Elizabeth Macquarie kept a diary during the long voyage to New South Wales in 1809. She confessed that life afloat had its advantages. For once, her husband was not absent due to matters of business; ‘I have spent my time in the manner which entirely suits my inclination, having the comfort of my husband’s company uninterrupted all the morning when we read or write in a social manner.’

I tried to remember these sentiments when I was planning the study in our new house. However, my dream was ‘a room of my own’ as Virginia Woolf so famously wrote. I tried convince my partner Rob to have a separate study in our new house, but he was having none of it.

Vita Sackville-West would never have allowed Harold into her tower writing room at Sissinghurst.

The desk in the Writing Room in the tower ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Oh dear! As you can see….I lost the battle. I did get the bigger desk and a view, but…

I have set up his desk, but it won’t stay like this for long.

The following photo was taken in our studio apartment where we were living while the house was being built. This was his ‘overflow’ desk on the stove top. 😨

A surprise gift from my nephew Peter Allen, who knows I love birds.

Study desk in the evening.

Those two glasses indicate a certain acceptance that Rob will be with me. 😎

Once the big bookcase was ready it had to be dismantled and re-assembled in the study. There was no way it would fit up the stairs.

First book up was Brideshead Revisited. This has such a special place in my heart. When we were living in Sydney many years ago my mother picked it up and read the final chapter to me. She was battling ovarian cancer at the tine and we both knew it would be her last holiday with us. It was the first time she had read to me since I was a child.

I hope this won’t happen;


Oh no….he’s moved in. 😨🥺



Well, this picture symbolizes my total capitulation. Forgive me for letting you down Virginia. 😥

Oh my word, I’m sharing the study with another booklover.


Of course my dream bookcase would have a secret opening, leading into somewhere magical. The following Youtube video shows that very scenario; CLICK HERE


  1. My darling husband of almost 53 years has been gone 19 months now, but his desk still occupies half of my study.Can’t get rid of it. But I do now use it for my overflow!

    • Pauline

      Oh Barbara, I really feel for you….that loss must have been so hard. Even though I joke about Rob, he is my whole world.

  2. Oh for the love of books

    • Pauline

      Yes Simon. I spend a lot of time in there….when I’m not in the garden!

  3. In summary, Pauline Conolly’s post is a delightful blend of personal storytelling, literary references, and humor. It’s a charming and relatable exploration of the universal desire for a space to call one’s own, even in the midst of shared love and companionship. Bravo! 📚💕

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