Husband Steve recently suggested we change hobby rooms in our house. His huge passion until fairly recently anyway, has been to collect Lledo vintage vehicles and he has thousands of them. In fact an article I wrote about them appeared a couple of years ago in DieCast Collector Magazine (October edition 2004, to be precise) entitled "I'm No Back Seat Driver" and it appears that most of the South East has heard about his hobby (seriously - we get gas meter readers coming in saying 'Are you the guy with all the model cars?', this is absolutely true). And when I was interviewed by one local paper following the publication of the first Yucketypoo book back in 2007, the photographer also knew about them and took dozens of photos of Steve with his car collection (and a couple of me with the children's book I had just had published!!). Our modest (but lovely) semi-detached house in Addiscombe has three bedrooms (well to be honest, two bedrooms and a box room about the size of a pocket handkerchief) and, once our youngest daughter had moved out, the second bedroom became Steve's hobby room, since by then I was already established in the pocket handkerchief.
But it became very clear not so very long ago that, since my writing career has started to regain some of its former momentum, my pocket handkerchief study just is not big enough. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE it to bits. The desk is right by the window, there's a gorgeous redwood three-drawer filing cabinet, shelving from floor to ceiling all along the back wall, a book case and books, files and folders in teetering piles all around my comfortable, lumber supporting office chair. There are three pin boards (one quite big where our map of the British Isles lives, complete with all its colour-headed pins showing everyone entering exactly where we have been on our beautiful islands), one medium sized on the wall behind the desk which features things like business cards, my Society of Authors leaflet, several inspirational photos of notebooks, pens and cappuccinos and various other odds and ends, and a small one featuring around half a dozen half-decent drawings I have managed to produce in all five plus decades of living. On the window sill, there is a framed letter from The Prince of Wales wishing me luck with the Yucketypoo books, my Society of Authors Membership Certificate (I was elected in during July 2003) and a couple of framed inspirational poems (not by me, I hasten to add), so I am very at home here, very much in my comfort zone. But honestly there is not an inch of spare floor space to be seen and it just has not been working for me lately.
Anyway, Lledo cars are not being produced anymore. You can still buy them from boot sales and vintage car shows, but no new ones have been issued for several years and Steve said to me the other day, "I think I might box up most of these and just keep my really specials one out, so how about we move your study into my room and I'll take yours?" So now our plan is to start taking all the cars down and packing them into boxes until such times as we can find somewhere bigger to live when they will all go back on display. It isn't going to happen overnight but we would like to get in done by the New Year. And, the best things is that it can still house the futon and z-bed for when we have people to stay!
This is the unstinting love, support and belief my Steve has in my writing! Am I lucky or what?