Sunday, November 28, 2010

Camping out at home..

One week on and it's all going fine. The house is incredibly dusty and chaotic, but I'm actually getting used to it and I'm certainly not starving. I was invited down to my lovely Downstairs Neighbour for supper on Tuesday (Fish Pie and I took dessert plus dessert wine), and then went out to supper again last night (more Fish Pie and a wonderful raspberry and mascarpone dessert accompanied by a lovely Chablis and more dessert wine)! Actually I'm eating (and drinking) better than I normally would. It certainly sort of makes up for the chaos at home. And though I feel as if I'm camping out in my own house, it's not too bad.

The electrics are nearly sorted in my new Kitchen, and it's nice to see some of the tongue and groove boarding up already. On Friday my new appliances arrived, and they sit, ready and waiting, in my Dining Room. I've spent a large part of the weekend cleaning up the dust, which just gets everywhere, and then this afternoon I went out to the Garden Centre to have a bit of lunch and on to the Farm to buy logs (stocking up for Christmas) and some Christmas presents. It's blooming freezing here, though we've had no snow as yet, but I'm quite cosy as I sit here semi-watching tv and sorting out my Christmas list. I know what I want for Christmas: some new secateurs and gardening gloves, eight hour cream, a couple of pairs of coloured tights and the Beatles two "new" remastered cds. I think I'm quite easy to please.

Daughter and Grandson are fine. I picked him up from School on Friday, as usual, and brought him back here for the night. I gave him scrambled eggs, ham and baked potato for supper and then tucked him up in my bed. He had brought his school report home, and was a bit nervous about it, though there was no need. Daughter said it was just wonderful, and is very happy that they seem to appreciate Grandson for what he is - a great little character with huge enthusiasm for learning and life. And, as one of his teachers said, he has a good heart! That's my boy.

Son has not been well, though, and as I haven't seen him for a while I really miss him. I sent him a little "home comforts" pack in the post, as he said he hasn't been able to shake off a rotten cold. The pack contained Olbas Oil, Rescue Remedy and Vick's Vapour Rub - all the things I always kept at home for colds and flu and general poorliness. (I've still got an old Vick's in my bedside drawer that must be 10 years old!). And I added a bar of gorgeous organic dark chocolate. I hope they all make him feel better, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him at Christmas. It will be lovely to have my new kitchen, and all the family home for the holidays - even if only for a few days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bombs Away...

OK, today it has started, and if I have been absent for the last week or so it's because I have been clearing and emptying my Kitchen and Dining Room in preparation for the works. God, I really didn't realize how much STUFF I have. My so-called Study is now piled high with boxes and bags containing all this stuff. What I'm going to do with it when the kitchen is finished, I just don't know. But I guess a lot of it will be heading for either a Car Boot Sale or charity shop. How did I gather so much mis-matched china or so many casserole dishes? What do I do with about twenty egg-cups? And a collection of about 10 teapots and coffee pots? Never mind, don't bother to answer that...

The two workmen arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, just as I had finally cleared everything from the room - just remembering to empty the freezer at the last moment. I have taken photos this morning of the pristine empty kitchen before it was taken apart, and will take another photo at the end of the day to show progress. The people who are buying the units and the couple who are having the cooker will be collecting at the end of the day. Oh Joy! At the moment it's very quiet as the power is turned off and only one chap is working. My Builder has gone to move his truck and pay in my deposit cheque (don't worry, it's not a big one!). As I said before (I think) he did a kitchen for one of my BBFs last year, and made a great job of it. Not only that, but at the end of two months (it was a big job) he and my BBF were great friends - and still are. So he comes very well recommended and I feel I really have found the best man for the job! Fingers crossed.

I'm sitting in my Sitting Room typing this, with my belongings piled around me and wearing a cheap-as-chips track suit I bought in Primark yesterday. It was the brainwave of another of my BBFs as she said I needed something comfortable to throw on before they arrive at 8.30 in the morning! How true. I won't be looking too smart for the next couple of weeks, but hopefully it will be worth it...

My small brainwave this morning was to put wine (vital), water, milk and the coolbag out on the balcony so that everything stays as fresh as possible while I have no fridge or freezer. New appliances are being delivered on Friday (Fridge-freezer, Cooker and Dishwasher) so maybe by then I will have somewhere to put food at least.
In the meantime, it's fish and chips, Daughter and Friends and whatever I can scrounge. Somehow I don't think I'll be attempting to cook very much with only a microwave, toaster, kettle and single electric hob, not that they are restricting in themselves, but the space is! Cooking in the Study doesn't have much appeal somehow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just kidding..

Of course, when I say starting on Monday, I mean not this Monday, but next Monday! That's builders for you, as my lovely builder said, with a wry smile, when he told me that his current job was taking longer than he had thought. Actually, I didn't mind too much as it means I get longer to pack up my rubbish (which is how it looks) and get everything into boxes or whatever. I can see now that I am going to be camping out for the three weeks it takes! Never mind, I know it's not for ever. I have now sold the kitchen units, including the fridge, freezer and dishwasher, which are all old, but still in good working order. The young woman who bought it all is very pleased with it, and brought her builder with her to assess whether he could adapt it to fit her kitchen. He was one of those great "no problem" builders (as opposed to the ones who suck their teeth and look doubtful) and said that he thought it was a bargain. Great. And it is. I may not like it, but it is very smart and in good nick. So, range cooker and kitchen sold, dining room cleared, courtesy of Daughter who is as strong as I used to be when it comes to moving the heavy stuff!

The funny thing was that my Builder (I'd better give him a capital letter as he is going to figure large in my life for the next month!) smiled for the first time when cash was mentioned! He is normally rather lugubrious and dusty, but his face lit up when he talked about getting paid in cash. Hilarious! Ah well, human nature will out...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome to Baby Bruno.

Well, that's his name for the moment, until lovely Downstairs Neighbour decides whether he looks like a Bruno or not. I have just been downstairs to see him, and he is rather Bruno-ish. He's quite large for a newborn (8lbs 10oz) and has dark hair, a lovely squidgy face and beautiful hands with long fingers. He did cause his poor Mum quite a lot of pain at his birth, as he was in a tricky position and didn't want to come out at first. What I didn't know was that she had to be rushed away to hospital at 6am yesterday, after a horribly painful night. Anyway, all is fine now, he has arrived safely and has simply caused his Mother her first lot of pain. Plenty more where that came from - and plenty of joy of course. Bless the boy.

I've sold my cooker - a rather smart Range Cooker which I have never liked - but am still waiting for a buyer for the kitchen units. Several people have been to look, but apparently it's difficult to get existing units to fit a particular space. Never mind, it'll all work out. My new kitchen sink was delivered today (a ceramic Belfast sink - bloody heavy) and I ordered the radiator, which looks like an old-fashioned school radiator, but is a new version with four columns. Lovely. At last I will have a warm kitchen. The builder is coming round tomorrow evening for a last minute meeting before he starts work on Monday. I'm still emptying cupboards and packing boxes. Heaven knows, I seem to have collected a lot of rubbish over the years.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Home, home on the Range..

Still no sign of a baby appearing downstairs! I know he's now overdue by 10 days, and my neighbour is keeping quite calm, but how odd that there has been no real sign of his arrival as yet! Or maybe not - I'm sure he will pop out when he's ready (though "pop" is probably not quite how one would describe it).

I'm beginning to believe that his arrival is going to coincide with the start of work on my new kitchen! This is still 10 days away, and we were hoping that by the time it started (with all the banging, dust, dirt and noise) he would be well and truly here and getting semi-settled. Ah well, the best laid plans etc.. The total bummer is that I have promised to prepare meals and help with babysitting, whatever is needed really during his first month. The babysitting won't be a problem, but for three weeks I won't have anywhere to cook, do washing or anything, as all my kitchen stuff will be packed away and my old kitchen will hopefully have been bought by someone. I have advertized it on Gumtree (including the range cooker) and have had a few good responses. And I have ordered my new appliances: gas cooker, dishwasher and fridge freezer. I'm keeping my existing washing machine as it's not very old and in good shape (I hope I don't regret saying that). I'm not having a fitted kitchen - I have decided to use my lovely old pieces of furniture and be completely un-fitted. I'm having the walls clad with tongue and groove,(painted a soft Farrow & Ball grey), a Belfast sink, solid oak worktops, an old-fashioned radiator, open shelves with baskets on them, a small table and chairs, and painted wooden floorboards. It's the kitchen I have been dreaming of for many years, and I finally decided to just get on with it. Not only that, but at last I will be able to have everything within reach (the old cupboards were far too high - designed and fitted by a bloke of course). I've taken before photographs, and will take some more during and after the works, so I might even be able to upload them for you to see. Can't wait!

I ordered my appliances online, after going up to Curry's to look at them; I don't really see how anyone could choose a cooker or fridge-freezer without seeing them first. Anyway, I did the same with my Belfast sink - Homebase had one but couldn't (or wouldn't) be specific about delivery. Much better service online - and free delivery - and I reckon I saved about £200.

There are fireworks going off outside as I sit here, but it's a foul night with blustery winds and rain, so I don't feel as if I'm missing much. Grandson is tucked up in bed, and that's where I'm heading:-)