Ahead of Pembroke Street’s upcoming issue, Home, Dísa Greaves explores the room of Charlotte Araya Moreland, our editor.
If you live in college, it can feel like you spend half your time moving in and moving out - nevertheless, we do spend the best part of half a year at Pembroke. So arguably, it’s just as much our home as wherever else we spend the rest of the year. Charlotte, a first year historian and editor of Pembroke Street, has let us into her room for a glimpse of how she has made Pembroke home.
Her room is quietly hidden in E staircase, overlooking Old Court with a priceless view of the Chapel, the Hall and the Library. The initial feel of the room is ‘lived in’. It is not artificially neat, but is a reflection of the inhabitant’s personality, with small beautiful details throughout that you just can’t help but be drawn towards. She has various posters and paintings hung up and placed around the room. They are largely classical in style, with a sizeable portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, and various other nods to history and politics that are of importance to Charlotte. It appears she has a knack of collecting excellent little pieces; a black and white photo of her grandparents, a small Grecian style statuette acting as a bookend and a book from the fifties titled “Men” resting on the mantelpiece to name a few.
Her own description is that the room has a “keen sense of history,” which appeals to her. It is, after all, in the oldest part of college and has seen many students come and go. While she does not know the history specific to her room, it is E staircase that saw Ted Hughes living there, and is rumoured to have seen the formation of the legendary Monty Python. It is this authenticity and “oldness” that is her favourite aspect of the room with the clean, white fireplace, tall ceiling and small window poking out of the roof.
But inevitably, there are bits that are not quite so dreamy, namely the modernity that is juxtaposed with antiquity. The original fireplace is unfortunately blocked and wires can be seen passing through the room. There is a rather obnoxious fire door sign, an unsightly ceiling light and a thermostat that she has cleverly managed to cover up.
When asked which three items she could not be without, she said her plants, books and the portrait of the Elizabeth I. Her room is littered with greenery; plants in clear pots showing tangled roots, cacti on the window sill, and vases of fresh flowers from the market. There are books are everywhere. She has managed to fill a whole bookcase to the point of overflowing, and has somehow managed to convince college to let her not move them out during holidays (kudos to you, Charlotte). HRM the “Virgin Queen” is very much the centrepiece of the room, hanging above the fireplace as a true girl-power *icon*.
If her walls could talk, they would tell us that she spends far too much time watching TV and worrying about boys. All the great thoughts that could have been had… Guilt about productivity is not an uncommon feeling though, you’re not alone, Charlotte!
The three words she chose to sum up her room were homey, temporary and cold. “Homey” and “temporary” summarise Cambridge living well, I feel. As for the cold, I suppose it cannot be helped; that’s the trade-off for the authentic history.
Dísa Greaves is a first year Land Economist, and the Pembroke Street blogger.