I have made concessions in my embrace of my newly adopted country. I will call a closet a wardrobe, for example. And yet eager as I am to assimilate, there are some things my other home country just does better, namely closets. The closet is a temple in America. Whole companies have been built around organizing them. They’re feted in films (witness Carrie in Sex and the City). You can WALK INTO THEM.
England on the other hand still seems to think of the closet as optional. Real estate is distinctly void of their presence. Industry professionals inform me it’s done to make places look bigger, but nobody is being fooled here. Suckers we the general public may be, but at least give us credit for realizing we’re going to need to take up some space in the bedroom to hang up our clothes. It is a quirk of British culture as baffling as the prevalence of the front loading washer, the very design of which makes it impossible to toss in that stray sock you dropped on your way to do laundry once the cycle has begun, lest you flood your house. Pressing the start button on a British washing machine is like sealing the space shuttle.
Alas I digress from the disgrace that is closet-less Britain, a situation that over the years has caused me considerable duress. I recall in particular a melodramatic evening spent traversing a rainy and traffic and expletive-riddled corridor of London’s North Circular road to get to a second branch of Ikea before it closed so that we could secure the right doors for two newly purchased wardrobes since having the frames and the doors in stock in the same store was apparently just too much for Ikea’s inventory management system. As a result I now suffer from Ikea-induced post-traumatic stress disorder that can be triggered at the drop of a stubby, bowling-alley style pencil.
You can therefore imagine my delight at the completion of a custom commissioned floor to ceiling wardrobe in Drover’s Cottage just last week. The fantastic carpenter who also made our front door and mantel piece, Gerald, is the man responsible for my joy. He lavished upon her the care and attention required to make her fit snuggly in the wonky angles of the bedroom floor. He measured and cut and sealed and painted her Victorian paneled doors, then adorned them with two substantial, shiny brass knobs. And what lovely doors they are, closing with a satisfying thunk. To me this is a wardrobe as magical as the The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe wardrobe — finally a resting place in England for all my clothes and shoes and power cords and wrapping paper and books husband won’t let me keep by the bed. It is mine, all mine except for a little bit in the corner where I let him hang his kilt.