Click here to read true crime in Murder Most Victorian Learn more...Murder Most Victorian

The Unfortunate Incident in the Conservatory

A writing cave. A state-of-the art computer set-up. A luxurious retreat in the South of France. That was my dream. I would sit and write there, one day, when I became a author. Or so I thought.

I have a study.  It’s the smallest bedroom in the house, boasting enough space for a desk and not much else. I bought a suitably tiny desk, and a special ‘office chair’.

Both were mistakes.

I need space. I need a stack of books to reference. I need many, many pens, because they magically ‘walk’ to other rooms. I can’t work without piles of paper where I doodle and write research reminders, like ‘buy more cake.’

My special chair rotates. This would be perfect in a large, open-plan office; the newspaper office in Superman, for example.  I could swivel round, waving a paragraph of brilliance, shouting ‘hold the front page.’ Instead, I spend my days fighting the swivel. This involves pressing my legs firmly against the edge of the desk.

Besides, my children keep having children. They are delightful, a blessing, the loves of my life, but when they all come for Christmas, we have a challenge.

You have to store those grandchildren somewhere.

The answer is bunk beds –  the smallest on the market. They fit in (just) against the wall. They’re great for stacking a couple of grandsons, but access to my desk is severely restricted.

‘A laptop. That’s the answer,’ I cried. ‘I can work anywhere.’ That’s what led to the recent sad tale:

The Unfortunate Incident in the Conservatory

Here’s the cast list:

an annoying fly,
my special fly-friendly, fly-removing implement,
a lap-top cable,
a tiled floor, and
my kneecap.

My leg is much better now, thank you, but chocs, flowers and cups of tea still very welcome.

The conservatory has other disadvantages. These include:

1 the body count of dead insects on the floor every morning during the summer, no matter how often I attack those pesky spiders’ webs with a broom,

2 the tempting presence of the garden, just a step away, where the sun shines, the bees buzz, and a seat in a cosy corner for reading tempts me away, while my poor, patient editor waits in vain for the next story,

3 the constant nagging desire to visit the vegetables to see how they’re doing. Answer: not very well. See carrot below.

A piece of wood

Description automatically generated
This is my first ever home-grown carrot. Don’t you dare laugh.

I’ve banished myself to the dining room table to write this post, and, as I move on to the next adventure for Adam and Imogen, my ‘odd couple’ heroes of The Ham Hill Murder Mysteries, instead of luxuriating in those glamorous venues I used to dream of, I’m faced with a blank page, an empty mind, and a ticking clock.

But, all is not lost. The kitchen is close by and I think, in fact, I’m almost sure, there’s a slice of coffee cake left in the tin.

Excuse me while I check…