So, how do you furnish your rooms? I do it with books, the Sage with pictures. I would like to be less cluttered than we are, but I lost the battle a long time ago. If there’s a space, the Sage fills it. I’m not saying I like to be tidy, I’m a bit uncomfortable if it’s too tidy. The Sage doesn’t notice anyway.
I think, in most marriages, one party does the tidying up? Or grumbles if it’s not to their liking, anyway. Unfortunately, that’s neither of us – well, I do the tidying up in the end, but only because the Sage never would. This is quite all right, it’s his house and his choice. I wouldn’t care for him to fuss around telling me to put things away and I don’t do it to him; I’m not his mother-figure. I do occasionally tell him that the level of squalor distresses me, and he wrings his hands and promises reform, but I know he doesn’t mean it for a minute. When he leaves something lying around, it’s usually not for a month that I politely mention it and he immediately puts it away, assuring me that he was going to do it that very day, in any case.
Anyway, rooms – I don’t see the point of chairs that are stylish at the expense of comfort. My mother would choose style over comfort, but I wouldn’t. But I’m not that practical. I like a bedroom that looks like a sitting room that happens to have a bed in it, so there are Victorian chaise longues and settees in there and no dressing table. And the bathroom, cloakroom and kitchen are all wallpapered. Nothing clinical at all, no gleaming tiles. Bare floorboards in the bathroom, that haven’t been sealed and are, once in a while, scrubbed.
Mostly, comfort and togetherness. When my children were young, their computer was in the drawing room. A cluttered corner and sound effects from games was preferable to them being franked up in the hold of a far-away bedroom. I played the games too, until they got too graphic and too difficult for me. Just as I read children’s books; we were part of the same family, until they reached the age of teenage (mostly) distance.
Now, my own computer is in here, in the drawing room, and a messy corner that is too. I don’t care, it’s where I work. And where I am now. I could be in the study – and before wifi, I would have been, but that’s hardly family-friendly (though actually, the Sage would probably be in there with me).
The only essential in every room is books. I can’t do without, even when I’m not reading them. Like Rog, the internet has taken over to an alarming extent, though I still become engrossed if it’s a good enough book. I’m afraid that few newly-published ‘literary’ books are worth bothering with. I’ve read too much well-reviewed, even prizewinning, dross and I’m not up for that much disappointment any more. The most recent book I have bought for myself is about old vegetable and fruit varieties, which is really interesting. ‘Forgotten Fruits’, it’s called.
The other thing I really like is the washing machine in a room of its own, with a drain in the floor. Once you’ve had one flood in the kitchen, you don’t want another.
I like clocks, but I don’t like the ticking, so they’re never wound up. And I like a big table so that lots of us can all eat comfortably together. And I like nice silver, but I’m not bothered about the glasses. They always go cloudy from the dishwasher in the end, or else I break them, so I buy cheap glasses. And I don’t bother about matching mugs. They are quite random, but at least I’ll give myself the chipped one. The matching cups and saucers are late Victorian, quite without value but delicate.