In less than three weeks time it will be a year since I first saw the inside of this flat. I knew straightaway that this could become my home. Within hours I had signed the contract and collected the keys. The next day I ran around the second-hand shops, choosing and paying for essential furniture. The following day my friend delivered a carpet and I fitted it, and my daughter delivered the possesssions she had been storing for me. The day after that was a Monday. All my furniture arrived, and that night I slept here for the first time.
The bedroom was uninhabitable, because of a problem with the floor, and I was waiting for the landlord to fix it. I didn’t have a bed anyway, but was happy to sleep on my sofa-bed in the living room for the time being.
My eldest daughter, Sarah, realised that I hadn’t got around to buying a cooker. I temporarily made do with a microwave, but after a couple of weeks she got so exasperated with me shrugging my shoulders and saying I’d get one eventually, that she bought one for me.
My daughter Claire was using my table while she looked for a new one for her home. Although she felt bad about it, I didn’t mind waiting for her to find the right one; she has a family to care for, while I was on my own. A few weeks of working and eating off a coffee table seemed no hardship.
Although I loved the flat I was not entirely happy. The shock of finding somewhere so suddenly, and moving in so quickly, had made me uneasy. I kept expecting to be told that there had been a mistake, and I couldn’t stay here after all.
Eventually the landlord sorted out the issue with the bedroom floor, I aquired a carpet and a rather uncomfortable, but acceptable, futon, and I started sleeping in the bedroom. My home, however, was still not complete, and I often roamed from room to room, looking out of the windows and staring at the walls, wondering why I couldn’t settle.
Claire found perfect, family-sized dining table, and on the day it arrived, she returned my table to me, with four dining chairs which she didn’t need, because she had bought six new ones. I call this piece of furniture a table, but in fact it is an old GPO desk, with two drawers underneath it. It looks like a small version of an old-fashioned kitchen table, and is big enough to sit four to six people. My brother gave it to me several years ago. His wife had bought it in a sorry state, with the intention of restoring it, but she went off the idea, so I spent several weeks sanding and polishing it until it looked beautiful. I love it more than any other piece of furniture I have ever owned.
I placed my table in the living room, by the bay window. I eat every meal at this table, I lean on it as I read, and I sit my laptop on it. As I am writing I can look out of my window and see the world going by, watch the sunset, and see the nearby trees change their clothing as the seasons progress. I have no television, and little use for my two comfortable sofas unless a guest shows up and wants to sit on one of them. If I am not out, asleep, cooking, cleaning or showering, I am sitting at this table.
If anyone asks me where I live, I tell them I have a flat at this address, but really, I live at my table. Everything else within the flat is just a background for my true home, my beautiful old table.
©Jane Paterson Basil