THE flat was carved from the top floor of a beautiful old sandstone house in Glasgow's west end, and the living room was formerly the building's old chapel.

It has a huge, barrel-vaulted ceiling made from hand-carved beech. When I viewed the flat I remember the owner showing me the second bedroom: nice. The dining area: nice, a bit wee. Bathroom: nice. Master bedroom: nice. Ensuite: nice.

Then she said: "This is the main room", and slowly opened the door and stood aside. I walked straight to the window and I couldn't quite take it in. It was one of those winter evenings where the sun has just set and the sky was every colour from yellow to indigo blue. It was stunning. The evening star was bursting out of the sky. I hadn't even looked at the ceiling, I was just looking out the window going: "This is phenomenal." You can actually see Goatfell on Arran on a clear day.

I said to the woman: "I'll buy it." All my coolness left me. That was it. I'd been living over at the other side of the city but before that I used to live on this street when I DJ-ing so I was just moving down two sets of traffic lights from my old home.

I've been here nine years, and the main room is almost exactly as it was, you just wouldn't mess with it. There was a very lightly patterned wallpaper and it did go with the room but I'm quite a minimalist in terms of decor so I whitewashed the bottom of the walls.

This is mainly a quiet house but it's had a "rare tear" in it. Christmas Day, the whole family was up and New Year, it was brilliant. This room is brilliant actually there can be six conversations going on without interruption. There just the hallway underneath, so if I wanted to have a ceilidh, it wouldn't bother the neighbours.

The heaters are on constantly from October to March because it does take a lot to heat that room. In fact, that's one of the things that my dad said. Typical west of Scotland reaction, he came in and looked at it and that was his first comment: "I wouldn't like your heating bills." The fire is really effective though.

There is a door that opens to the outside. I think it used to be a fire exit. It is wonderful on a Spring day getting the air through the house. It does heat up a lot in the summer.

It can feel surprisingly cosy. Sitting on the couch, you get a sense of a wee-er room. It is great just to sink into and watch a lovely film on the big telly. It's like looking at a piece of art in a gallery.

I have lain on the couch and watched the moon move across the semi-circular windows. I remember the first time thinking; "What is that light?" I thought it was a helicopter it was so bright. I don't know if the windows were designed so you could watch the moon but if not, it was a bit of a lucky fluke.

Framed photo

I had a fantastic relationship with my dad, Alec. He died last April, on my birthday. He'd been quite ill and housebound for about eight months. My dad's thing was to get up and get out. He stayed three up, but he didn't want to move to a ground-floor flat; he measured his health on whether he was able to get up or down the stairs or not. He was very determined. He kept saying: "I will get back out." He said if he could just get a fresh pint of beer again. I used to go and see him every Sunday in Ayr. One Sunday I went upstairs and he was dressed and putting his shoes on and he said: "I'm going oot." We very tentatively got him down the stairs, into the bar across the road for lunch and I got this photo of him with a pint. The look on his face! He was 87 at the time but he looks like a 10-year-old boy.


These are one of my most prized possessions. I sauntered into Comet in Partick about eight years ago and found them for 20 quid. They are called iSound and your ipod or ipod nano fits in the headphones so there are no wires. The sound quality is unbelievable and they fold up into a wee ball.

The Little Prince

The first time I read it, I wept. That was 15 years ago. I was 29, we were on the second series of Chewin' The Fat and life had gone topsy turvy. I'd gone from being known locally, through my DJ-ing, to national recognition through the show. It was fantastic, but frightening. There was something about the simplicity and beauty of this book that was quite anchoring for me. I've read it many times since and depending on what is going on it can have me sniffling or bawling.

Dr Martens boots

These are borrowed from my partner's daughter, Carly. I wore them at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in front of more than on billion people worldwide. When the organisers showed me the outfit they had designed I told them that I loved it but asked if I could I try it with my old black leather jacket and my lassie's red patent Docs. They loved them. Performing at the ceremony was one of the proudest, most exhilarating moments of my life. I was sitting in the audience and I knew there would be a countdown, then the camera would go onto me. Watching the countdown, I was so nervous I felt like I wasn't in my body. In the moments before I went on I was thinking: "That's good the weather's good. Oh, there's a seagull." During it, I just thought: "Please don't greet". That last wee bit where I sang down the camera lens, I felt my lip quiver, fleetingly, but I obviously didn't have a Gazza moment.

Cat toy

I've had quite a few cats in my life but Snuffy was the one. He was so clever. I used to throw this toy for him and he'd bring it back, like a dog, and sit it at my feet. One day I came home and he was very ill. I took him straight to the vets who told me to take him straight to the vet hospital. He died the next day of cardiomyopathy. I was greetin' that much that the young trainee vet who came out to tell me started greetin' too.

Karen Dunbar opens the 10th Aye Write book festival on Friday April 17 at 6.30pm at the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow with The Books That Made Me