Dishing the Dirt

I don’t know what I expected. Certainly, a dishwasher wasn’t my top priority when I began to think about a new kitchen. Maybe the novelty will wear off, but at the moment I am loving it. Super clean glass jars; MasterB’s Catcher cleaner than it has been since I bought it; gleaming saucepan lids; the rotation of plates, mugs, glasses; the full size cafetière that I hardly ever use these days is living in the dishwasher in the hope that the ingrained coffee stains will lessen and it can be passed onto a charity shop.

Celia came round to help and advise me the first time I used the dishwasher. She was completely au fait with the vocabulary which had left me adrift. I had been to the shop and bought the tablets, the freshener and the rinse aid. How to use them was a mystery.
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Some of Those Little Things

There is still a shocking amount of kitchen stuff in the sitting room; mostly cleaning materials, some of which I inherited from Mother; some almost ancient history; things forgotten and duplicated down the years.

Not a care in the world

Not a care in the world

How come I have so much black shoe polish? Do I even have any black shoes these days? Well yes, one pair, worn rarely and polished once a year if they are lucky.

Not quite the stuff I can put on e-bay.

My measuring jug collection is pretty impressive too. And if anyone needs some toaster bags, I’m your woman.

But anyway, now for some pictures. Continue reading

It’s the Little Things

It’s all over bar the snagging. And I am very pleased with it.

It seems a long way from that first discussion with the planner. I didn’t have clear ideas of what I wanted then. It took a while for things to come together; the combination of colours in the doors, the walls and the floor.

Aesthetically it’s pleasing. I love some of the details; the new powerpoints with their USB options; the shiny knobs on the doors and drawers; the hidden LED lights under the cupboards.

I like the buttery creaminess of the wall tiles; the seascapes I see in the floor tiles. I have loved watching MasterB exploring at the end of each day; dancing over setting tiles where I was not allowed to tread; climbing through half assembled units. He lives here too; this is our home, and it is nice to see him taking an interest. Continue reading


At the start of the week, MasterB being a day boy with the nice neighbours and therefore not stressed by the fitter and his team, my main concern was to do with meals; I can boil a kettle, at a push I could make toast, but that's about it. The kettle bit is important as I want my coffee first thing.


However, three days in, proper meals are low on my list, though thanks to Celia's generosity, they are achievable in her kitchen. It's dust that is driving me mad. I feel dirty all the time. I can feel it in a layer over my skin. It's in my hair. It's in the air. I have been fairly assiduously vacuuming the shared landing space, but not my own home. That changed tonight. Henry Hoover came out of the cupboard and went to work. Continue reading


I had lunch around five o’clock, courtesy of Celia who has furnished me with keys to her flat and given me the run of the kitchen.

The fitters arrived twenty heartstopping minutes late; traffic. I asked Danny to text me if they are delayed again. My nerves won’t take this. Mother was an inveterate worrier, a champion worrier, a worrier of awe-inspiring breadth and depth. Had there been an Olympic sport in worrying she would have brought home gold time and time again. I don’t think I’m in her league, at least I sincerely hope I am not, but something of her dedicating worrying seems to have rubbed off, and comes to light at times like these.

So once the fitters, Danny and his brother Nico, had arrived, I turned my worrying energy in the direction of the floor tiles; would they arrive early enough for Danny and Nico to lay them today? had the driver got Danny’s number if I was out?

Then when those two worries were allayed, I went onto tomorrow’s delivery. Then I had to put that worry aside when Danny pointed out, a trifle sourly I thought, that there was only one bag of tile adhesive. I had ordered two. A phone call to the suppliers (Tile Giant in case you’re interested) resulted in them admitting the fault but saying they couldn’t get another bag to us before tomorrow.

I am so glad I decided to take these days off and loiter while the work is being done. I made a mercy dash to the branch on the Old Kent Road – yes that’s the cheapest property on the London version of Monopoly and in my ‘hood’ as chaps and chapesses say these days – and brought home the goods. Thank goodness I am not living in the west coast of Scotland. On the other hand, if I were, I should probably be living in a larger property where I could have stored everything and so had the tiles, adhesive and grout delivered some days in advance of the project. Continue reading

D-Day for the Kitchen

Tomorrow is D-Day. Goodbye old and faithful kitchen, hello new and, I hope, trusty kitchen.


I haven`t seen the kitchen space looking anything like this for over twenty five years. It echos. Amazing. It almost looks nice.




I removed one of the wall cupboard doors, and I like the feeling of space it brings. I hope that is what the glazed door will do too.



Fingers crossed that Fitter Danny does a good job. I can trust Tony with the electrics, but Danny is not someone who has previously worked for me. I hope he turns up. Imagine if he doesn't.


All the stuff now crowding out the sitting room (how did it all fit in one small kitchen?) would presumably have to be put back until another fitter could be found.


Let's not go there. Danny will be here in the morning, eight thirty. MasterB will be with neighbours. I shall take him round at eight o'clock. He will pay for his peace and quiet by being on Mouse Duty. He 's been doing some mighty sniffing here, so I hope the removal of the kitchen cupboards is not going to reveal a rodent family in residence. Continue reading

Kitchen Update

The big decision in the last few days has been to look for another fitter. I am sure Jatinder is excellent at his job, and installs a mean kitchen, but he gets nul points from me for his communication skills.

So I advertised on a site recommended by Octavia, and sent messages to Steve the Considerate Plumber and a builder he has spoken about before.

I got an answer very quickly to my ad, and the fitter came with his wife on Friday night to measure up. He listened, answered my questions, and nodded when I explained it is important to me that the fitter works with me, and consults me.

He sent me a price which seemed reasonable, but now things have stalled. I want a clear contract; a full quotation; everything in black and white; guarantees; payment schedule; no nasty surprises. English is not his first language, and producing the paperwork may be causing him problems.

But I am not despairing. Via Steve the Plumber’s builder friend Ricahrd, I have been put in contact with Rafal. He has said he would do the job, but probably not at the start of next month. He’ll conatct me in afew days to say when he’ll be free.

So all options still open.

With regard to the kitchen wall mounted cupboards, there is only one bit unsettled. From left to right it will be 2x500mm cupboards, the right hand one with a glazed door; bridging cupboard; then 900mm so far undecided, and 2x150mm wine racks.

I love the idea of the 900mm cupboard, but the door is one that lifts up rather than out, and I am not overkeen. On the other hand, I do like the idea of one very wide cupboard, so I am still hesitating. Alternatively I could have 2x450mm cupboards, but there would be a divider down the middle. A wide wide cupboard would offer more flexibility.

Ronnie the Planner sent me a picture of what the 300mm, then 600mm then 2xwineracks option would look like, and although they look balanced among themselves, they don’t like right with the 2x500mm cupboards on the left. (I shall understand if you have lost the plot, or indeed the will to live, by now). So maybe 600mm + 300mm +2xwineracks.

It might not be such a bad thing if I have to wait a while longer.

A Sense of Balance

I have had a dodgy right knee for years. I fell badly on holiday in Greece, didn’t realise the damage I had done, so didn’t see a doctor. You get used to it. But two dodgy knees; that’s a whole new experience. On Monday morning I woke up with a stiff left knee. Why on earth? I couldn’t think of anything I had done other than cycling, which the physio told me is good for knees. It has stayed fairly stiff with intermittent periods of feeling normal all week.

On Friday when I got up it was fine. Hurrah, I thought, whatever it was is sorted. A short bus ride later, and I struggled to stand to leave my seat. Eek. I had to see the GP in the evening about something else, so I asked him. The onset of osteoarthritis he reckons. This news is about as welcome as a hog roast at a vegetarian picnic.

The GP advised rest; not easy when you live on the second floor with no lift and you are up and down the stairs as often as I am. Still, I wasn’t working this weekend so there was less pounding the streets than usual. The flat was filthy. Now it’s just untidy. I think one of my many gifts is the ability to disarrange a room in minutes.

My next task was to go through all the kitchen paperwork, check if it was still what I wanted, calculate the wall cupboard lengths and send off a list of questions to the planner and the fitter. It took ages, but I was pretty pleased with myself. I am settled on my choice of wall and floor tiles, the only questions remaining are how high I want them to go, and whether to break the cream with the odd dark green one. I saw some other wall tiles that I liked, but no more than the cream ones. I calculated the cost. The cream ones would cost nearly a quarter, a quarter, of the others. It is, as people say, a no brainer. It’d be different if I absolutely loved the expensive ones, but I like them about the same as the others.

Then I found that a similar dishwasher (yes, a dishwasher! I have never had one. Do I really need one? Probably not. How decadent! Will I change my mind?), same make, same dimensions, a slightly older model is available for £200 less at another shop. Sounds good to me. Now to find out when I should arrange delivery.

The answer didn’t initially make sense to me. I have been advised to take delivery of the dishwasher and the tiles three days before the cabinets arrive. Yet I cannot believe the dishwasher will be installed, or the tiles in place, on Day One. My guess is that for the fitter and his team, they just want the whole lot there before they start. Convenient for them perhaps, not convenient for me.

I sent another email reminding the planner that I have limited space, that my neighbours will complain if I block the landing, and the reason for my questions were to minimise the time the items were sitting uninstalled.

I would call this project managing.

I should hear back from the planner tomorrow, but the fitter hasn’t replied at all which makes me rather nervous. So I hope there’s a message from him too.

The surface is not going to be the one I originally selected, and now there’s a choice to be made between two others. Definitely a further trip to the show room is needed.
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Of Autumn, Photographs, Neighbours, and Calendars

Despite my little rant yesterday, I think I’m in for a run of MasterB posts. Autumn sunshine, the 2013 calendar in mind, and the beauty of MasterB have combined to make me grab my camera and click away.
First up, some pictures in the garden yesterday when MasterB was playing. I had taken a toy of his outside. He had been playing with it on the stairs and it was by the front door leading into the street.


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Busy Bee

Last year was supposed to be the Year of the New Kitchen, to be followed by the New Flooring, and New Sofa Covers.

For various reasons, none of those things happened. The kitchen continues to fall apart, the carpet has almost achieved antique status, and I drenched the sofa in red wine a few weeks ago. Going backwards and forwards to see Mother in hospital, check out nursing homes, and simply working, meant other bits of my little home were also neglected, and boy does it show. Continue reading