to whom it may concern,

Welcome to the Belfry. Well, I call it the Belfry. Some call it the shed, others the wendy house and I know one person who calls it the studio. But for me it's the Belfry. I thought I'd leave a few tips to help introduce you to the place.

First of all: mind your head. The beams are low. I have several bumps and at least one bout of unconsciousness to prove it. There are only two beams, but even if there were only one in the corner, I probably would have smacked my head against it anyway. They take awhile to get used to. Or at least I think they do. I never did. Up to the very end I continue to crack my cranium against them. I don't mind it as much now. At first I was livid, reading up on engineering and architecture, working out means of replacing them. But they have outlasted me and had the last laugh. It was me knocking my head against them after all - they didn't reach down and batter me. So, after much time, I've forgiven them. Perhaps you will too. Maybe you're short, and don't give a shit. I don't know. But sometimes you need a knock on the head, and they're more than willing to give it to you.

Secondly: don't be arachnophobic. They outnumber you. By a bunch. This is a good thing because there are a lot of bugs. I don't know why, but maybe being at the bottom of the garden has something to do with it. You could spend every day you spend here dusting away spider webs but when you wake up in the morning, there will be more of them. They won't hurt you. I've never had a spider bite, and considering how many of their homes I've destroyed, I figure I've got some karma backlash coming to me. So relax. And maybe try to see how many different ones there are. Because there are a lot. And you probably will only swallow three a year in your sleep tops. Maybe four.

Thirdly: be careful of the staircase. I know that sounds odd, but it's pretty hard and very easy to stub your toe against. The spiral can mess with your spacial awareness. That was my excuse anyway. Better than admitting to just being clumsy.

Fourthly: buy a fan. It gets hot in the summer. Pulling the shades down on the skylight is also advised.

Fifthly: get used to the noise. The trees and those that live in the trees are in constant contact with the roof, leading to an orchestra of odd and unsettling noises that will drag you from the deepest and most peaceful of sleeps. It can be quite disconcerting. In the twilight of half-sleep, where you can't tell the difference between dreams and reality, it can be terrifying. That stops with time. You'll learn to appreciate the shade in the bedroom, and the whisper of the leaves against the roof tiles. It will take awhile though, and there may be nightmares.

Sixthly: use the beer fridge. And remember to shut it.

Seventhly: enjoy it. It's quite a special little building. It was built as an artist's studio. It's been used as a gallery. I've written a big chunk of a novel here. It's a creative place. It's bit hidden. It's not all yours; the bugs, spiders and trees claim some of it, but that's a good thing. In the summer, if you leave the skylights open to get a bit of breeze, the place will be covered in seeds from the tree above. Sometimes it hits you on the head. Sometimes it stubs your toe. You'll swear at it, and then probably hit your head again.

It's all one. And so I leave it to you. Though I must take a small piece with me; just enough to continue my chronicles.