Look at this place, it’s where I’ve spent the best part of the last week. I’ve been sitting here, getting fat(ter than normal,) writing and writing and writing. It’s like something from Harry Potter. Actually, what am I on about? I haven’t even seen any Harry Potter films. But it looks like the sort of place that seems to feature quite heavily in Harry Potter. A cross between that and a church.
It smells – of wood and polish and very old books. The desks overlook the gallery and are designed to be exactly the correct height and angle for laptops. The sky and the grand statues outside look wobbly through the leaded windows. Beyond the heavy, wooden door, there’s no work, no dirty washing, no clean washing, no washing up, no dinner money bills, no football kit, no swimming trunks, no drama club, no bills, no phone calls, none of the other stuff that usually fills my brain instead of words for my book. Along the corridor is the kitchen, where my (delicious) meals have been made for me. I haven’t had to think about cleaning up afterwards (apart from carrying a tray across a room.) Opposite that is the lounge, with massive old Chesterfields and a real fire, really good coffee and lovely, interesting people to talk to. My bedroom’s upstairs. I don’t even have to leave the building to go up to bed. I just walk up the big, creaky staircase and I’m there. This is Gladstone’s Library, the UK’s only residential library. And it’s writing paradise. I cannot recommend it enough.
I have just spent five nights doing nothing but writing (and eating) and it feels wonderful. The book is still not ready, but it is closer than it has ever been. I am sitting in the silent lamplight of the library now, with half an hour left until the door clunks shut for the night. It’s magic – and I wanted to write about it while I am still under the spell. I almost don’t want to leave…
It’s been perfect, but I have missed my daily drawing and morning cuddles. Where’s Tom? He’s with his amazing Nan having a magical week too. They’ve been to the seaside, a country fair, an art gallery, he’s had a picnic in the front garden with a massive cuddly dog. I keep getting photo updates. I am seeing him in the morning and I am going to get the biggest hug in the history of the entire universe, apparently. Which is a good job, really. I’ll need it.
If you have something you need to finish, if you really want to be studious and serene, come here. It’s just the place. (It’s so good, I didn’t want to tell, but I promised them I’d spread the word…)