Jo Mortimer

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Mrs Dalloway in the Sitting Room

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Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s home in Rodmell, Sussex is a smashing place to volunteer. All kinds of people come to immerse themselves in the calm of the house and bounteous joy of the garden. Every time I’m there, I notice something new - it’s a real pleasure to pass on what I learn about the whole place and its wartime residents. But being a room guide is more than just offering up facts. It’s about pointing out the little things, sharing ideas and inspiration, speaking to visitors about feelings that the artefacts, paintings and plants conjure up. For that’s the kind of place it is: Monk’s House is alive with possibilities, and it encourages me to think about life in new ways. This year’s Dalloway Day afforded me the wonderful opportunity to read a short passage from the novel first published in 1925. The book is much-loved and carries the same relevance, perhaps even more so, as it did nearly 100 years ago. I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I enjoyed doing it - there’s something profound about reading aloud in their sitting room. I felt a little woven into the fabric of Virginia’s fireside armchair, as the light filtered through the windows of Leonard’s conservatory and onto the page.

Jo Mortimer