Remember the childhood hymn 'Jesus Bids Us Shine'? It was one of my favourites at school; I loved the image of the candle burning brightly, with a 'cool clear light', illuminating the darkness, but most of all I loved the line 'You in your small corner, and I in mine'. It identified one of my favourite things in the world; a small corner of my own.
We moved a lot when I was growing up, and frequent moves meant I craved my own 'small corner', to help me feel at home. Anywhere would do; a bedside table, a mantlepiece, a little cupboard that was for my exclusive use. In or on this would go my best loved books; some pebbles and small stones that had caught my eye, a few sweets, a favourite pencil or two, and some paper or a notebook. Having my treasures gathered together helped me to settle in to each new place.
Sharing a room at boarding school, then flat sharing for some years in Edinburgh, cemented this habit. Throughout those years I always identified a corner of my own for music (cassette tapes); magazines ('Cosmopolitan' of course), letters from home, notebooks and paper and a favourite pen, and a few pretty stones.
When I met and moved in with Derek, to the smallest flat imagineable in Glasgow (having left behind my spacious, gracious, shabby but beautiful tenament flat in Edinburgh, which afterwards for many years we wished we had bought instead), I claimed a tiny corner of our tiny sitting room for my stationery, treasured books and correspondence. That little table was a strictly no go area for Derek, with his half empty coffee mugs and dusty album covers. Bemused but obliging, he left it untouched.
Even now, when I have a whole house, and when the rest of the family laughingly regards the kitchen, with its clutter of crockery, cake tins and recipe books, as my personal domain, I still craved my own 'small corner'.
This desire was recently wholly satisfied by the arrival of 'Mrs Doubtfire',* a rather battered writing bureau, found in a charity shop, eagerly purchased, and brought home with some difficulty in the back of my car. I must here reveal that Derek does not share my taste for elderly, shabby pieces of furniture, and despite having agreed to the purchase of 'a desk' actually yelled aloud in horror when he came home from work and saw the particular desk I had chosen. (I suspect he envisaged a flat pack called 'Liatorp' or 'Stuva' from a certain swedish store...) A few tense days followed, where Mrs Doubtfire's remaining in the house seemed in doubt, until he grudgingly accepted that this was the desk I wanted, not a 'nice' new one.
So I now have my ultimate cosy corner. My own desk, beside the fire, and the window that looks out on to our apple blossom trees on my right. It is slowly filling up with my favourite stationery, pens, pencils and notebooks. And it is where I write this blog.
If you are like me, you will want to know what is in all the cubby holes at the back, so here is a close up.
In one of the small drawers, some favourite stones.
I am so happy with my small corner, it is perfect for my needs. There are spacious drawers underneath, where I can slip my laptop when not in use, and keep letters and paper, projects and files, and, like the best treasure chest in the world, the drawers lock, with their own, small, pretty key.
Do you have a cosy corner of your own? A favourite chair or desk, or a table where you keep your treasures? Where do you sit to write letters, or your blog, or stories?
*so called because I bought it the day after dear Robin Williams died, and it has bandy legs and is full of surprises.