Monday, November 28, 2022


For family reasons I have not been paying close attention to the news and now the family has gone and the brand new baby has settled on her twig, I have no excuse. I’m back to the news, but I really can’t take it. Everything in Britain is broken. 

I have backed away in despair and this week I’m focusing on trying to make changes at home - somewhere I actually have some influence and can make things better if I put some effort in. 

My easel and table and painting table have been taking up half of our sitting room for over two years 

and it’s only been moved out when people come for a substantial visit. The family left on Thursday and the stuff is still cleared away and I’m loving our civilised tidy sitting room and don’t want to clutter it up again. (Dave cares not a whit. He likes having creative stuff around the house, and he just doesn’t register clutter.) 

But I do, and I want to rearrange things. I have a large desk in my study on which sits the laptop: this is where I wrote my six books. Nowadays the laptop is only used for blogging, editing our bi-monthly Quaker Meeting newsletter, and business stuff too complex to do on the iPad. Oh, and meetings on zoom. But it’s a laptop. So do I really need a dedicated desk?

If I got rid of the desk and moved stuff around, I’d have room to paint in there. I’d have to put plastic floor covering down to protect the carpet, and I’d have to take the curtains down on the side where I’m going to paint because I am an unbelievably messy painter. You wouldn’t believe how messy. That’s why I bought the boiler suit.

When I first thought of getting rid of the desk I panicked: where would I store the clutter that’s in the drawers? Where would I put all the family photographs that sit on the  desk?  But how mad is that? Still, I like my photographs. They’re a comfort. They vibrate love. 

And the crazy cards Wendy sends me: where would I put those?  

However, I am writing this in bed on the iPad and looking at the fig tree which takes over far too much of the room. How bonkers is that?

I just came across this on Instagram:

It's a photo of the artist Louise Bourgeois at her desk at home on 20th Street in New York City in 2000, photographed by Jean-Francois Jaussard. 

Bourgeois once told a visitor: "I'm using the house, the house is not using me."

So...if I got rid of the fig tree I could put a little desk in that corner. I have just the thing: an under-used bureau that I inherited from my father and his grandfather before. But who wants a bushy six foot high, six feet wide fig tree and how would they transport it home?  It’s an amazing tree and I do keep pruning it but it makes no difference. It will keep getting bigger. Do any of you want it? 

Ok. I just looked up how to radically prune a weeping fig, and my tree doesn’t know what’s about to hit it. 

Phew. I feel better already.

I can prune the fig, have a small desk in the corner, get rid of the large desk in the study and move my painting in there and the study can become a studio. 

Hmm. I still don’t know what to do with the photographs. 

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