Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dining tables, exercycles and gyms - all good for round people

Where have all the long lazy weekends gone? This house settling in is taking up way too much of my time and energy to be believed.

There was a time when I would wake up on a Saturday morning, peer at my mobile phone clock digits through one eye, be shocked that it was 7am and that my bloody body alarm had kicked in 5 days too late, and promptly curl myself deeper into the duvet, promptly shut that one eye and go straight back to sleep. And be asleep within an instant, till noon at least. I can no longer remember the last time I accomplished this feat.

Now my Saturdays have taken quite a different shape. And I do not like it.

As with all recent weekends this was a busy one. Furniture delivery in the morning – a four drawer, four door reclaimed teak sideboard and one round teak dining table to go with the chairs that arrive 2 weeks ago. The sideboard weighs in at over 100kgs and looks solid. I can almost imagine what those teak trees look like. In the time it took to find the prefect place for the sideboard to live it magically grew roots and rooted itself to the spot it has been placed in – there is no hope of ever moving it or taking it with us when we leave this flat. Look at me, talking about leaving before even having been here 3 weeks!?

The dining table is a revelation. The perfect size for the little alcove in front of our kitchen. So now whoever (me) is cooking can be talking to their guests while throwing pizza dough into the air to form the roundest lightest crispiest pizza bases for dinner. Of course I don’t make pizza bases. And anyway with my luck it would probably stick to the ceiling. Coming back to the dining table - I am a great believer of eating at the dining table. I hate eating off my lap and I hate the idea of crumbs everywhere – or drops of gravy gravitating to the floor. It’s all the legacy of my mum and dad who insisted that every meal be eaten, not only at the table, but off beautiful dishes and a well set table. I believe that a meal is better digested if eaten of a table. Call me old fashioned if you must.

The afternoon was spent in John Lewis with me trying to convince V that beautiful patterned curtains were the way to go. With a little 'effective persuasion' (ie. do what you want) from Shoefiend I managed to win half the battle. We’ll have bright red flowers on pale ivory curtains in our second bedroom. Absolutely exquisite. V says he is never going in there again.

It took about 3 hours (I kid you not) to order curtains that will now take 5 whole weeks to be made and delivered. My guess is that the cloth is woven in India, measurements are taken in John Lewis stores here and relayed to workshops in India. All that too-ing and fro-ing is what takes 5 weeks. Meanwhile I will have paid a small fortune to pull down masking taped sheets and replace them with real curtains.

Our first meal on our beautiful table, and not precariously balanced on our laps, was Pizza out of a box, greedily eaten with our hands. Disappointing. I had wanted the meal to be more dramatic. Table mats, cutlery, an array of pickles. Curries, gravies, dal, subji’s – all vying for the opportunity to fall off our plates – surprised to find their descent cut short by our solid table. I shall have to call our friends over again, for a proper meal.

Sunday was no less tiring though the pace slackened a bit. Had lunch with possible new friends; i.e we’ll see how it goes. Then we traipsed around a Greenwich furniture store till we found the perfect ‘media’ cabinet to house the various bits and bobs of electronic equipment needed for ‘pleasurable cinema quality home viewing’. That is to store sky box, dvd player, amplifier and woofer. V is thrilled. And it nearly matches the rest of our furniture so except for the plastic steel of the boxes and 300 wires it should look quite nice.

There’s an exercycle shaped space on our floor. No, it hasn’t died, and no, we weren’t robber by exercise thieves. Colleague came over in the evening to pick up our exercycle. I had put up an advert for it in office and within a day my colleague had walked up to my desk and said she wanted it. So she came along on Sunday evening with her 6 year old daughter in her Skoda, admired our flat and left one cycle richer. This exercycle has been our main form of exercise for well over a year now. Either V or I would place it in front of the TV and cycle for between 30-45 minutes in the hope that our hearts and bodies were getting stronger. While it made no discernable difference to our physical beings it was all I was willing to put myself through.

Things have changed. From a time when I was not willing to use a gym I now live too close to one to have any excuse not to. So the exercycle has been sold and a gym membership bought. What I think of gyms and attempt in the gym are stories for another post. I am feeling nostalgic about the exercycle. A bit like a pet that’s been given away because we are traveling to places where the quarantine is too long. I am glad it has gone to a good home.

Getting back to the rest of our Sunday evening, we then had M&A round for our new ‘apartment approval programme’. They approved and so we fed them a dinner of pasta at our shiny new dining table.

I feel tired but it was a weekend well spent. More than tired I feel grown up. I own a dining table. And some day in the future we will have curtains. Who ever thought that these facts would rock my world!?


  1. Hhmm. All that time for curtains eh?

  2. Congrats .. you're nearly getting to the settled point!

    My ingrained well-set-dining-table self has frequent conflicts with get-cooking-pans-to-table-and-therefore have-less-to-wash self. So far the former has always won .. lets see how long that lasts.

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  4. Your parents had their fundae clear when it comes to dining elegantly and digestion. Have you read the book French women don't get fat? There author makes similar points according to reviews on Amazon.

  5. Eating at the dining table off those shiny cutlery sounds good. I tried few days ago and i'm never going to do it again.

    Lap eating is so much easier.

    Looks like most of the major stuff at home is done with. Now that should give you more time at the gym. :D

  6. Gyming rocks. SPecifically, the jacuzzi and the steam rooms :-) Jokes apart, excercising refreshes the mind as much as it does the body. Have fun.

  7. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Yes, I am all for the gym...gets the juices(both mental and physical) flowing...

    however, i am not for table-all-set-pretty eating...for 2 reasons...i am a fewer-dishes-to-wash girl and an eat-only-one-plate-of food girl...when i eat at the dining table i eat tooooo much!!! 40in2006

  8. Sounds wonderful.. I'm already making all sorts of house moving plans for some date way way way far off.

  9. Yeah curtains rock! We just got ours and I feel so proud when I look at them! Its fun setting up a new home!

  10. Neha: yes, unbelievable isn't it?

    Pea: I must admit that 'sitting at the table' often only means serving up in the kitchen and not actually brining out nice serving dishes. We always have nice placemats and napkins though!

    GG: Yes, I now fully appreciate the point my parents were making although as a youngster I often rebelled against being the one having to set the actual table.

    Me: I hate eating off my lap becuase I am a messy eater. And no we are not nearly as settled as we thought!

    Parth: Am enjoying the gym and routine of it all much more than I thought - wonder how long that will last!?

    40in2006: I love the whole ritual of sitting down to eat. I eat the same amount whether at the table or not. We serve up in the kitchen (one wok meal) and usually need only one plate - so it's not more washing) but the whole sitting down and eating is calming after being in a hot kitchen.

    Beks: I wish you luck. You will need it. Maybe I will write a guide to house moving?!

    Inquisitive: Curtains will rock - if they ever arrive. As for house setting up being fun - its more stress than fun I must insist. I need to keep breathing deeply not to blow a fuse. Also need to keep thinking of the light at the end of the tunnel - the day it'll all be done and I can sleep till noon on a Saturday!

  11. Anonymous5:29 AM

    We ate on the kitchen floor for nearly two months in our new house. The table is a huge relief. And I am a sucker for placemats and napkins too.

  12. Dining tables can be the centre piece of the house. You have to make sure that you have a nice stylish piece, with a great table and chairs. For cheap dining tables and chairs check out Suite Success. Their Bentley tables are absolutely stunning!