One thing that has been on mind is the question of electronic appliances. The fire is electric, as are the lights and lamps, but what else should be allowed into the study? Eventually, I decided that there will not be a television, or a wireless, or an audio system, and so on. I've ordered a period-style telephone, but it's coming from China, so may never arrive. But what else? After much umming and ahhing, I settled on using an old laptop - I say old, it's about six or seven years old, which in hardware terms is positively antediluvian. And I think, oddly, it works. I could, of course, go the whole steampunk route with it, but I believe that would be going too far. It can live in the top drawer of the bureau, and come out as and when required. It would be perverse, I think, to deny the impact of the computer on modern life, and I would be lost without t'internet when I'm writing or researching, activities which are, after all, what studies are intended for.
In addition to my samovar, I have a coffee mill. It's a modern thing, made to look 'period', and cost me £19.95 + £1.95 p&p, from an online seller. The top of the drum slides open, the coffee beans go in, the handle is turned, and the ground coffee falls into the little drawer at the bottom. A screw on the top adjusts the grade of the grind.
I've been buying rugs over the past few weeks. Now that the sanding, grinding, and drilling are done, it's time to bring them out. This first rug was the first item I bought when the idea of the study was settled in my mind. I had my leather chair, so I needed a Persian carpet to put it on. Now, real Persian rugs are far too expensive for my pocket, but a Persian-style one I could manage. So I bought this one - from eBay, £12.99 plus £7.99 p&p.
I was so pleased with it, I bought another. This one cost me £12.59, with £10 p&p. It needs a clean, which I'll do when the better weather comes, but I had to have it.
Now my blood was up, I bought yet another; this one is more oriental-looking, and I paid £4 for it. I went over to Bolton to pick it up, so no p&p. The young woman it came from had the most amazing house I've seen in years - she'd decorated it entirely from auctions and charity shops, and from the outside it was a bog-standard 50s council house. On the inside, it was a French chateau. Ormolu mirrors, Empire-style chairs, silk carpets. And opulence in spades. If I was half my age, I'd have dropped on one knee and proposed then and there.
Finally, reckoning I'd just enough room for another couple of rugs, I went all Out of Africa on myself and bought these.
Both from the same seller, again in Bolton, picked up on the same day as the rug above. The woman who sold them to me had redecorated, and they didn't fit in with her new decor. They are real animal skins - which some people may find distasteful these days, but I wear leather belts and shoes, and eat the flesh of fish, fowls and beasts, so I've no qualms about pelts on my floor. She told me bought them in Spain and she'd paid £65 for the zebra and £35 for the Thomson's gazelle - I paid her £22.80 for the zebra and £10.59 for the gazelle, so I think I got a bargain.