Life goes on.
Tricky, isn't it? You move into your family home, and find yourself left with two massive boxes of your parents' memories - '000s of photos, cricket-scorecards, panto programmes, entertainment and TV contracts, National Service mementoes... Well, my sister finds it tricky, I tend to be a bit more ruthless about it: Unless it speaks to me and my memories of my parents, it's going in the bin. If it has a sliver of personal context, I'll digitise it - and then it goes in the bin. One or two choice items, I'll make something to remind me or others of them... and hang it in the house. Which was theirs, before it was ours.
Life goes on.
...a shedload of which has been eaten in this room over the years. Because, when the family moved here in 1971, this room became my Nan's kitchen (she'd lived with my parents since they married - or, perhaps more accurately, they had lived with her). Nana used to do inhouse school-run and babysitting duties (lucky parents, do you know what we have to pay for that stuff nowadays?!) and typically this is where I would end my primary-school day, scoffing Nimble toast with apricot jam. Nimble toast is basically crisp air: you can eat a loaf a sitting.
When my Nan died, the room was left empty - until my Dad started using it in his last few years - we moved him onto the middle floor and installed a stairlift, as his mobility was pretty limited, but he had to be within reach of a bathroom.
So, after my Dad died, the room looked like this:
We ripped out the kitchen before we made any decision to move into 102, as no-one would lend on a property that had two kitchens - it put off buyers.
Then we decided to move in. And I had to have a room that I could work from, as did Al. Told the sparks that Nana's kitchen was now the study, please string some Cat6 to the cupboard under the stairs and put in lots of points:
In time, we stripped it, had it replastered, put downlighters in the ceiling, removed the gas connections, replaced the radiator, installed bamboo flooring, new double-glazing, had shelves built, finally emptied 20 boxes of books, sprayed some paint around:
And then we had venetians put in throughout the house, bought some proper desks, rejigged the arrangement a bit, hung my guitars on the walls (territory thing)... and it looks like this:
Also: I bought the world's best office chair. Call me fickle.
Not quite finished yet. Think the lighting needs some twiddling. But I love this room and spend a lot of time in it - if I work from home, this is where I am all day. It's 50:50 whether this is my favourite so far, or our bedroom, which was Nana's lounge - more on that later. Most of all, I take huge pleasure in the fact that, 40 years ago, I was sitting no more than 3 feet from where I am now - loving apricot jam, on Nimble toast.
I suppose it's necessary to acknowledge these Gregorian milestones, if only so we have a metric basis for assessing how much time we have left on this mortal coil. Although Pope Greg XIII failed to accommodate the extent to which perceived time accelerates as a function of age, so it's really not very useful.
Anyway, I had a wonderful time and everyone loved me. Move along now please, nothing more to see here.