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Chef Writer Katie Jarvis at Home

PUBLISHED: 14:08 31 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013

My desk

My desk

Katie Jarvis - chief writer for Cotswold Life magazine shares her space with us

I love my desk - probably too much, my husband would say. Because it's in the kitchen - the hub of our house - it beckons to me all the time with unfinished work. As I love writing (I don't really consider it work), its siren call can be hard to resist. Luckily, Ian is more raucous.

I used to work in the dining room of our old Cotswold stone house. The old sash windows offer glorious views over the slopes of Besbury and onto the Toadsmoor Valley. But our house is on its own - exposed to the elements - the Siberia of Minchinhampton; and in winter, the wind not only whistles up through the valley, it also whistles up through the dining room floor. On January days, I looked as if I'd undergone some sort of primitive - but unsuccessful - cryogenics procedure.

The arrival of our dearly-beloved reconditioned Aga (bought by Ian on ebay) signalled my move into the kitchen. I'm now gloriously warm (in summer, I emit steam), though dangerously close to the biscuit cupboard. When I've finished all the packed lunches and everyone has gone off to school and work, there's just the dog and me left to share the space. He's considerably tidier than I am.

Dominating my desk is my computer, with a massive screen I wouldn't have chosen myself; there's a phone; a box of papers I haven't looked at for months; half-filled notebooks (I stupidly have about six on the go at once and spend half my life trying to work out which interview notes are where); assorted bits of cheap abandoned jewellery; a trampoline spring; batteries that don't seem to fit anything; unanswered correspondence; and reference books. I'm not sentimental; I'm not massively into objects. The one useful thing there rarely seems to be is any sort of pen.

On the shelf to the side are some birds Ian and the children bought me one year for my birthday when we were staying in our favourite holiday destination, Dartmouth; there's a model of a coach (not my obsession); and three wooden monkeys I brought back from Africa for Ian last year because I felt guilty I'd gone on my own. I'm not sure they fully made up for it.

Every time I see one of those anxiety-inducing images of another part of the great ice shelf crashing in Antarctica, it reminds not only of the horrors of global warming but - almost worse - the state of my desk. Every now and then, my precariously-piled papers do exactly the same thing. I know they're lurking behind the radiator; I know I probably could reach them if I contorted. But I'm a great believer in Fate (or, as I like to think of it, that great cosmic office secretary). If that's where the papers ended up, then that's where they're destined to be. It's the nearest I get to a filing system.


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