Roll top desk

for HJ nee P

For years I used to dream about this desk. It belonged to my father’s doctor, and I used to love watching the top roll up and down, revealing and hiding all his papers, at will. This feeling of immense latent power came back to me some months ago when we were invited to some friends’ house for dinner and I was admiring the furnishings. I mentioned the desk and was told it was the very one I had longed for as a child.

I hadn’t made the connection that my hostess was actually the granddaughter of the doctor. So she very kindly took the photo for me and here it is, in all its splendour.

I have always felt that a desk like that would help me be more creative. I would always be able to go to it, roll it up, jot down some wise thoughts, roll it down again and leave my ideas to develop, untouched, unseen, until I was ready to go back. I know of course that it’s not the desk that makes the ideas, but it always seems so inspirational. Or maybe aspirational. It’s very sensuousness makes you want to write.

But in all honesty the simple smartphone (is that an oxymoron?) has been one of the most useful devices of all time. I can write on it at will, dictate into it if necessary and if there isn’t anyone around, metaphorically roll the top down so no one can see if I’m not ready to reveal, and I can take it with me wherever I am. For convenience it wins every time.

But aesthetically pleasing? Romantic in its associations? I’d still love a roll top desk!

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