My parents had a lot of antiques. Not real ones. Not the sort of stuff you’d see in the backdrop to wedding photographs, in stately homes across the country. Rather, they inherited furniture from great-greats and grandparents. It’s old, rather than collectable.

I grew up with – probably half a dozen – bookcases. There’s one right behind me as I’m typing this, and it is still referred to under the name of its original owner. It’s about four and a half feet tall, very dark wood, and called Great Aunt Emma. Great Aunt Emma, the woman, was probably born in 1870-something. I don’t know how old Great Aunt Emma, the bookcase is, because – well, I didn’t ask.

It’s quite difficult to know things if you don’t ask.

There’s a glass-fronted bookcase, with three interlocking shelves, behind my right shoulder, which came from my godmother: a lady I knew as Auntie Maureen. The bookcase too, is Auntie Maureen.

There’s a six foot wide sideboard in front of me. It belonged to my maternal grandmother. However, because I never met her, the sideboard is not known as Granny or Grandma, but “my Mother’s Mother”.

When I was at school, my dad built a larger replica of Aunt Emma, about a third bigger in all directions. That bookcase is my Dad’s. His is the only bookcase that doesn’t just take the name, but has the apostrophe and a possessive form.

I fully expect, in the fullness of time, for the armchair I am sitting in to be known as Petrina.

As much as I have built a tremendous amount of flat-pack furniture, it’s not quite right to give it my name. I must have seven DVD bookcases. All glued, dowelled and screwed together by me. I do love flat-pack. I have a talent for flat-pack. I built my bed.

Not even joking. I built my bed.


It took some work, balancing parts of the bed on upturned bedside drawers, and fiddling with an array of Allen keys while humming Poker Face by Lady Gaga.

In the directions, it insisted it was a two-man job. Nothing in my bedroom is even a one-man job, so I decided that was clearly a typo and moved on.

I am the flat-pack Queen.