This blog is dedicated to an unassuming front room in the hills of North London. It is situated on the first floor of a terraced house build ca 1880. I don’t know much about its previous life. But over the last 15 years the room has done a remarkable job.
This front room used to be our kitchen. For years we cooked and ate in there. I also gave birth to our son in this room. Eventually we turned the kitchen into a library, with big bookshelves all around. Peirene took her first breath here too. Since then the Nymph and I meet in this room every day. And every four months the office is cleared in preparation for the Peirene Salon to make way for authors and guests.
But this is not the end of the story. The front room has now become a proper company HQ, with three company executives – director, marketing director, store manager – plus one intern sharing the space. Moreover, the room and I have visions for the future. Two painter friends, Whitney McVeigh and Sarah Pickstone, deal with ‘writing’ in their work. Whitney uses ink and print, Sarah references women writers in her paintings. I like to hang a work by each above the wall where the authors sit during the Salon.
There is only one small issue with the room. My husband still thinks it is his study too and claims territorial rights over bookshelves. Every now and again, behind my back, he reorganizes them to make space for his new books. He thinks I won’t notice. But I do. Furthermore he also has designs on the mantle-piece. Today a photograph of his father appeared there in an over-heavy frame. I have shown commendable patience with his little game so far. Long may this continue – my patience, not his game. That said I recognize that rooms, initiatives and lives are usually best shared.
It is also true that some spaces are haunted by ghosts, others possess energies. I don’t know if I believe such tales or not. But I certainly know that without my front room Peirene and I would be out on street.
Image by BioDivLibrary.