Friday, 9 November 2018

Books are Friends by Ros Bayes

Since the last of my children flew the nest just over a year ago, I can truly call my home my own, and do whatever I like with it. So this week I got some friends round to help me. They moved the bed and other furniture out of my guest bedroom and moved it into what had been my youngest daughter’s room, alongside her bed, turning it into a twin room and leaving my little guest room empty. They then moved my desk and all my bookshelves into the former guest room (my daughters had been round a few days before to help me clear all the books off the shelves and pile them on my bedroom floor).

My kitchen-office-diner has been transformed into a kitchen diner. 

My desk used to be where the dresser now is, with the dresser crammed beside the table. Now there’s ample space to manoeuvre my daughter’s wheelchair in what used to be a cramped area. The desk is in the new library-study, with printer, laptop and coffee machine in place ready for use.

And then began the fun part of the exercise – working out how to organise my books on the shelves. What to do with C. S. Lewis? Does he belong in literature or theology? Because when he’s writing theology he’s literary, and when he’s writing literature he’s theological (yes, even his works on mediaeval literature, and his Preface to Paradise Lost). In the end I decided he is sui generis and gave him a section of his own after the literature section and before the theology section.

Books are friends, and I rediscovered many old friends, and had fun putting them in place. I think I can safely say that if you named any book I possess I could now go straight to its place on the shelf without having to hunt for it. I had one tall bookcase, a bit too narrow to be of much use for arranging my books, but it turned out to be perfect for the ones that didn’t fit into any other category, the how-to books, the A level books and children’s books left behind by my daughters, and the old diaries and notebooks.

I couldn’t quite fit all the Christian books into the theology section; there wasn’t enough room for them all. The solution? A shelf dedicated to books by my ACW friends (Amy Boucher Pye, Claire Musters, Lucy Mills, Sue Russell, Mel Menzies, Donna Fletcher Crow, Anne Booth, the Lent reflections book  – and the gift of Dorothea Brande’s “Becoming a Writer”, kindly given to me by Eve Lockett) and hey! Presto – it all fits in. And the empty shelf?  That's ready for my Christmas presents!

 Some books reminded me of old friends and loved ones – books that were gifts, books that belonged to my parents, books I treasured when I was studying English literature and which, besides loving their contents, remind me of a happy time in my life. Yes, books are friends and I’ve enjoyed coming face-to-face with some of them again today.

Ros Bayes has 10 published and 4 self-published books, as well as some 3 dozen magazine articles. She is the mother of 3 daughters, one of whom has multiple complex disabilities, and she currently works for Through the Roof ( as their Training Resources Developer, and loves getting paid to write about disability all day. You can find her blog at and her author page at Follow her on Twitter: @rosbwriting.  

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