14 August 2014
I converted the downstairs bedroom in our rented house in Ipoh into my writing room. I chose this room because it is the coolest room in the house – it gets no sun at all but there is a fair amount of light. I removed the landlord’s heavy curtains and furniture. I installed our dining table at the window and now use it as a desk. The view from the window is pleasant – I can see across our small front garden to the river beyond. I watch the birds eating the food I put out for them. I see the monkeys in the trees on the other side of the river and glimpse the occasional monitor lizard swimming lazily through the water. Diana Athill, commenting on the photo of her writing room published in The Guardian, wondered how any serious writer could work at a window because of the distractions. Clearly I am not a serious writer! Our glass-fronted bookcase lines one wall of the room and is filled with the small collection of books we brought with us, including my wonderful Oxford English Dictionary and Shakespeare’s Complete Works. They have been joined by a growing number of books about Malaysia. My modest collection of African pottery is displayed on top of the bookcase. On the opposite wall (not visible in the photograph) I pinned up a huge map of the world, complete with bright stickers on the cities that we have visited. I am hopeful that we will add some stickers in the next few years. This then is the room in which I write my blog and do the editing jobs that I so enjoy.