Thursday, December 15, 2011

The end of an era...

Quite a momentous occasion happened this week - after seven years in my tiny one-bedroomed flat, I finally moved out...

This is where I have written and edited all three of my novels - Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World and It Started With a Kiss - most of which on the ubiquitous white (or not-so-white) sofa, which came with the flat and has featured in many of my vlogs this year. Is it possible to put a blue plaque on a soon-to-be-retired piece of furniture?

So, for the last three years, this has been my perennial view when I've been writing:

The photo of me and Bob was taken when we first started dating five years ago and it's one of my favourites, and the baby pics are of my beautiful niece Freya (who will be three in January). The sparkly bag is what I take to gigs and it contains a selection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces for blingin' it up when I perform with The Peppermints (the inspiration for The Pinstripes in It Started With a Kiss.)

I did have a desk in the corner of my living room, in what I called my 'Van Gogh Corner':

The cafe picture (The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night) is my favourite Van Gogh painting and the portrait of him came free with a newspaper years ago. It's nice to be able to chat to Vince, although he isn't the most encouraging person to look at when I'm in the middle of edits! The desk was from the first office my Dad worked in when he was 16, so is a bit of a family heirloom, but after I had a health scare in the middle of the Fairytale edits I couldn't sit there for long periods of time, so the sofa became my venue of choice for working.

The box of tea you can see on the desk is one of my prized possessions - the fab people at Yorkshire Tea found out that I'd mentioned their excellent tea in Fairytale of New York and made me my very own personalised box of Yorkshire Tea! It will take pride of place on my new desk and will never be opened!

At Christmas, my desk invariably became the place to display my tiny Christmas tree - very festive!

One of the things I will miss the most is the view from my living room window towards the glass foundry on the opposite side of the canal. This time last year, a beautiful haw frost covered everything in white and it was the most amazing sight to gaze out on while I was writing.

While my flat has been an important part of my life - it was my first real home after my divorce and a total God-send to have my own front door and space, scene of quite a few dating memories (and disasters) and the place where I first began work as a published author when my writing dream came true after years of scribbling in secret - it is time to move on. I'm planning my wedding to my lovely Bob next September, have another novel currently being considered by publishers and am making big plans for next year, all of which require more space.

So on Saturday, I said goodbye to Richardson Drive, Wollaston, and moved five miles up the road to a lovely Victorian terraced house which I'm renting from my lovely chum Andi and his wife-to-be Caroline (Andi is one of the inspirations for Jack in It Started With a Kiss). It has two bedrooms so, for the first time in my life, I will have a dedicated writing room! At the moment (after this pic was taken) it is filled with boxes, books and bin bags, but I hope to set it up completely over Christmas. It's going to be a writing room and eventually a small studio where I can work on new songs - I'm so excited to finally have space after tripping over piles of books for the past seven years... (oh, and those curtains? Totally going once I move in!)

It was really odd to see my little flat all empty and ready for the next chapter of its history. And the infamous white sofa, while quite possibly the most uncomfortable piece of furniture ever, was one of the things I found hardest to leave. Needless to say, I sobbed all the way to my new home - but then, isn't that a good thing when a place has been so important in your life? You may have guessed by now that Romily's canalside home in It Started With a Kiss was inspired by my flat - it was my way of paying homage to a place that I have loved for the last seven years of my life.

Onwards and upwards, Dickinson!

And to finish, here's my last glimpse of the unassuming star of my vlogs, site of over three hundred thousand words and the seat where many worlds were created: ladies and gentlemen, I give you - the wonderful Richardson Drive Sofa...

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