house. But sometimes I think about the different functions this room has had during the 40+ years I have lived here.
Originally, when we first moved in, it was the ‘spare room’ where all the ‘junk’ was stored. But in 1968 it had its first makeover. I opted to have my second baby at home and my younger daughter was born in this room (about two feet away from where I’m sitting right now!). I can remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday.
The room then became a bedroom for my older daughter. As they grew up, my two girls swapped bedrooms several times, but eventually it became my younger daughter’s room. The walls were covered with all her popstar posters.
When she eventually left home, the room became the ‘spare bedroom’ for a few years. But then, when I was involved with the local Musical Theatre for juniors, it was transformed into a costumes and props room. We raided the charity shops for full-length dresses, long skirts, Victorian-style blouses, cowboy shirts, black jackets and trousers, all of which were hung on the three racks I managed to obtain. Boxes of hats, and other stage props filled every remaining inch of the room.
In the mid-nineties, I decided it was time to remove my computer from the table in my dining room. The costumes went into suitcases in the garage, and I ‘moved’ upstairs. Originally I had a hotch- potch of furniture – old chests of drawers, old tables, old bookshelves. About six years ago I decided to give the room a make-over with purpose-made office furniture – cupboards, drawers and tables around 3 walls, and two bookshelves and a filing cabinet on the 4th wall.
This place is my home, my sanctuary, the room where I feel most comfortable and at ease. For several years, I resisted having a TV set up here, but I finally succumbed – and got a DVD player too. But I still have to go downstairs to make coffee!