Sunday, January 06, 2013

Inside stories

Many years ago I'd find myself on the top deck of a red bus between Hackney and the Docklands every weekday. It was never too late. I'd finish work at five and choose the one long bus method because the shorter two train method was too sardine can stressful and being at the start of the route meant I always always got a seat. I'd usually have my head in a book and an iPod headphones in my ears.

On wintery London evenings though I would inevitably put the book away and gaze out. As the bus slowly trundled along I could see lights in living rooms and bedrooms being turned on as families came home and settled in for long nights against the cold. Fireplaces being lit, Christmas trees being decorated, heads bent over school books at desks and 'tea' being eaten at dining tables - just a few of the thousands of little household snapshots being played out in everyday life. I always found these scenes heartening, the hunkering down at home, the ordinariness of these moments, the camaraderie of family and friends. Sunshine in gloom.

As the winter went by and as these observations continued day after day it went from just a snapshot to noticing smaller details when buses stopped at crossings or stops. And I was always interested in what types of bookshelves or style of decor I could spot. This became a little game and I soon adjudged one particular house from amidst a row of Victorian terraces as the one with the best taste. No scientific data or objective-ness went into this game. I liked that I could see a wall of wooden built bookshelves on the far wall of a small living room filled to the brim with books.

It was my winner and I admired it for three winters in a row.

It always made me think about my own home and what someone would think could they look into the high floor of an apartment block from a mythical giant bus. I guess I would have liked someone to appreciate my own bookshelves and collection. And here I'm asking for some Internet love people. I'm going to post a picture of our few bookshelves, one each day. Tell me what you think - scathing thoughts about my choice of books, gorgeous lines of solid wood, missing tomes you believe every house should have. Whatever. Just say yay or nay. Or just say hello, happy new year to you

This is bookshelf One. My second furniture love and the prize possession we bought when we bought our own home. We have left it for our tenants and someday I have every intention of claiming it back for myself. It lived next to our dining table (picture one) but was moved into the living room before the house was shown to prospective tenants (picture two). I think I'd like to place it in my bedroom some day, an imaginary fabulous large bedroom with a seating area in it.


  1. Anonymous11:55 PM

    I do that too! My husband tells me off for being a house-snoop but I can't stop. It's so wonderful to see/imagine people's lives. Your bookshelf is beautiful - especially the dark wood. Hope you get to claim it back soon!

  2. Anonymous5:56 PM


    Happy New Year to you..
    Love your bookshelf - the dark wood is lovely and it looks solid and dependable.
    My only problem with open bookshelves is the dust that accumulates, being the lazy person that I my resolve is to only buy bookshelves with doors in the future, which seriously limits my choice, as all the lovely designs dont seem to come with doors.

  3. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Hello. Happy New Year. Mwah. Cant wait to see if you have bought any new bookshelfs!


  4. Anonymous6:56 PM

    Did I just type "bookshelfs"? Oops!

  5. Long time reader and lurker

    For bookshelves ... Hv to say - wow!!!! They are amazing :) envy them and wishfully look at them hoping... one day...

    More please :)