A Room of One’s Own (or A Room With a View?)

It really is time for me to come clean.  It’s 10 years since oldest son left school; almost 9 years since he left home for university.

A couple of years later, when it was clear he wasn’t intending to move back in again, I started to shift a few of my things into his room.  Then a few more things, and a few more again.  But we still called it his room, and it still looked (on the whole) like his room.

Then gradually, insidiously, I moved more and more of my things in.  I shifted the furniture around; took down his picture display; moved his art notebooks, coursework, and portfolios to another room.

I can’t pretend any longer that I’m just borrowing this space.  Yes, it really is time for me to come clean and own up and say that this is now my room.

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Virginia Woolf was right – we should all have a room of our own*.  A place to be who we are, who we want to be, a place without compromise and mutual agreements.

I found the perfect second hand (Danish?) chest of drawers in a local charity vintage furniture shop**.  It houses my collection of fabric and yarn for all those ‘sometime‘ projects.  Above it is the perfect place for shelves for my collection of gardening, craft, and inspiration books (and a few knick knacks).  Malcolm put up the shelf supports and bought the shelves for me.

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I hemmed the curtains (it’s only taken me 3 years to get round to doing that.  Yes, three whole years, for a 20 minute job.  I know).

I’m planning a session sorting through all the books, choosing some to give away, some for the charity shop, others to re-read.  Paperwork to be sorted, checked and (some) chucked.

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I have a (second hand, one day to be re-covered) cozy chair where I sit and knit, or crochet, or read, or meditate, or just look out of the window.

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The spare bed is here, with plenty of cushions.  A (second hand) bedside table – I began 2015 by contacting the makers, Ercol, to ask if they might be able to supply some spare pins to hold the shelves – they were incredibly kind and sent me several pins free of charge by return of post.  It holds a radio permanently tuned to BBC R4, plus a CD player for those (very few) occasions when R4 lets me down.

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I have my mother-in-law’s sewing box that I inherited when we emptied her flat a few years ago.

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Plus of course my desk / work corner, complete with noticeboard.  As you can see, I didn’t get round to tidying up before inviting you in.  You’ll have to take me as you find me.

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And I have a View.  Out towards the allotments. In the winter I can see across to the hens’ pen.

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I love being with people, and especially being with Malcolm and the rest of the family, and good friends.  But my goodness I do also love solitude and quiet, and this is my peaceful haven and retreat.  I wish I had realised and acted on this earlier in my life, but now is the time and this is my space.

How fortunate I am.


* The shame of being part of a country that imposes the hateful and punitive bedroom tax on people who need to rely on benefits.  I’m well aware of the luxury I enjoy.

**  This is an altogether Very Good Thing – they work with vulnerable and disadvantaged people from our community, helping them gain skills and providing work opportunities refurbishing and making furniture, which is then sold in their shop; the profits from the shop go back into their work with vulnerable and disadvantaged people.  A virtuous circle.

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
This entry was posted in 60th year, Reflections on life (and death), Seeing differently and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Room of One’s Own (or A Room With a View?)

  1. Marian says:

    It seems to me you’ve followed a very nice middle road with your grown son’s bedroom, and you’ve avoided the perils of both extremes (which are: knocking down a wall the week after they move, in order to enlarge your own bedroom; or, not touching a thing, and turning the room into a sort of shrine to their childhood!) (I hope to manage to avoid both these scenarios in the next few years 😉 ).

    You’ve created a lovely space, and I agree: it would be very nice to have a room of one’s own. I don’t currently have one. My sewing machine and serger are currently set up (in a somewhat permanent fashion) on our dining room table; not the best place for them, and the room always looks disheveled, what with our 16 year-old son studying there as well. I’m eyeing a small balcony area (only accessible through 16 year-old son’s bedroom, which hovers over our foyer (I would dearly love to ask the builder what he was thinking when he built this feature into this house)) as a possible mini-sewing area. I feel it would be big enough, and it would solve the problem of what to do with this bizarre space, but I have a silly, almost superstitious feeling about it, as though as soon as I get the area nicely set up my husband will come home and tell me we’re moving again. So I procrastinate and sew in the dining room, fabric and thread and yarn, etc, stored in all corners of the house!


    • It’s tricky isn’t it sharing space with another adult and growing children, and negotiating how space gets used (and particularly varying ideas beliefs and practices about tidiness!). I love both sons dearly (I’m sure you can tell that!), but I was ready for each of them to move on when their time came, and we managed to transition in a very positive way over the years from them living at home with us to them having their own homes elsewhere. It helped us all that they for a while they rented a flat together (along with some other friends), so we had a bit of reassurance that they informally kept an eye out for each other. And despite their very different characters, they remain firm friends.
      We were never, ever, in any danger of the ‘shrine’ thing – it’s always been our belief that one of the important parental tasks is helping and supporting our children to live their own independent lives. And we’re honest enough to be able to say that once they both left home we loved having them to visit, but even more we love returning to being a couple again and not just mum and dad.
      A healthy balance, we think.
      Hope you’re having a good weekend. V hot here (by UK standards!) – an actual summer!


  2. rusty duck says:

    I do agree with having your own space. I am guilty of having that and yet still spreading my activities freely around the house.. the ‘sewing room’ is currently in the dining room! But it does make a difference to have somewhere I can retreat to occasionally, close the door and recharge my batteries.


    • Oh, did I not mention the Downstairs Knitting station and the crochet basket in the sitting room? But isn’t it luxury to have not only shared space but also personal space. Which is why I get so angry about the bedroom tax that seeks to deprive people of much-needed space for medical equipment, or children, or just to get away from the problems and demands of an ill family member occasionally (for example, to be able to sleep).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I too have a room of my own, have had for the last two years, and oh what a life saver it is. It’s tiny but it’s all mine. What it doesn’t have is a to-die for chest of drawers like yours … what a fab find!

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog recently :o)


    • Yes, I was thrilled when I found the chest of drawers, it has swallowed up all the fabric, yarn, and Works in Progress that until now have been sitting around in bags and boxes, under furniture or on shelves.
      Hope you’re taking all the good advice Annie – so much easier to give it than to act on it I always find. Take care.


  4. Sam says:

    I do not have a room of my own but would dearly love one. My friend, Mrs Ford (of mrsfordsdiary.wordpress.com) and I have often discussed how completely fantastic it would be to have a room of one’s own and have fantasised about living in massive houses where you could even have a whole wing to yourself! That’s greedy but it’s nice to daydream. In the meantime, I’ll make do with a desk in the corner of a room which is currently piled high with ‘stuff’… I have my eye on my eldest son’s bedroom which overlooks the back garden and from which you can see people coming down the path to the door but he’s only 15, so I’ll have to wait a while. I’m very pleased that you have carved out this space for yourself.


    • Oh it is completely fantastic. However, life changes and our needs/wants along with it. I remember when youngest son was 15 and both of them had girlfriends in and out all the time, and it often felt like there were 6 of us living here not 4, we thought we ‘needed’ somewhere bigger to live. Luckily nowhere suitable/acceptable came up, because not many years later both sons had moved out and since then we have been 2 where we were 4 (6). Hence space for the room of my own.
      Now we have a bedroom that is mainly used to store their stuff, until the time eventually (hopefully!) comes when they have homes of their own where they can use/keep it.
      You’ll wonder where the years went….
      (but I have to say we’re not missing those teenage years!)


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