It was with renewed vigour that I awoke this morning, powered not just by the cocktail of antibiotics, hot lemon and Strepsils I have been religiously consuming, but also by nervous excitement that today was the day our long-in-the-planning kitchen was due. There was, however, much to be done before its arrival.
First O had to be breakfasted, dressed and whizzed to nursery where he could continue his artistic learning in the medium of paint, glue and cotton wool balls – a selection of his creations having been handed to us by his teacher yesterday evening in good time to be displayed proudly on our new utility doors (give or take a week ….or so). Meanwhile I continued honing my own, admittedly less creative, painting skills with the use of a smaller roller and a thicker application technique in an attempt to get a more even coverage on our kitchen ceiling. C having caught the bug circulating the whole house, was a little slower to get started so watched a while sipping soluble aspirin paired with caffeine, his sore throat doing little to reduce his capacity for conversation.
“That paint doesn’t look to me like its going on the way you wanted” he remarked.
“You’re right.” I replied from atop the ladder.
“The application is correct, I can see that” he said moving up to a wall to study it more closely “but it has this textured finish”
“Its claypaint” I explained.
“Hmmm. Claypaint ” he chewed the word over before swallowing it down with a gulp of his coffee. “Never heard of such a thing.” He paused. “Thing is, with this “eco” stuff, you are one of only five per cent bothering about it so its not going to make a difference. Meanwhile everyone else does whatever they like.”
“Small steps” I replied defensively, making a few myself as I negotiated my way precariously down the ladder, paint tray in hand.
“If everyone used it they would make it better. Until then you are better off just using normal paint.”
At this point in the exercise I fear that might take another 25 litres and the same again of VOC fumed hours. Saving the planet single-handedly we may not be, but with O having caught the bug too, the knowledge that we are at least doing something to minimise his discomfort makes our perseverance feel more than worth the effort. I smiled and continued, a position to which I regularly default if ever in disagreement with anyone.
Shortly afterwards I found myself in receipt of a running commentary as C embarked upon his, apparently tricky, task of cutting architrave to fit around the utility doors. The best way to sound interested and encouraging whilst at the same time keeping up my rollering rhythm, I discovered, was to simply repeat the last couple of words of each of his sentences with varying shades of intonation applied. Just as my technique was starting to wane there was a decisive knock at the door.
” You aren’t the kitchen!” I cried at a somewhat bemused K the plumber.
He took in my attire.
“Have you been getting any of that paint on the walls?”
“Grrrr” I replied and, leading him and his tiler upstairs to view the bathroom, I recounted the story of the eco paint. My audience were less than sympathetic, feeling as C did that we should just get some ‘proper stuff’. I might first try getting the proper tools. Five cans in it occurred to me it might be worth reading the application instructions …which recommend the use of a short pile roller and not the longer pile we have been struggling with.
With the bathroom assessed, measured and re-discussed K and his tiler left, giving me time enough to finish my section of painting and clear away the tarpaulin before the kitchen did in fact arrive, accompanied by the company’s amiable owner, P, and a jovial “Let’s get it in then shall we and have a look?”
Once unloaded and jigged roughly into place it all looked, as P had promised it would, “just as Jamie Oliver would have wanted”. Until, that is, the very final unit was carried in. The naked eye could tell and the measuring tape confirmed that no amount of jigging could make this last unit fit into the area into which it was designed – the problem being a waste pipe running down the side of a steel and the resulting boxed column now wider than the plans depicted. Cutting the corner out of the unit would weaken both its structure and its practical use as a recycling cupboard. Pulling the whole kitchen forwards to avoid the column altogether would extend the run too far down the length of the kitchen and cutting away bits of wall was considered but quickly ruled out. Finally P suggested the employment of the additional drawer unit in a new position which will, combined with a little extra spend on a deeper section of worktop and a reduction in spend on additional shelving we had planned to commission around the boxing, solve the problem. On S’s return home another layout idea was proposed so tomorrow, with C’s help, the final decision will need to be made. This is a situation I have spent many late nights poring over plans trying to avoid….however…..either solution may turn out to be, in the funny way that many resolutions to problems often are, more elegant than the original intention.
Punctuated with a couple of hot drinks, the remainder of the afternoon was spent discussing the finer detail of the installation, including our choice of hob.
“Are you having gas or electric?” P asked.
“Induction” I said hesitantly “I think we are both a little nervous but we were persuaded it was the most energy efficient and safe”
“Everyone that I’ve ever known who has had one would never go back” he said assuringly, “with the only drawback being you can’t make treasure maps.”
I raised my eyebrows quizzically.
“You know, burning the edges.”
There may well be a time we regret the inability to authentically accessorise a pirate outfit in this way…..but if that’s our only regret at the end of this long and very tense process then I’ll be a very happy pirates mum.
The kitchen arrives
The island units