Custodians, Cable and Chinese: Wk 18 – Day Five

With nothing very fun planned for Fun Friday, expecting as we were the rep from UK Power Network to arrive shedding light, or at least amps, on our electricity supply issue, I let O sleep until he woke which this morning was very late indeed. Meanwhile P arrived and in the absence of his little breakfast mate, cracked straight on with the bathroom.
“I’ll have another look at that hearth for you today” he had said as he made his way upstairs.
“I’m still not sure what to do” I stalled “I’m worried that having it on show will be a pattern too many. Theres the tiles, the marbling on the surround then the hearth. Its all a bit of a mess. S would still like to cover it over rather than pull it up so future generations can find it again but…” I trailed off.
“Problem with that” he began “is that the current fireplace sits on the tiles at the level they are now. You can’t really tamper with that.”
In addition, P warned, the tiles are unlikely to come out unbroken…. dashing any thoughts I’d been having about salving my conscience with at least one salvaged tile, framed for posterity.
“Leave it with me a while” I said indecisively.
“If its any consolation” P said, resuming his ascent, “The Victorians would have tiled hearths like those in the black quarry tiles you were suggesting. There’s so much going on with that fireplace its worth remembering that one part of it, at least, isn’t original.”

I nodded thoughtfully and went in search of my coffee. We’ve spent some good money on the fireplace refurbishment this far, I rationalised, surely that counts in our favour to anyone bothered to, er, count? And anyway, I felt myself getting defensively on a roll, the Victorians must have made decoration mistakes too. Must we, as the house’s new custodians, steadfastly try to save it all…..the good design decisions and the bad? In 100 years from now I tried to imagine someone making the case for the preservation of the Worlds Smallest WC fish mural on the basis that it is a 2013 original. Though its doubtful it will make it into 2014 let alone 2114 therefore relieving future generations of the agonising decision, I came to the conclusion that meanwhile I might just try to persuade S round to my way of thinking ….us having dedicated far too much time already trying to solve a migraine inducing problem about a hearth.

A little while later, with C busily connecting lights into the kitchen shelf and O and I both breakfasted and dressed, the grid representative arrived. C quickly volunteered to translate the anticipated electrical jargon and helpfully explained the issue we had. Pointing the rep to the snug where the cable arrives at the fuse inside a built in, heavily varnished (eco stripper is at the ready….) cupboard he looked apologetically back at me.
“It’s a shame all that has been put in….we can’t really get to it. I need to see where the cable goes”

C, always ready to talk through any aspect of his work, jostled him out of the way, electric screwdriver in his hand.
“See here….?” he indicated inside the cupboard. The rep peered over his shoulder obligingly in the direction he was pointing.
“I designed this so that it could easily come out so there would always be access. It can all come out. There are just four screws. 1. 2. 3. 4.” He pointed to each in turn.
“Right…well….depending on whats behind there it looks to me as if this should be fairly straight forward. I just need confirmation from the engineers but to me, if that cable you reveal is straight, its a no brainer. We should have you sorted quickly and fairly cheaply.”
As C removed each of his four screws revealing a thankfully straight cable, I breathed a sigh of relief. We will find out the response from the engineer early next week but it would seem we have been worrying without cause.

With C resuming his messy work in the kitchen and P noisily cutting tiles upstairs I made some hastily arranged plans to meet a friend in the park and scooping up both O and his scooter, made our escape.

Later, returning home to a blessedly quiet and builder-free house, I happily decanted jars and Piquotware from the larder onto the shelf, adding vases, pictures and plants to get a feel for how it might look. Upon S’s return, arms full with a writhing 20 month old, O having just hurtled head first into his arms, I pulled my tah dah face.
“Mmmmm. Yes. Nice.” he said carefully “lots of lights…..”
“What do you think? That picture could go on the wall there, hung above the oven. What do you think of the lamp? I don’t necessarily mean to keep it red but I just thought it gave an idea…..oh….and I’ve turned all the jars round as I don’t like the blackboard paint on them now.”
I paused for breath, waiting expectantly for his reaction.
“I didn’t ever like that blackboard paint on the jars.” he said simply, tickling O.
“But what do you think?” I pressed. He reluctantly replaced his giggling son on the floor to resume his verdict on the styling thus far.
“Well. It’s a start. I don’t like the microwave there and I think everything should come off the shelf and we should just cook and put stuff where we put stuff so it builds up naturally”
Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked, I thought. I’ll say without going into too much detail that this methodology of simply putting things where they fall is currently being applied in our bedroom and its not really working out for me.
I looked at him crestfallen.
“I liked the vases.”
“I’m just saying.”

Skipping O’s bath….in our currently compromised bathing conditions he generally comes out dirtier than when he went in….we fast forwarded to story time followed by his bottle and bed. Once safely slumbering, I tiptoed back downstairs to the kitchen, stopping for just a moment to drink in the sight of an almost finished kitchen.
“Chinese tonight?” S said from the sofa.
“Sounds good. Wish we had some crap to watch”
“We do. The Apprentice”
“But we’ve missed it this week…”
“I’ll get it on iplayer and run it through the telly”
I smiled. There are many good things about living with the Pebbledashed Pad Technology Manager and this is one.
“Ahhhhh, fantastic. Chinese and the Apprentice” I said, reaching up to our new shelf for a wine glass.
“Chinese and The Apprentice….” S repeated “is that what our life has become?”
I took a sip of my wine and nodded.
“It’s enough.”


Oven/ring thingy still in situ until the hob is connected….


A reminder of our horrid hearth


Wallpaper goes up
Second coat applied



5 thoughts on “Custodians, Cable and Chinese: Wk 18 – Day Five

  1. Lounge looks good.
    shelve in kitchen a bit cluttered! Ran out of cupbored space?!!!!!! I remember u said about my kitchen to “empty” the work tops a bit.!!!
    The hearth thing. whats so bad.? The middle tiles with patern on are alright. dont like the white and orangey ones. but from photo. seams under floor level.
    any way. mugs on the way. so meet Z soon. shes got a little “home sweet home” surprise.

  2. Love the kitchen and the shelf looks wonderful with all the things on ,bet you hardly use the lounge once its all finished, bit like me !!

  3. It’s fascinating seeing how your kitchen is developing. The green tiles are amazing! While I agree in theory with the principle of seeing where things fall naturally on the shelving, in our house that would inevitably result in a delightful display of lurid toddler plastic bowls and sippy cups, punctuated by various Organix food boxes, so I think in real life a touch of artistry is required!

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