I loved my parents’ bedroom. We had big bay windows, downstairs they were floor to ceiling but upstairs the glass started at knee height, not that that gave a lot more modesty. The rooms would be rectangular otherwise except for the fireplace, which was set at an angle to send the warmth into the room. My parents had the room with the ensuite bathroom and dressing room, though the last of those could be accessed from the landing as well as the bathroom. They had an elegant four-poster bed and I liked to swing round the posts when I was a child. My mother used to tell me to stop, saying that the bed was very old – but I thought that was silly, if it was so old then it was used to being swung on.
Actually, that bed was one of my very early memories. I was only three when we moved from Weymouth to Oulton Broad and I have very few memories of our flat at the hotel. One was going down a corridor, looking into their room and seeing the bed being dismantled, an unusual enough sight to have lodged in the little Z brain.
The rug was white with pink and blue flowers, as far as I remember and there was a big round table in the bay. On the side wall was a triangular window sill, and the dogs used to keep watch from that. My parents could hear the watch change during the night, we were well guarded. The dogs also slept on their bed, which was male territory – the female dogs could sleep with me, my sister or wherever they wanted, but not on the four-poster or under it, a place known as The Club. The rug was bare under the bed, where the dogs scratched a comfortable place. I used to crawl underneath sometimes, but I never set up camp there.
There was a big, deep bath which was panelled in black, though it had claw feet and was rather handsome without the panel. Although there was another bathroom, that was mostly for guests and my sister and I used our parents’. We weren’t expected to knock when we went in to bathroom or bedroom, though there was a sign on the door saying ‘engaged’ on one side and ‘disengaged’ on the other. I have that hanging on my bathroom door now, not that it’s ever turned. Being small, I used to lie full-length in the bath with just my nose out of the water, gently floating.