I live in a Victorian terrace in a suburb of South London, a red-brick affair not dissimilar to those that share its era and location. The house is across three storeys, turned out in a neat fashion with wooden floors and neutral walls.
Both reception rooms are large, with high ceilings and feature fireplaces, neither of which have been lit since I have owned the property. The lounge has appropriate furnishings – sinking sofas, straining bookshelves, a flat-screen mounted upon the wall. A small kitchen is discovered to the rear, recently renovated so the wooden work surfaces and cupboards lack the signs of my chaotic cooking technique; no oil spills or wine stains or scuff-marks. It overlooks a square of parkland, which has a boundary on all other sides; tall oak trees that are hanging onto much of their foliage because of the mild winter we are having.
Upstairs are the bedrooms, the master of which – even from the warmth of my duvet – enjoys a fine view across the park through the doors of the Juliet balcony. The final room is the Study, containing my desk upon which sits my beaten-up laptop. To be truthful it is erroneous to call it the ‘Study’ as no actual educational activity goes on in here, but we do so to keep the nomenclature simple. In fact it houses all manner of redundant shit; from bedding to kitchen equipment to recycling boxes to wine racks to my box of tools.
The ‘Study’ also has a view of the park, and when I sit in front of my laptop and find myself stuck for words, it is to this view I turn to stare and gawp and dribble. This is the room of my failure; this is the room where I cannot join words together to form sentences or paragraphs or chapters or blog posts or novels. This is the room I should call ‘Redundant Shit’, but while my screen remains blank, I find the view of the park is nice, because of the mild winter we are having.