Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kitchen confidential - 4

1. I have a week off. When I applied for the week it was because I am in desperate need of winter additions to my wardrobe. Not because the kitchen was on the plan.

2. Coincidentally it has turned out that this IS the week the builders plan to start work. My intention has always been that I would take 1 day off is to give the builders the keys, show them where all the electric and water mains are, where the kettle, mugs, tea, coffee, sugar and milk are, and then leave.

3. I fully intend to go into central London and buy a new overcoat (winter is coming despite all my mental powers to avert its path) and some proper winter office clothes (I have been a bum in jeans too long)

4. Over the weekend of shoving all our furniture into the tiny room that doubles as guest room and kid’s room it has become apparent that living in the flat is going to be a chore while the work is continuing. Possible dust aside, it seems that we will have to confine all our activities to our bedroom. This is not much bigger than a postage stamp, especially now that kid's cot and playmat and all his toys also live in it.

5. We decide that it is worth our sanity to move out for a week. Of course it’s Monday morning by the time we come this decision.

6. So on this, the first day of my week of leave for relaxing and shopping, I am on the phone calling every estate agent and rental service apartment in the vicinity to see if anything at all affordable is available at such short notice.

7. Of course there isn’t. What’s affordable isn’t available and what’s available isn’t affordable. I begin to use contacts I have to suss out any deals. Monday has flashed by in the blink of an eye and I have not yet one new item in my winter wardrobe. And no place to move to. Damn.

8. It’s Tuesday. The builders are here. Today and tomorrow they will remove the kitchen, unit by unit, appliance by appliance and tile by tile. They will disconnect electric points, bring down walls and begin to put up new walls and re-plaster.

9. I spend the evening entertaining my son by showing him ducks and staying out of the house till bath and bed time. And then perched on some very dusty dining chairs late that evening, eating microwave dinners off our laps, we have a breakthrough for a place to stay. From Thursday.

10. When I said ‘possible dust’ (pt.4) I clearly had no idea. It’s like the Sahara in here. All that's missing is an oasis.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kitchen confidential - 3

1. Over the weekend, and a few days before even, we began to pack up our kitchen in preparation for what is no doubt going to be a star kitchen. IN fact it is not going to just be a start kitchen it is going to be THE star kitchen.

2. So we were given 3 cardboard boxes which fitted all the main big cooking utensils and some of the smaller knick knacks that we seem to have hajaar of.

3. Then we bought 4 plastic boxes and began to fill those up. They filled up fast what with plates, masalas, other kitchen crap. We stuffed the first one and it broke as we tried to move it. So we had to dump it in a corner (still stuffed) and cover it with a bedsheet. Lesson learnt was to spread out the heavy stuff, share and share alike.

4. Then we moved our sideboard out of the kitchen. Now this is a beautiful sideboard we bought a few months after we moved into this house. It has provided all the extra storage we have needed so far. I have no intention of getting rid of it. Where I shall keep it in this already cluttered house is altogether another matter.

5. The sideboard and most of the living room furniture has moved into the kids room. The kid has moved to our room. His toys and floor mats are spread out between both rooms. The sideboard has been stocked up with what we are likely to need as a functioning kitchen over the next few weeks. Cutlery, plastic utensils for us, ready food for kid.

6. The dining table and chairs have moved to in front of the TV as has the giant bookshelf. The bookshelf has been emptied and serves as part 2 of our makeshift kitchen with kettle and tea and coffee things for the workmen. TV in front of the dining table is kids dream come true as now he can watch M.I.C.K.E.Y while he chews on every meal....

7. The second bathroom has been cleaned and sterilised so that it can be used as a makeshift kitchen. This level of hygiene will have to be maintained as it is also what the builders will use for water for things like plaster beside using it as a loo.

8. Coffee table glass and other breakables have been balanced delicately on the spare bed.

9. Cooking has become thing of the past as all utensils have been packed. For now I am enjoying takeaways and home delivery but I can already see how much I miss the ritual of cooking and eating something I made most week evenings.

10. The kitchen hasn’t even started but already we are exhausted.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Kitchen confidential - 2

1. My dream kitchen is IN the catalogue. I did not know it was my dream kitchen till I saw it. Also I am easily swayed by pretty pictures and the most impractical yet beautiful design. I am a marketers dream.

2. Turns out that that was my dream kitchen only in THAT dream. I turned the page and lo and behold another kitchen is calling out to me.

3. I am not going to be indecisive. I show V the shortlist of 2 from the catalogue. He points at the one he likes best, says we should ‘go for it’, and with his winning smile makes me think that it was all my bright idea to begin with. I love this man.

4. So I look some more and finally decide on which kitchen I want from the catalogue. Although I don’t want its appliances or tiles or worktop.

5. I want an American two door fridge freezer, a pull out larder, a wine cooling fridge thing and an island. Yes, an island. One of those big block things in the middle of the kitchen around which my many friends and family sit and sip wine while I cook Boeuf Bourguignon a la Nigella Lawson. An island with hidden storage and a genie/housekeeper that will bake us muffins and iron clothes.

6. My kitchen however, is not co-operating. It is too small and everything appliance wise will have to stay exactly where it was. No big fridge freezer for this home, no siree.

7. You know how people say ‘your eyes are bigger than your tum’? Well it turns out that my eyes are bigger than my kitchen. Waaay bigger. My real kitchen would fit on the island in the middle of that dream kitchen - such is the discrepancy between my mind’s eye and the real dimensions.

8. The sad reality is that I am the island in the kitchen. I will stand in the middle of the units and whirl about being the genie/ housekeeper who only whips up sad sandwiches.

9. Now that I have made my peace with the ‘no island’ part of the programme I am digging in in earnest to make sure that my chosen kitchen will suit our small flat, limited space and budget. Does such a creature exist?

10. I have decided on a kitchen with black units and oak worktops and Travatine wall and floor tiles. I have negotiated what I think is an expensive but fair deal with my builders to pull this one out, make a few structural alterations, fit the new kitchen, paint and clean up after themselves. Let the games begin.