If you have the right people helping you, so much can be accomplished in a single week.
I mentioned that the larger room in the front of the house—one of the original 150-plus-year-old rooms—was very large. Probably too big for a bedroom. Yet I wanted a guest bedroom. The other problem that needed solving was what to do with the thousands of books I’d brought from Brisbane, books that have been collected over a lifetime. Though it’s not fashionable these days to collect books, there are enough bibliophiles left in the world who still love them, to feel vindicated by what I wanted to do. People who love the smell and feel of books, who write marginalia in them, or who merely read the thoughts of others before them that are left in the margins. Before I’d arrived in Victoria I had parted with probably more books than I’d brought with me, so there’d been a cull. The few thousand I’d bought were therefore definitely my favourite books (give or take one or two that may have sneaked in somehow). Anyway these books have languished in boxes for months with my increasing feeling of frustration of not being able to access them at times when they were needed. For instance, without my bird books I haven’t been able yet to properly identify the glorious little creatures that chirp and flit around in my garden. But this dilemma is about to end. My elder daughter is a fellow bibliophile who has an excellent collection of her own books. She is also a writer and an artist. Utilising this last talent, she drew a picture of the big front room. With bookshelves arranged around a bed. Her partner, a surveyor, measured the room and produced a 3-D version of her drawing. On Monday of this week I gave this to David. He took it home with him and built the bookshelves. On the third day (it has a Biblical ring to it, doesn’t it?) he started assembling them in situ. And guess what? They look gobsmackingly gorgeous. They even smell great. Scotty stained them and lacquered them so that the colour scheme was consistent with the rest of the house.
Now I’ve quibbled about pictures always being worth a thousand words, and here is a classic example. These pictures simply do not do justice to the reality. But here they are anyway. For your delectation. It’s true I still haven’t decided on a bed to go in that big space under the middle row of shelves, or organised the lighting, but these decisions will be made as things are starting to fall naturally into place. Remember, this all happened in a single working week, with repairs to walls, floor, skirting boards and cornices. Even the enormous, old-fashioned sash windows which had previously been painted shut, may now be opened. It would seem that nothing is too difficult for these gentlemen you see on the right of this page. Thank you Dave and Scotty, you’re two in a million.