Sunday, 18 January 2015

Kitchen Update

So just before Christmas we decided to put a hold on our ongoing kitchen development so that we could enjoy the festive break without emptying cupboards or rearranging furniture, something which seemed to have become part of our weekly routine recently.

The granite worktop was cracked, the blind was up though somewhat slanted and the old laminate flooring that had seen better days was still waiting to be replaced.  But that was okay, it was only till after Christmas.  Good theory huh?

Well we made it through Christmas with no issues, aside from trying to learn how to time the cooking so everything was ready to be served at the same time using the new electric hob and oven.  The oven cooks quicker than the old gas one and I haven't quite mastered the art of controlling the hob properly, my old gas hob was so much more responsive, it also made less mess when things boiled over...

But now January is upon us and we figured the kitchen would finally be completed.  We really should have known better by now shouldn't we?

The guys delivered a sample piece of granite to double check the colour matched before they start cutting it to size.  Guess what?  It didn't match.  So we're waiting for another piece to be shipped from Italy so we can try again.

We're trying to take a more chilled out approach to the farce that has become our kitchen improvements and not get worked up about it when things don't go to plan, as lets face it, that really doesn't seem likely.  So we were actually really good and just took this additional delay in our stride, like it was no big deal.  Are you impressed?

Then this morning I walked into the kitchen, pulled the cord on the blind to raise it and let in the bright sunshine and was utterly horrified to see that instead of going up, the blind decided to come down, and I don't mean the slats, I mean the whole thing.  Well, half of it any way.

As you can just about see from the photo below, one of the screws which was holding it in the ceiling came out, leaving the blind suspended by one single screw.

My first thought was 'My worktop!' as I imagined the whole thing coming tumbling down, unceremoniously landing with a thud on the windowsill and cracking the granite.  Given how hard it is to replace the piece that's already damaged, the last thing I need is to add more to the list.

So there I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, poised ready to catch the blind, or at least attempt to, before it hit the granite.  Fortunately, it stayed where it was, precariously perched as though just waiting for me to turn my back.

Thankfully the blind is now completely down, having been carefully removed, with much tugging and muttering.  It's sitting unhelpfully in the lounge, waiting for the fitters to come back and put it up again.  Given we've been waiting since November for them to come and fix it, as it was made the wrong length and wasn't put up straight in the first place, you can guess how impressed we are with them.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas for my family has always meant chaos and laughter, great food and a lot of washing up.  It didn’t matter if the Christmas lights stopped working after just being hung, which often was the case, or if the presents hadn’t arrived on time, it just meant Christmas was extended a little longer.  Whatever happened somehow Christmas was always perfect.  The last minute chaos to get everything finished in time, always paid off in the end and whatever didn’t quite get done somehow didn’t matter so much once Christmas actually arrived.

Over the years our family has shrunk and the big Christmas parties we once had have become more intimate gatherings now.  In contrast, the number of Christmas decorations seems to multiply each year.  Perhaps we are trying to distract from all the empty seats, not that it will ever work.

Those that are no longer with us, who time or distance have taken away, are always missed more at this time of year.  They each played a role in our family traditions and although we still try to up hold those traditions it’s never quite the same.  Supermarket mince pies will never meet the high standard set by my Grandmother’s baking, though admittedly they will always be better than mine.  Loud, bustling parties have been replaced by quite dinners and Christmas movies, yet somehow it still works.  In its own way Christmas is still as perfect as it always was, just a different, quieter kind of perfect.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Happy New Year!

It’s been a tough week, it’s always hard going back to work after a couple of weeks off and this time was no exception.  On Monday morning I grudgingly crawled out of bed when the alarm clock rudely interrupted my rather bizarre dream.  Twenty minutes later l was downstairs, cursing myself for forgetting to put the heating on timed last night as I hurriedly packed my bag and shivered.  The fact that my trousers had apparently shrunk in the wash wasn’t helping my mood either. Of course their tight fit around the waist had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I hadn’t worn them for two weeks, during which time I had done nothing but eat generous sized portions and sit in front of the TV.

I left the chilly house behind me and ventured out into the even colder outdoors.  I managed to time it perfectly as l drove off and found myself stuck behind a bus for most of the journey to work. Ironically, whenever I actually try to catch that bus, it results in me standing outside, typically in the rain and / or cold for thirty minutes when it’s running late.  Then l’m subjected to the pleasure of experiencing the drivers attempt to break the land speed record, or at least the speed limit, while I cling on to the seat, wishing I hadn’t just eaten.  Today though the bus was early and its driver was happy to crawl along at twenty miles an hour round the impassable country lanes.

Eventually I arrived at my destination, the office.  As l pulled my car into my usual parking space I wondered why I had been inpatient to get there, when all that waited for me inside was a full email inbox and a resulting throbbing headache.