A Schoolgirl Error: Wk 1 – Day Three

I committed a cardinal sin this morning which was foolhardy so early on in the project…we ran out of Nescafé.

I have taken to not setting an alarm in the mornings as O serves as a pretty effective one, perhaps too effective, usually waking between 6 and half past. However since Christmas he has been sleeping in and so this morning I was woken by the front door closing instead which resulted in a bit of a panic as I wasn’t sure if it was S leaving or the builders arriving. It was 7.40, a tad too early for the builders but much too late for me so I headed downstairs, letting O sleep a little more, to get his breakfast prepared and the coffee on. Being middle class Guardian readers (well, I read the magazine, not the paper per se. S reads that and occasionally sends me links) S and I drink ‘proper’ coffee….not as proper as we’d like at the moment as, with all this money Im wasting on doors, we can’t afford our middle class Guardian reader favourite Monmouth bean and so are slumming it with M&S ready ground. The builders, however, get Nescafé. Except there was only a spoonful and a half left in the jar, perhaps enough for a coffee flavoured morning drink to get our two men started for the day, I thought. Today though the long-awaited (how long has it been? Only 3 days?) army arrived and not only did I not have enough coffee, but I didn’t have enough mugs. I’ve enthusiastically packed up most of the kitchen and inevitably packed most of the things we need. We only have two of our wedding china cups left out (and they are NOT going outside) and two mugs. Why only two when we have about 20 I do not know – a case of my inefficient efficiency.

So I was faced with a dilemma…make fresh coffee for everyone in stints and be even later for O’s nursery and my appointments or … the option I went for….run for it. I returned at 3pm looking sheepish with a (hessian) carrier full of milk and the largest jar of Nescafé I could find. (I’m not bothering with biscuits as I’m hoping the builders will finish off the mountain of mince pies we still have lingering in the house.) I was greeted by a lone and rather parched carpenter, the builders finished for the day having already laid the concrete and therefore unable to do any more work (really?) until it was dry. Or perhaps the caffeine fuelled buzz had simply worn off….

The extent of the builders disregard of our ‘green’ (tinged?) ethos was also made very apparent by their decision to store two wheelbarrows, upended, on top of our reclaimed maple flooring. I look forward to that conversation tomorrow…..

But hey, caffeine or no caffeine, there was at least progress. Not only were foundations laid, but the doors were all on, the handles fitted and our carpenter was just about to do some little odd jobs I had asked for, sanding back the drawers of an old dressing table which were catching and fixing some painted wine crates to the wall in O’s room as box shelving. I’m thrilled with the results….photos tomorrow as I need to do a bit of touching up around the fixings.

Our plumber had also re-routed the water and waste to our spare bedroom and moved the sink unit upstairs. S shifted some boxes of crockery upstairs this evening and tomorrow I’ll try and move the rest…it feels as if our adventure really is beginning. The scar left in the kitchen is a reminder of how unloved this house has been – nasty black mould and the ominous foam – you may remember it from my first post. I had hoped it would be effective at keeping the mice out. I can confirm it wasn’t and we suffered them for almost three months, not just in the kitchen but roaming, bold as brass, all over the bloody house, impervious to both poison and traps. Finally, after three attempts, pest control discovered where they were coming in and so far have kept them at bay. Not pet lovers, we were consider getting a cat which, as I said to S, we may not like very much but I like them a darn sight more than mice.

Thank you for the offer to look over our kitchen plans… I shall post them over the next few days and look forward to your thoughts. To explain, we employed an architect on a consultation basis and he created a few layouts for the whole extension and excellent suggestions about how we could use the adjoining rooms and spaces…we just didn’t feel we had the cash to go into much further detail. The kitchen company itself has responded to one of my (many) drawings as a basis for a quote and I have a meeting with them next week to discuss in more detail … and hopefully the order will finally be placed….

Thank you also for the tip about the antiquator…I’m going to try that asap and will let you know the results!

The foundations

The scar in the kitchen

Wheelbarrows on the maple

The temporary kitchen in the spare room


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