Last chance saloon – Phase 1


It feels like I have been writing this post for days on end, which is fitting because nothing plays on my mind as much as much as pondering what to do about my desk.

I have written before about the fact that my desk space isn’t working in my new flat, but I keep persevering because I want it to work. It’s not just that I want a desk that works for me, but I want this desk to work. I am emotionally attached to it and knowing that I finally made it work in my old flat means I can’t bring myself to give up here. It is, however, at the Last Chance Saloon stage and if the measures I’m currently trying don’t work then it will have to go.

My mental peregrinations have wandered along three distinct tracks. First, there has been the question of whether I need a desk at all, since I can type successfully on my lap and I hand-write my journal each morning sitting on the settee with a blanket around my legs, a cup of tea on the floor beside me. Part of the reason I am so determined to use my desk is just to have a change of sitting position and minimise the risk of me actually merging into the settee like Professor Slughorn in Harry Potter! However, the delicate state of my laptop which, bless its whirring little electronic heart, is in a transitional phase of its life, does raise concerns. Whilst it is still easily powerful enough for my needs, runs the most up to date Mac OS (Catalina) and has a good turn of speed, the battery is showing signs of getting beyond its prime. The option for using it unplugged from the power is rapidly diminishing, and tethering it permanently to the power supply effectively turns it into a desktop computer. There is no cause for complaint because, after all, it is four and a half years old, but if it isn’t mobile then I need a desk. Getting the battery serviced is an expensive option, although I haven’t entirely dismissed it.

The second set of thoughts are all about the desk surface. The drawback of this old school desk has always been the lack of depth from front to back which limits how things can be placed on it. There is actually enough room to use the laptop comfortably, what has been missing for a while is a place to have my dictionary and a few inspirational trinkets whilst retaining a place for my planner to live. I have spent many hours searching the internet for inspiration and not got anywhere at all, though I have seen a myriad of delights along the way.

The third pathway in my thought process concerns itself with the seating whilst using the desk. I dislike the office chair I currently use; it fails to please me on aesthetic grounds. However, it is the only chair I’ve found to date that works with the distinctly short legs of the desk. The majority of home office desks are around 75cm high and most office and dining chairs have seats that hit between 45 and 50cm from the ground. My desk is only 68cm high and the best seat height is 40cm from the ground. This actually works for me because I am short and this combination means my arms are in the correct position for writing and typing and my feet can be flat on the floor. However, it is very hard to find nice chairs that have seats only 40cm from the ground. I’ve got the feeling one day I will find a chair I like then have to get someone to lop two or three inches off the legs to make it work.

All that being said, I am tackling this with grim determination and have decided upon a phased approach. I’ve completed Phase 1, which was to change the location of my desk. This has resolved in part the side-issue I had of too many visible trailing wires and involved tucking the desk behind the door to living room which makes it less dominant. In this new position beside my settee, it also provides the perfect place for my planner to sit – I have been balancing it on the back of the settee the past few months which is practical but not ideal.

Phase 2 of the project involves moving the lamp off the top of the desk and finding a home for my external hard drive, DVD-drive, and the varied cable clutter that comes along with the digital life. I have ordered an item which I hope will resolve that issue so this phase is underway.

Phase 3 will be to find some way to house the things I want on top of the desk and Phase 4 to replace the chair. Of course, if I find I simply don’t use the desk, then these two phases can be scrapped and I’ll just embrace my inner Slughorn.

I wish I could say this project is an enjoyable one, but it isn’t; I just hope it’s going to be a case of the ends justifying the means. Do you have any projects like that?

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