Living Between the Lines

Going up in the world!

I have moved up in the world (upstairs to be precise). My desk and files are now sitting in a spare front bedroom, (the bed being replaced by a sofa bed). This will be my new ‘study’. I love it already.
The move was probably long overdue, I am no longer the only one in the house during the day. My husband and my dear friend, have both set up office space in the house. Lockdown is easing but my dear husband is showing no signs of wanting to make the daily journey to the office and much as I like meeting him for a coffee or lunch during the day, the distractions have been mounting. I could hear his phone ringing, his computer chiming for another Teams meeting. The printer churned out documents beside me, a plethora of deliveries (we’ve all been ordering online of course) were coming to the front door. I was always nearest.
In a Eureka moment, the spare bedroom seemed the perfect answer and here I am.

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive as I saw my desk heading for its new home. The last time I felt like this, I was five years old…

…I remember, quite clearly, being jealous of my eldest sister’s room, which she had to herself. I shared mine with our middle sister, who loved to tease me. Our baby brother was still in with our parents.
“There’s a man beside your bed waiting to cut your head off if you move!” Beverly would hiss just before I fell asleep. I dare not move even though I was not sure I believed her, what if she was right? It gave me many a nightmare.
She continued in a similar vein throughout our childhood.
“Don’t open the toy cupboard door, there are witches behind it!” was a favourite nightly warning.
“There are Monsters under your bed!” this last made worse because she’d hide beneath my bed until I was safely tucked in, before leaping out and scaring me half to death. I always checked under my bed until I was way past the age of believing her.
I’d look at my eldest sister’s room with envy. It was the box room, a boxlike structure over the stairs providing a seat. Her bed sat under the window and memories of being invited to sit on the little seat while she ‘sold’ or ‘swapped’ me a ruler or a pencil, which I took warily, are still with me. (I think I knew she’d swear she had not sold it to me the next day and I’d have to give it back.) I loved that room, with its flowery curtains, its bedside lamp and bookshelves.
I’d beg and plead Mum and Dad for my own room, with no real hope of success. In those days we had three bedrooms and there were four children, of which I was third.
To my utter surprise, one day, Mum told me I could have Lesley’s room if I wanted it. Lesley would share with Beverly. Now, I suspect they knew all along what would happen and the family had cooked this up between them.
I was duly given the box room. My bedcovers were transferred, my toys carried through, my clothes were put in the little chest of drawers. I was beside myself with joy that day.
I sat on the bed and surveyed my kingdom. Mine, all mine! My 5-year-old self could not believe it. It smelt so lovely (thank you Lesley) I read my books in peace. I played with my dolls, in peace. I ran back to my room after meals, anxious to enjoy every moment of it. I allowed a friend to come and see it and marvel that it was mine.I was so proud of it.
Then came bedtime.
I lay in my little bed feeling a bit lost. It was dark, unfamiliar shadows graced the walls when cars went by. I wanted my mother to stay with me. It felt strange. I didn’t like it.
Of course, I woke to the sun streaming in and my little room looking wonderful again. During the day I loved it. I loved the quiet. I loved the fact that this was my space. But at night, oh dear, I panicked and had nightmares (more than normal) if I fell asleep at all. I called for my mother, I cried, she sat with me again. How patient she was!
This went on for a few days. I loved my new room by day, by night I was terrified. I seemed to forget that there might be ghosts or witches in the toy cupboard in my old room.
Of course, my parents knew this would happen, they knew their youngest daughter well. Within a week, Lesley moved her things back and mine were taken back to the room I had shared with Beverly. The man with the axe still stood by my bed at night.
Beverly and I worked out many ways of dividing the room up over the years. A hairbrush marked the boundary at one time, subtly moved an inch or two, after each use.
I shared a room until I was fourteen, when we moved to a bigger house. Here, Beverly, John and I each had a room of our own. Lesley had left home by then. Ironically, when the latter was waiting for a new flat, and had to come back home to live, she had to share my room for six months.

Nearly sixty years later, I am happy to say that I will not be regretting this latest move. The view from my window if I turn to my right is lovely. I forget the time as I sit here, no longer distracted by phone calls and printer noise (I left the wireless printer downstairs).

The view from my study
The view from my window

Some bookshelves and some prints for the walls and it will do fine!
There are no ghouls in my cupboards, there are no cupboards as it happens! I do remember being that five year old child though, and, really, I am not so very different now!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • patricia60

    I always hoped to get the attic room, when my turn was coming up the family moved across country to a tiny apartment! I think your new space looks great and it will be a joyful place to write without interruption. After the close quarters of the Covid restrictions, I am finding I am more sensitive to the little noises ( like partner’s chewing) patience sometimes just escapes me. Looking forward to more of you stories coming from this new spot.

    • Debbie

      Aw, sorry you missed out on the attic room Patricia, (I doubt I’d have liked that at night, either! LOL!) Funny how sensitive we get to things when isolated. We have my eldest daughter and family staying with us for a few weeks, mid house move. With summer finally arriving too, it is strange how quickly we get back into the swing of company and ‘real life’. 🙂

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