Monday, August 28, 2006

A Dirty Weekend

I've just had a dirty weekend - a very very very dirty weekend.


Where are your minds!

Not that sort of dirty weekend - actually, I would never call that dirty anyway.

No. the reason I've been so very dirty this weekend is that I foolishly decided it was time to renovate my office.Well past time really. The carpet was here when we bought this house (17 years ago) and I don't know how long it had been down then. Years. Lots of them. And since then seven cats (three now deceased), one roof cave-in as a result of snow and a leak in the roof they put up to replace that one, haven't exactly helped keep what was already elderly looking anything like respectable. Add in inadequate amounts of bookshelves and an ever growing collection of books - that's the problem with writing for a living - you keep getting copies of the books you write - and then you get international copies - and then lovely people you know who also write for a living give you signed copies of their books . . .

And so, last week, I decided I'd had enough. I couldn't live with the mess any more. A trip to the carpet sellers discovered a half price sale - which concentrated my mind pretty rapidly. And once the carpet had been chosen, measured up and ordered, I was committed. Which meant that if the new carpet was to go in, then the old one had to come out.

And if the old carpet had to come out then the seven bookshelves (each with six shelves inside them) and the books - that's 42 shelves of books - some (okay, many of them) doubleracked that had to be moved out and stored elsewhere until the carpet goes in.

And there's all the papers and stationery, and the bits and pieces . . . It clearly wasn't going to be done in a single day. So that was how I spent the Bank Holiday weekend.

When we took up the carpet, it was to find that the underlay was so ancient it wan't even there - The whole underlay had disiintegrated and there was just dust. Lots and lots and lots of dust. There was more dust behind the bookshelves - more dust on the books. Books just attract dust, no matter how many times you clean. There were box files of research, there were CDs, there were piles of paper to sort - my filing 'system' tends to end up on the floor.

And there were the books to prune. Nothing is going back into the 'new' office that I don't really want to keep. And I actually managed to collect up a big bag of discards. So I might have a little more space on the shelves.

So now I'm sitting here in a room that feels as large and echoing as an aircraft hanger. There is a concrete floor (this room once used to be the garage), there's my desk, a phone, a chair and of course Sid on the window sill. And that's it.

But it feels wonderfully airy and light - and clean and in another 3 days there will be the new carpet beige/rust) and the new bookshelves (birch) and all the books etc etc will come back in. And so will all the papers andsome - most of the clutter. But if I get the time that I plan this week even that will be pruned and - fingers crossed - sorted.

So if the principles of Feng Shui (whatever happened to the great Feng Shui craze?) work, it should be a brilliant time for a fresh start.

Which will be just perfect with a new book, a new deadline, and the next 50 titles just waiting for me!

Next - How NOT to Write A Romance Part 3


Michelle Styles said...

I am betting your old carpet was not as old as my old carpet in the living room. When we took it up a few years ago, there was a handwritten label about it coming by cart to Haydon Bridge... The piles of dust underneath it were incredible.

But congrats on the new book and the new deadline...and the wonderfully room...

Julie Day said...

I sort of know how you feel about the dust. Last week at work, my colleague and I decided to clean some trays which hadn't been cleaned since we've had them (since 1999) and the dirt that came off them. Yuk. We had to use a wipe for each tray. At least it's all set now for the new year.

Anne McAllister said...

Kate, It sounds wonderful. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. But I must admit I'm a little surprised that Sid hasn't lobbied for a purple carpet and a sign declaring it An Alternate Throne Room!

Anna Lucia said...

Wow, that must have been a lot of hard work, Kate! But I'm sure it looks lovely (or at least, will when you're finished) and will feel fabulous to work in.

Kate Walker said...

Michelle - no, not quite as old as one that would be delivered by cart! But the piles of dust were there.

Hi Julie - That sounds like the sort of cleaning I had to do - but I moved into this room to work in 1989 - so that's ten years more dust behind the shelves.

Anne, I'm so looking forwar to showing you the new office. I think Sid has acccepted that the new carpet (which is named 'Biscuit' ) will show off his beautiful fur to purrfection - or perhaps he just thinks that I'm putting down lots and lots of biscuits on the floor.

Anna, you would know - like Anne you've seen the room in its original form - so you'll be one of those best able to appreciate the changes. I hope you can come and see them soon


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