Take a look at this picture. It’s some sort of night out, probably at the end of the 1930s. Maybe even after the Second World War has broken out, because despite the bow ties and evening dresses, there’s something a bit shabby about it. My grandparents are in this photo, so is one of my aunts. She’s the young one with her husband behind her. There’s my grandfather’s brother, Fred, who made his money in oil and lived in Baghdad for a while. Fred is the fourth from the left. But it’s his wife I want you to look at, my Great Aunt Eve. She is sitting just in front of him. She’s wearing a dark dress and looks relaxed and comfortable.
Eve was Fred’s second wife. I think his first wife, Maud, died. If there was a divorce, it never reached my ears.
Fred and Eve lived in a village just outside Guildford. They had a spacious bungalow whose gardens stretched down to the river. Maybe that’s where the boat that I remember dimly from early childhood was moored. Great Uncle Fred I remember not at all. Eve made a more lasting impression, outliving her husband by more than a decade. She moved from the bungalow into a flat in the centre of Guildford. She was the generous source of treats and delights we didn’t get anywhere else.
Here she is again with Fred, he’s holding one of my cousins and it must be the early 50s.
Eve’s bedroom at the bungalow was the most wonderful room I had seen. It was huge. An expansive bed stood on an island of blue carpet. The bed covers were blue, so were the curtains, the walls and all the ornaments. The ornament I remember was a blue unglazed rabbit. I think they were popular in the 50s, and for a while in the 80s I’d see them in various colours in charity shops and think of Aunt Eve, by that time dead.
I loved her bedroom. It spoke to me of undreamt luxury, though I understood quickly that some of the adults thought it tasteless and rather vulgar. A few years ago I looked at my own, much smaller bedroom and realised that Eve’s bedroom had had a lingering influence.My walls are blue, so is the carpet. I have a large blue cushion on the bed.
There’s a collection of items in the room that are blue. When I visited Sweden and bought my own little Dala horse, of course I chose a blue one.
It’d be nice, I think, if a little girl who saw my bedroom liked it as much as I did Eve’s, and when grown up created her own version, and another little girl saw her’s and did the same. For all I know, Eve’s bedroom may have come about because of a room she saw as a child, and mine is just part of a long line of blue bedrooms.
I wrote this as part of sideview’s weekend challenge. Yes I do know it’s Monday, but the weekend had presented me quite a few challenges already.