Janet Christie's Mum's the Word - A view with a room

Spaces have meaning that goes beyond four walls and a dodgy carpet
Mum's the Word. Pic: AdobeMum's the Word. Pic: Adobe
Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe

After interviewing Colin MacIntyre aka Mull Historical Society about his new album In My Mind There’s A Room for which he invited writers including Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Jason Mott to send him words about a room that was significant for them, then set their words to music, I’m thinking about rooms in my life when Youngest Child appears.

“Have you ever had a room that you think about or miss?” I ask her.

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“Nah. As someone who's moved between homes I don't miss ‘a room’,” she says.

Hmmm. Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room but look at the positives, the adaptability of a child who grows up moving between homes. She’s also lucky having two rooms to call her own, one at Other Parent’s and one at mine.

One is large and well laid out with acres of storage, painted to her specifications, a desk, her sewing machine, tasteful paintings and floor coverings, a mahoosive telly, and the other, well, it’s a work in progress and as soon as I find the Stanley knife that dodgy carpet is history. At least the visible bit that isn’t eclipsed by the big princessy bed. In my defence, I did source said big princessy bed and matching furniture and have put up loads of shelves, and she does love this room: “It’s homey”.

“Ok, when you're away from home(s), what do you miss?”

“If I go away I miss.... cats…” she says, leaning over to stroke a lounging Missy Elliott whose citrine marquise cut eyes gleam in satisfaction, the pair of them perfect Bond baddies.

“And?” I prompt, smiling in expectation, only to be met with a blank look.

“Your human family? I say. “Brothers? Other Parent? Me, maybe?”

She mulls it over then says: “Phones. I miss phones when I’m away, if I’ve forgotten my charger or there’s no wi-fi. Anyway, got packing to do,” she says and departs.

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She’s going to a trance, dance, techno or something festival in Croatia with her mates, and with the gauntlet thrown, she’s got me thinking. I’ve got a week to kill the carpet and paint the floorboards. How hard can it be? And it’ll be a lovely surprise when she gets back I’m thinking, when a voice comes through the plaster from next door:

“And while I’m away don’t do anything to my room. It’s MY ROOM, remember.”