Room A – the cellar
I am teaching after lunch in Room A, one of a series of 3 rooms lodged in the cool of what I suppose we must call the cellar – the areas to which you descend down a brick staircase in the garden.
Many years ago these rooms used to be repositories of files of students’ records and new books and stationery and who knows what else. If you had a lesson scheduled down here you had to go and look for the key to the door and let yourself in and perhaps clear some space.
Not any more. Rooms A, B and C are like monkish cells, spare and uniform, and reasonably cool in summer. In each there is a table, two chairs, a dictionary, a CD player. If you want computer you bring your laptop. They always strike me as conducive to concentrated work, and that notwithstanding the acoustical properties of the brick well and the need in hot weather to keep the doors open or ajar, which allow voices to circulate; those voices, after all, have a potholing quality to them, clear but distant.
Because they border the garden and are shady, if you leave the door open wildlife floats in and out – a butterfly today, a large dark one with white markings; I told myself it was a white admiral, but it was doubtless nothing so rare.