This morning, my Big Daughter finished her A levels. This is good on many counts - not least because it means I can have my office back. Out with Hitler, Sartre, Truffaut, biological systems and inorganic chemistry. The piles of past papers and the coloured pens, the post-it notes and (worse) the dirty cups, plates, knives, spoons, empty Gu pots and discarded jumpers, shoes and jewellery can all be banished. And perhaps I will get some work done again.
My office is the nicest place in the house to work, and for the last three summers it has been taken over by the exam victim. It's my own fault - I suggested she use it during GCSEs to escape the noise and hassle of her sister (her own room being too untidy to work in), and so set a bad precedent. The result has been that I get no work done in May and June. Why, when writing can be done anywhere - and is often done in the library or Borders cafe - is it suddenly impossible to do it in the house if my space has been invaded by the detritus of A levels? My office is messy beyond belief anyway. But usually it's my mess and I know where to find things in it. I know why there is a flamingo wishbone and where the volcanic rocks are and how many chocolates are left and which CDs don't work and how the books are (dis)ordered on the shelves and which pile of papers conceals a working pen. And somehow it doesn't work if there are differet pens and books about evolution or active transport on top of the clutter that belongs here. And if Facebook is always logged into her account...grrr.
So tonight she is out drinking by the river in Grantchester and I am bundling up past papers and French DVDs as fast as possible so that tomorrow, perhaps, my characters will be able to creep back out of the corners and take back their space and do something. For the last six weeks they have lurked, sullen and contrary, refusing to do anything. But tomorrow they must get back to work.