Wednesday 18 December 2013

A room of one's own

Debilitating pneumonia on the way out, seven-day stay in hospital over, and I am home!  Bliss!

Awed by the level of care I received in hospital: the efficiency, professionalism and compassion of all the staff was inspiring, but oh! the joy of being home where I feel happy, safe and loved.

Convalescence will take quite some time, but here I am in my room, with everything I treasure around me and I can just get on with things albeit a bit slowly.

This is my space where I come to think, to read, to contemplate  or to work. I have always had a room of my own, and it's something I treasure. I think all women need such a space.

This print by Nikitas Flessas hangs above my sofa opposite the window. I am extremely fond of it even though with the sun beating on it directly, it has faded somewhat.

I keep the 'waiting to be read' books on these shelves.

One of Tim Andrews' 'humbugs' which is one of the favourite ceramics I own.

Colette, hanging above the 'humbug' - very faded now but I cannot bear to part from it.  I bought this poster many years ago when I was visiting Paris with a friend, and we were delighted to discover the 'Galerie des Femmes'. Good memories.

I made this porcelain bowl when I was doing ceramics and it sits on my bookshelves.


Two windows in my room and I love looking out.

This raku bowl was a birthday present from Ken, bought during our first visit to Amsterdam. There is a lane off Kalver Straat where you can buy the best chips in the city: they serve them with ketchup or with mayonnaise. The shop, alas, does not exist anymore. That was 18 years ago and we have been there many times since - one of my favourite cities.

The bowl with the orchid is smoke fired made by Nicola Richards, a local artist. The two bowls on the left I bought in New York.

A section of my desk

Detail on my desk. I can't remember the name of the ceramicist who made the candlestick, and the same goes for the three delightful little bowls. The box was a Christmas present from Ken, bought from Judith Haan's gorgeous shop in Amsterdam. The dotty bits are small pieces of ostrich eggshell which were embedded in the wood before it was French polished.

This print of Wivenhoe by Glynn Thomas I bought many years ago, the first time I visited Brighton. We had gone to visit a friend who lived in Cambridge, and on the second day of our visit we decided to go to Brighton for the day. I immediately fell in love with the town, its energy, its mix of different types of people, its alternative feel. We parked by the pier and when we went back to the car in the evening the windshield had been smashed. We decided to drive back to Cambridge rather than wait to have it fixed. I remember sitting on the back seat, freezing, cuddling my friend's little girl to keep her warm.

While in the town, I saw this print in the window, liked it and bought it straight away. I love the print but I also like the fact that it's a representation of Wivenhoe, the village where I lived when I was a student at Essex University.

My time in Wivenhoe was charmed. I was young, independent, open to any possibility that presented itself, and hungry for experience. Life did not disappoint. I had great friends and comrades and together, we had the unshakable belief that we would change the world. A whole new set of ideas was also starting to emerge, women speaking out, questioning the status quo, their position in society and the images that were presented of women - all that was such a revelation for me, all these feelings and half-formed thoughts that I had had in my head from a very young age being articulated and developed and put into action. Heady days. And it's in Wivenhoe where I met Ken who has been my dear companion through life ever since.

A vessel by Tim Andrews sitting on an Art Deco box I picked up in a junk box, on the edge of my desk.

This water colour of a rose by Kay Elliot, a local artist, hangs above the box with the Tim Andrews.

We had left the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York, which is opposite Central Park, and decided to walk all the way down Madison Avenue, to Times Square, and then Hell's Kitchen, which is where our hotel was. We found this delightful shop on Madison Avenue that sold Japanese ceramics. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. And the prices were not too bad. I love this tiny vessel with the oxide line running down the side. I keep it on my desk.

A small bowl, porcelain with blue oxide which I made in my ceramics class.

Three ceramic spinning tops by Eleni Vernadaki. This was the first work of hers I bought. I am a bit obsessed with her ceramics and I try to get one piece every year, particularly since she is nearing 80 so will probably not be working for much longer. I keep all the other pieces of hers I own in Greece.

This is another of my pieces. I had great fun making these - I used a ball as an inverted mould. It's stoneware with various oxides.

We bought these in a flea market in Berlin. I don't buy antiques or vintage items anymore, in fact, I have lost interest, but I really liked these. The one on the right is Art Deco and the one on the left is from the 50s.

This is the view out of my windows. I spend most of the time working at my desk, or sitting on the sofa reading.

The two yews were trimmed two weeks ago and I think they look fabulous.


  1. What an experience for you! I had been imagining that you were busy preparing for Christmas in Athens. But I'm delighted that you are now recovering back home.
    It is also always delightful to see someone's special place and their collection of special objects. Your room looks bright and welcoming with your books, ceramics, and view - and what looks like a sofa for extremely comfortable reading.

    1. It's been grim, Olga. I was rushed into hospital the day before we were due to go to Greece, so these plans have been shelved for now. Hopefully we will be able to go sometime in March. We'll be spending Christmas with Ken's family, so that will be nice. I'm feeling very positive though, and hope that convalescence won't take too long.

    2. Well, I'm very pleased indeed that you are on the way to OK. Take it easy, and make full use of the opportunity to relax and read lots!