We’d all love our own big library, well appointed with all our favourite books. And we all have different ideas about what it would be like – light, modern and airy, or high ceilinged, traditional and quiet; cool, with square windows and an atrium which encourages the light to flood in, or warm, with plenty of wood panelling, and a wide balcony round the upper floor, high arched windows and deep armchairs.
My ideal would be of the latter variety; open and high, wood panelled and deep carpets, deep buttoned armchairs and sofas, reading lights on leather-clad side tables near every chair.
But whatever the details, we’d all want our own cosy corner, with a favourite recliner, near a window and next to a radiator. And on late summer days, when a heavy rain falls, and plays a steady tune outside the open window; and your pleasant lunch is followed by the inviting opportunity of a lazy afternoon – well, there’s nothing else to do, and nowhere else to go, other than pick up your current book from the table by the door, and make your way to your favourite corner.
The house is quiet; everyone’s either gone out or retreated into their own plans for the day. There’s just you and the dog, and all he wants to do is to wait until you’ve chosen your spot, so he can lie down at your side and sleep.
Then you’re in your chair, feet up, and relaxing into the tales the pages tell. The dog snores softly, outside the rain drums its gentle rhythm, tapping on the slates and pinging into the gutters; and your attention drifts gently from the words before you, to something you heard yesterday, or a place the book reminds you of, or another story, and you let these distracted thoughts softly meander through your mind, until your fingers relax, the eyes gently close, the book slips softly with a bump, and the dog, disdainful of the intrusion, stares at you resentfully, and moves to a safer spot in another corner.
But without knowing it, you’re lost in another reverie; in a world of half-forgotten names, indistinct faces, and places so familiar yet, oddly, different. Your journey takes you to worlds long-forgotten, realms yet undiscovered, and companions only half remembered. And the hour passes before you slowly wake, yawn, stretch and see that you need to light the lamp before you return to the welcome world of recto and verso.
Those dreams, those musings, those reveries – these are the joys and pleasures of the quiet corner…