Things Have Gone Awry…

I had two intentions for today earlier this week, when I was daydreaming of the weekend (well one day off as I was on site with the Tower of London Poppies again yesterday all day). Firstly, I was going to go to a stately home or castle, in order that I keep up with my resolution to do something different every weekend. Secondly, I was going to spend some time finalising some reviews so I could schedule some posts and feel all happy and clever that the blog had lots of content should I have a bonkers set of weekday evenings like last week. This was not to be. Instead I have mainly spent it in a rather over tired and slightly oversensitive grump, or in bloody B&Q because when I came home last night I was greeted by this…


Yes, surprise! Pandemonium. Admittedly I shouldn’t have been that surprised as whilst The Beard has the whole of January off we had discussed that we would finally decorate the bedroom (aka my book hoarding lair aka my reading space) as it has needed it. What I wasn’t expecting was that when I came home, after having spent three hours in the freezing drizzle on a Saturday for work, that I would be welcomed by piles of books in the communal hall and then various other piles of books and moved shelves all over the house. I got somewhat told off for my ‘over reaction’ though I think anyone who is a bibliophile will not only understand that a) there is a system amongst the madness b) that when books are the most precious of your possessions you don’t want them moved especially without your consent. You just don’t touch book lover’s books without them knowing do you? I did not sleep well last night, at all. In fact I am feeling stressed even talking about it now. And the painting and wallpapering hasn’t even commenced yet. Oh I could be sick.

Speaking of paint and wallpaper; is there anything more tedious and stressful than a D.I.Y store? The endless aisles of tins of all shades of paint you could imagine. The row upon row of rolls of all those endless patterns. On your one day off, when you swear you may have caught pneumonia from the day before, it is the last thing you want, especially as the decisions between these things can last a lifetime… well at least until you are brave enough to even consider redecorating again. We did whittle down to the final two choices of paper which we put to twitter, even though we wouldn’t actually let a bunch of predominately strangers sway or decision or destiny if we are honest. It got some very split responses, even long after we made it home not speaking. The winner will be shared in due course.


I have since spent the afternoon in a Location, Location, Location bubble of comfort and reassurance that other people two have very difficult life altering decisions to make. It was much needed, especially as I seem to have developed a stye in my eye (really stressful week at work, lack of sleep, house in ruins) and so can’t currently read for long, or write reviews or lengthy blog posts. What is to become of me?* So really I would love to hear what lovely weekends you have all had and what you have been reading so I can vicariously feel like I have actually had a weekend and read a book or two before I have an early night and then go back to work tomorrow. I would also like your words of support around the moving of books issue, I feel so alone. Just venting has felt like a kind of therapy during this difficult time.** Thanks in advance.

*Note – I am well aware these are first world problems; this post is slightly tongue in cheek.
**Note – I am sometimes a real drama queen.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

39 responses to “Things Have Gone Awry…

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    You have my support! I get *very* scratchy if anyone goes near my books – if I came home and found they’d been hauled about all over the place, I think I might be a very unpleasant person…… Hope all gets sorted soon!

  2. Rhonda

    No one not even my wonderful husband or treasured son touches my book pikes.They step or even at times jump over them but never move.You have my complete support☺

  3. I’m a Pollyanna by nature (isn’t that annoying?) so while I agree the book- moving thing is stressful, focus on the prize – a glorious new home for your books.

  4. You are terrific. Absolutely terrific. It is always a gift to discover someone with true heart — someone whose inner turmoils and mini-moods and passions are translated in authentically, humorous and perceptive ways.. I have replaced the good old white male NYT book review with Savidge Reads.

    My partner and I own The Inn at San Pancho on the Riviera Nayarit, MX Where I am presently ensconced in my favorite chair, drinking a Chai latte, listening to the surf and reading Dora by Lidia YUknavitch. The mountains to the south are broccoli- green and the canopy of palms above the pueblo shimmers with midafternoon sunlight. I have passed the weekend reading books and articles on everything from the very weird encounter between Sean Penn, a Mexican soap opera star and El Chapo on top of a remote mountain peak in Sinoala to the mass compulsion of adolescent girls who are literally pulling out the hair on their heads (New Yorker) in the States. I suspect Dick Cheney plays some odd role in this hysteria. They even have conventions!
    The next time you want to do something different, why not fly toward the sun and visit us at the Inn at San Pancho! I am an elderly woman having the best years of my life here in amexico. Our website is It is beautiful here in April. Bring the Beard, books and we will do a trade — we will talk books and everything else and you shall stay as my guests. Really.
    I think your grandmother and i would have enjoyed each other…we shared many of the same tastes in book and authors,

    • Awww what a lovely comment. Thank you so much. Be careful what you wish for. I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico and have never been. I don’t think my Gran went to Mexico either. I wish she was still alive we could have all visited and talked books for hours. The Inn sounds amazing. An idyll.

      I’ve not heard of Dora, I shall have to look it up. I’m hoping I’ll soon be ensconced back in a favourite chair rather than a building site ha.

  5. Aw! Poor Simon! I am lucky in that my family would never think of touching my book piles. But I end up picking up their “piles” because they don’t care about their own piles any more than they care about mine, and the don’t keep theirs tidy like I do mine!! So it’s a trade off. I am constantly rescuing library books from underneath my daughter’s bed!
    This weekend, I have been busy making Art, getting a cold (unwillingly), hiding from the Minnesota weather (it’s -1 F outside), and reading a)Out on The Wire, a graphic novel-ish book about the making of great radio like This American Life and Serial, and b)Pink Think:Becoming A Woman In Many Uneasy Lessons, which is about all the crap women were told in the 1950s-1970s about being feminine, or as the author calls it, “the other f-word.”

    • Thank you for the sympathy. Oddly whilst I don’t like anyone sorting my books I love sorting others. Ha.

      Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful weekend. Out on the Wire sounds brilliant. I’ll have to look that up. I think Ann and Michael were talking about it on Books on the Nightstand a few months ago.

  6. You have my sympathy – I came home from work once to find a gaping hole in the living room wall where the Mr had decided to try and find the inglenook fireplace he was convinced was there! Fortunately for him, he did find it and we didn’t the next few weekends up to our ears in rubble and soot. It did look nice when it was finished though.

  7. I have never noticed that you are sometimes a real drama queen. But honestly, anyone should have known not to touch the books. Just remember that redecorating/renovation can be very stressful. That is why you see couples screaming at each other in the home improvement stores and at IKEA. (Which is somewhat amusing to me.) Just be kind to one another. 🙂 And pick the wallpaper on the left. It looks cleaner, sharper, and the branches are beautiful. Hang in there!

    • Hahaha we did pick the one on the left interestingly for many of the reasons you said. You’re parcel may be delayed due to decorating as I’ve no idea where those books have been put. All I know is they are in the house somewhere.

  8. Don’t feel bad. MY husband decided to help a tradie who was doing outdoor work on an extension. As he carried long pieces of timber (think Laurel and Hardy) he turned and the timber knocked the head off a cement Buddha in the yard. The tradie helped him patch it up with cement he had in his truck. Did I tell you about the time he whipper snipped all the heads off my newly bloomed tulips? These things happen. I still laugh about it. At least he stays completely out of my Penguin book room. It will end soon.

  9. Kateg

    As someone who gets stressed in a mess, you have my complete sympathy. The end result IS worth it, but I always need recovery time. I need to cull and have too many books, but aside from snarky remarks, neither my husband or sons would think to touch or move them unless I am ordering them around ( I can be bossy). I will be in a similar situation soon, as built in book shelves are one of my Christmas presents and we need all be furniture in my living/family room. I may request your sympathy in the future. Lots of tea, calming thoughts and the occasional (frequent) cocktail I wish for you!

  10. I would probably still be standing in the doorway with my bottom jaw on the floor.

  11. Such an illuminating,humourous post first thing on Monday morning. It took away all my Monday morning blues! I feel for you. btw my choice would be the paper on the right!

  12. Ann

    Simon – your blog was so humorous — but I figure if I could live thru 20 years of renovating a 100 year old farmhouse -and coal dust – you will survive it, also. And myself – I like the wallpaper on the right with the smaller birds in it. Good luck & as you’ve been told – the end result will be worth it. P.S. I do not like anybody touching my books on my little chef’s rack either.

    • That’s really kind Ann. Funnily enough we are decorating with the idea of renting it out and buying a massive house that needs lots of TLC. But the top rooms are done so could be a library from the off… No need for book moving.

  13. This made me laugh so much. Any kind of DIY in our small flat leads to basic nervous breakdowns all round. Last time I ended up screaming like a banshee because it took about two days longer than we expected and I couldn’t write, find anything and felt sort of sick and disorientated. I hate people touching my books. It may look like chaos to any passing mouse but in fact there is method to my madness. I think your best bet is getting on the plane to The Inn at San Pancho. There’s an offer you can’t refuse. Hope everything calms down and you’re feeling better soon, you and The Beard.

    • Glad it made you laugh Vicky. The problem with DIY where I live is that it needs scaffolding and all those shenanigans as the ceilings are so tall. Fingers crossed only a week left to go!

  14. Kate

    I know, I know!! My husband and teenage daughters barely understand that my books are in “my” order and must NOT be touched. I can understand your dismay and hope it will all be sorted out soon. My weekend was lovely though – thank you for asking. Sydney is basking in a warm (sometimes too warm) summer and I finished “A Little Life” lounging by the pool and wondered how I will get through the next few days missing everyone from the book. Now half way through “About Grace” – Anthony Doerr – which has been on my shelf forever and am glad my 2016 Reading Year is starting off very well. I look forward to sharing the next year with you!

  15. Hello Simon. I can totally relate to your stress and anxiety. Last year, we had major renovations at home and the brunt of it was in my room. I had to move my books (though I did the moving myself as I didn’t want anyone else to touch my books :P) to a temporary spot. The house was a mess and there was no quiet or clean area to read.
    I rewarded myself with a new bookcase and a cosy couch for a reading spot after. 😀 Hang in there! 🙂

    • That was the crux of my breakdown to be honest. I wouldn’t have minded moving the books in all fairness! It’s still a bomb site a week later but coming along and hopefully this time next week all will be sorted.

  16. dirtmother

    I enjoyed this tremendously but honestly could not give a toss about my own so long as no-one mixes up the books waiting to be read (which must be together in the bedroom) with those already read. Those are more or less my only categories.

    There is however the very serious crime of Losing My Place in a book I am currently reading.

  17. I feel your pain, Simon. I hate other people touching my stuff, especially my books!

  18. jennycolvin

    On the other side of the equation, my husband and I bought a house 8 years ago and all the rooms are still beige. 😀

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