He Could Have Fooled Me

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For lunch today Jackie drove us to Steamer Point from which we walked down to the Beach Hut Café for their plentiful breakfasts of excellent quality.

There was not much activity on the beach on this dull day. A small child was being photographed with a dog;

and rugby tackling practice was being undertaken. The older man told me that he was not athletic. He could have fooled me.

When we returned, Richard had set the new sink in place and was marking out the template for the finished top. His skilled draftsmanship would be sent to the workshop for the final fitment to be made. Everything he does is infused with his early training as a boatbuilder, and his immense pleasure in his work.

Later, he produced similar pieces for the worktops on the other side of the galley and around the former fireplace.

This evening we dined on instant vegetable soup and ham and cheese sandwiches. I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

From Eleven To Twenty One

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My beautiful granddaughter enjoyed her eleventh birthday party yesterday. The lovely Louisa posted a set of photographs on Facebook. Here is one.

I spent much of the day scanning my negatives from Louisa’s 21st birthday party in May 2003, which traditionally took place on the lawn at Lindum House. With a few additions, the guests were those who had enjoyed such events for a number of years.

Of course, a Bouncy Castle was an essential requirement.

That year there was the addition of sumo suits, wrestling in which was continued in the castle. Louisa’s first opponent was Layla.

Later, she took on Sam, and a number of others joined in when battle continued inside.

I took a breather in order to enjoy the flowers.

Louisa produced my album from her 11th birthday party and all these young adults enjoyed reminiscing as the book was passed around.

Derrick and Louisa

Someone else took this photograph, so I scanned the print.

Tesco chicken jalfrezi and rice is not bad, but not as good, and nowhere near as plentiful, as Jackie’s. I know, because that is what we dined on this evening, followed by donuts and Wagon Wheels. I drank Concha y Toro reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

 

Back In The Garden

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Wandering down the garden paths today

provided very few corners without snowdrops. The Daphne odorata and camellias are blooming and budding. little blue irises, have and yellow crocuses are out. The white alliums easily confused with snowdrops are beginning to grace the beds. Pulmonaria, primulas, and pansies offer a little alliteration.

Red Admiral on bergenia

As so often at this time of year, a tattered Red Admiral basking on a bergenia revels in surviving the winter.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. The food, service, and atmosphere were as excellent as always. My main meal was davedush; Jackie’s was murgh noorijenani. We shared special fried rice, an egg paratha, and onion bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.

 

 

 

I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

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Early this morning, Ross visited briefly to help Richard move the furniture back to the far end of the kitchen. Richard then set about building the bespoke cabinets and work surfaces. These had all been designed and cut to size in the craftman’s workshop. Clamps were applied to the sections; screws selected from the relevant boxes; the drill and spirit level employed;

 

and further refining cuts made with the chop saw, equipped with its own laser beam.

Ham, egg, and chips; macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

At lunchtime we left Richard to his work and visited Otter Nurseries café for lunch. My choice was ham, egg, and chips; Jackie’s was macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

Staplewood Lane

We then took a trip through the forest. At Staplewood Lane

 

we experienced what must have been rerun of a 1950s cartoon. A paddle of ducks swam in a full ditch.

 

 

A scout, leading them across the road to Little Staplewood Farm, spotted a black and white cat advancing from a distance, and alerted its discombobulated followers

 

to turn back to the safety of the water, and cross the road when the coast was clear.

 

Sylvester, however, had sneaked into the farmyard and hidden under a Range Rover. He was not unnoticed by the guinea fowl, the geese, and other ducks who set up a vociferous alarm. One of the geese, in particular, was bent on saving Rome.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Y-XlLcRMU&w=560&h=315]

 

Towards the end of the day, before Richard carried out his customary spotless clean and tidying, he paused with a coffee and discussed with Jackie this week’s progress and plans for the next. She looks quite pleased.

This evening we dined on tasty fresh chicken and egg salad. I also enjoyed an excellent ham and cheese sandwich.

 

Coordination

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First thing this morning Ross and Lee delivered some of the kitchen equipment and a chop saw. They also brought the old sink back in from outside so that Richard could fit it later for temporary use. They are all enjoying the blog, particularly because of the proof that they had been working. Richard was able to check last night that the floor would be ready for him today.

Richard then set about installing the kitchen units. I was fascinated by the red beam from the laser level, which had the benefit of demonstrating the straightness of the craftsman’s back.

For lunch today Jackie and I repaired to the Banging Breakfast Café at Old Milton. We had not visited them for a good couple of years since they changed their name, and were happy to find that there has been no reduction in quality, and that they still serve Ferndean Farm Shop sausages.

After this we took a short drive into the now waterlogged forest, where, after much heavy rain, rivulets ran down the verges of lanes like Rodlease, and pools gathered at the bottom, reflecting the skies and vehicles splashing through.

Jackie had parked further up the hill and I walked down to take these shots. After I had rejoined her she continued on the way we had been travelling.

We then encountered a big blue beast quite incapable of backing up. Jackie had to reverse down a steep gradient and into a driveway forcing the car into a wheelspin. In fairness, I have to point out that BT Transport is nothing to do with our telephone line provider.

Riders on road

At least the riders we later encountered in Church Lane were able to skip onto the verge.

Early this evening, Richard cleared the far end of the kitchen

in readiness for Andy’s arrival. The man from Crestwood came on time and laid the screed on that end which had been cluttered with furniture. He had no Connor with him so had to mix and carry through the preparation himself, putting me in mind of artists like Vermeer, who mixed their own paints. As he cheerfully said, it was “self service”.

It is this kind of reliable coordination that makes these teams work so well.

 

 

The Screed

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Today we had a further opportunity to watch skilled craftsmen at work. Two men from Crestwood came to prepare the surface for the kitchen flooring. Andy arrived at 7.45 a.m.; Connor some half an hour later. By 10.30 they were on their way to the next of three more jobs for the day. Yesterday Richard had expressed delight that this was the team that would be carrying out the work because they worked so fast. They proved to be human dynamos.

First there was a little tidying and application of masking tape.

Next, tubs of screed material were mixed in the front drive, carried into the house, and poured onto the floor.

Connor wielded the flat, oblong, trowel like the artist he is, while Andy kept him supplied with the viscous material. Despite the cold weather it is clear that the younger man became quite warm.

Jackie and I lunched at Redcliffe Nursery. My choice was Danestream Farm Shop justifiably award-winning steak and kidney pie, carrots, broccoli, and sautéed potatoes with gravy that would have graced Jackie’s table. She enjoyed Shepherd’s pie with similar vegetables. We also bought cheese and pickle and ham sandwiches for our evening meal. These were made with thick granary bread.

 

“Just One Tooth Away From Killing Itself”

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It was touch and go whether I would be able to post at all today. This was because my iMac disc was allegedly full, and I couldn’t open anything.

Apart from a pleasant early lunch at Redcliffe Garden Centre where I enjoyed a breakfast  bap containing bacon, sausage, and egg; followed by half of Jackie’s moist Victoria sponge that followed her excellent vegetable soup with thick crusty bread, I spent much of the day positioned between necessarily noisy labour of Kitchen Makers in the kitchen and a computer screen shared by James of Peacock Computers.

Richard and Lee were severely hampered in the kitchen by the state of the electrical wiring exposed when the old equipment was removed. Apparently most of the wiring, although connected, was dead and not doing anything. Admirable patience was displayed as they attempted to find the cable from which everything on that side of the wall and floor was actually doing anything.

Richard

Throughout this struggle Richard remained his cheerful, affable self.

An additional factor was the evidence of a ravenous rodent. Richard showed me the affected wiring. The red and black wires had been nibbled. He was of the opinion that at least one mouse had been “just one tooth away from killing itself”.

Lee was tireless in chipping adhesive away from the floor tiling, clearing up afterwards, and leaving a good surface for the preparation tomorrow for the final flooring to come later.

Meanwhile, James sent my cursor careering across my screen, lighting on a likely culprit, cleaning it up, dashing across to another, and leaving sets of figures to mount up or die down. All in all it was really reassuring relying on others remedying  electrical and ethernet enigmas.

Further offerings from Hordle Chinese Take Away afforded us our evening sustenance, with which I drank more of the Madiran.

 

 

Demolition

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This morning, Richard, Lee, and Ross from Kitchen Makers arrived on time and began taking apart our old kitchen.

Richard concentrated on the sink area, and on contemplation,

while the younger men chipped off old tiling, dismantled the cupboards, and carried the rubbish outside, ready to take it all away. Everything was cleared up as they went along.

When Richard adopted his contemplative pose concerning the floor, his colleagues claimed that this was his customary position on the job.

Light catcher and Ross

Anyone who has received a Pauline King light catcher will appreciate that she kept her eye on the proceedings.

Soon after midday we left them to it and joined Giles and Jean for lunch at Monsoori Heights in Milford on Sea. My main meal was king prawn vindaloo.  Jackie’s was paneer tika. We shared lemon rice, a plain paratha, and onion bahji. Jackie drank coffee and I drank Kingfisher.

Nearly Done

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Light from light catcher

As I read the posts I follow this morning, it seemed as if Pauline came to visit me. There is an open door to the kitchen beside my desk. There on the floor was a delightful play of light that could only have come from

Light catcher

 her light catcher hanging in the window at the far end.

Plates, glasses, etc.

Maybe she was encouraging me to get on with packing up more of the kitchen equipment. The contents of a set of IKEA shelving

Glasses cupboard

standing beside the Chinese glassware cabinet, were eventually laid out on the dining table.

Plates and glasses in library

Jackie and I carried the shelves into the Library and stacked their plates and glasses back inside them. The welcome mat used to hold the container level was Ian’s idea of a joke.

Aaron spent the morning painting some of our garden furniture, then took away the dishwasher and oven we have given him.

After lunch, which we took in the sitting room, I carried the plates and cutlery into the kitchen in order to feed them to the dishwasher.

Ah. We haven’t got one any more.

Kitchen glasses cabinet

During half-time and after the final whistle in the Scotland versus France rugby match, I set about unloading the contents of the glass cabinet. I had no idea how well stocked it was.

These chargers, and a selection of vases, were on top of it. I had decanted these plates and the contents onto the table and the now clear culinary work area. There was nowhere near enough room on the table alone.

Another set of IKEA shelving and the shelf over the old fireplace held all the herbs and spices. Because the extractor fan doesn’t work these containers, despite regular cleaning by Jackie, were a little tacky. When Jackie and I had finished transporting all this to the Library we decided to call it a day. We are, after all, almost done.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which I drank more of the Madiran and Jackie. The food was consumed direct from the containers “on us knees in front of us telly”.

Packing Up The Kitchen

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Shelf in Utility Room

This morning we began preparations for the kitchen work beginning on Monday. First, a table in the Utility Room was cleared to receive the electric kettle, toaster, and microwave during the two weeks the Culinary Queen will be deprived of other cooking facilities.

Then began the clearing of the cupboards and packing their contents into boxes Jackie has collected in recent weeks.

 

The containers were then transported to the Library.

This afternoon, I watched televised Six Nations rugby matches between Ireland and Italy, and between England and Wales.

The Culinary Queen has committed much of her creations to the freezer, but we were able to enjoy a second helping of yesterday’s beef in red wine this evening. I kept back a bottle of Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014 and made a start on that.