Assiduous And Carnivorous Trees

It was the turn of a blue tit to investigate the crab apples on this very overcast morning. This one found the fruit a little large for its beak, and didn’t stay long.

This afternoon, Elizabeth collected the keys for her new home. Naturally we were there to see her over the threshold, clutching thoughtful presents from Caldwell’s Estate Agents.

Also left for her on the surface of the utility room was a personalised welcome card featuring the house.

Jackie here stands between the utility room and

the kitchen with its induction hob.

The bathroom downstairs contains a corner bath

and matching suite;

Elizabeth examined the walk-in larder cupboard.

Upstairs there is a well appointed shower room,

and three good sized bedrooms, some with wardrobe cupboards,

and views of the gardens

with their shrubberies,

and a nicely weathered The Three Graces bird bath.

There is a solid garden shed

and garage in the grounds which

are fronted by a bank of ‘assiduous and carnivorous trees’ – at least that is what the spell-checked brochure claimed.

The house and gardens were immaculately presented. It is well worth remembering that this solid, well designed, home is one of 2,400 presented in 1948 to the British by the Swedish government in recognition of our forebears’ support during the Second World War.

Elizabeth has been staying with Mum since she left hospital. She will return there this evening. Jacqueline will arrive tomorrow to take her place so our sister will be able to spend the next few days moving in while she stays with us.

Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away provided tonight’s dinner for Jackie and me. I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2016, while Jackie chose Hoegaarden.

Terrifying Technology

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This morning we began the task of familiarising our new kitchen and slowly returning items to it.

Kitchen 1

Here is a reasonably complete view across the sink to the long work surface. To the left we have the fridge/freezer and ovens alongside the larder, opposite which are the induction hobs.

Fridge/freezer, ovens, cupboards

Alongside these latter is the small cupboard bearing Richard’s new door.

Dining areaSink and dining area

 

Looking across the sink area to the long window we have the dining table.

Jackie by bins

There is a cluster of waste bins under the sink.

I needed Jackie’s assistance to microwave my coffee this morning. She remembered this process, but found

Jackie with instruction books

the rest of the instruction booklets rather daunting.

Needless to say the room will now need expert decorating to do justice to the work of Kitchen Makers and Crestwood. We will have to wait for the money from France for that.

Much of the day was spent carrying items in from the library, wiping off the dust, and placing them in cupboards. We have decided to keep the free-standing Chinese cabinet in the kitchen in order to display the glasses. It also blends well with Richard’s oak shelving.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro.

We Have Survived

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Saucepans

This morning we unpacked a set of complimentary pans that came with the hob.

The garden has perked up after the snow. Sap is rising in no longer flaccid daffodils, hellebores, irises, and primulas; the first sunshine warms the beds, casting striking shadows.

A couple of days ago we thought it would be impossible for Aaron of A.P. Maintenance to work today, yet, here he was, pruning roses.

Meanwhile, Richard completed the kitchen. The cupboard doors were finished;

one he had made for the under stairs cupboard that had only had a curtain before;

having smoothed over yesterday’s plastering, new power points were fitted everywhere. Notice how Pauline’s light catcher bestows her blessings on the proceedings,

Smiley saucepan face

and a saucepan’s seal of approval is presented in a smiley face.

After a long day’s work, Richard carefully and patiently gave us tutorials on how to operate the scarily complex equipment. Tomorrow I will feature the total tour de force.

This evening, in our new dining area, we enjoyed a takeaway meal provided by Mr Chan at Hordle. I drank Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo reserva 2016.

 

 

 

Snowponies

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I was banned from the kitchen this morning in order to allow Richard to catch up on his largely snowbound day yesterday.

Rain and a slight rise in temperature had brought about the beginnings of a thaw, so Jackie drove us into the forest on roads that were no longer icy.

They were rather more slushy;

ditches, like this one with a birch perched on its bank, were still iced over;

and snow, still lying beneath trees, streaked the moors.

Rain falling from a leaden sky made heavier the coats of drooping ponies trudging across the roads.

Ponies, snow, bracken, gorsePonies, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorse

A pair of grey snowponies, hoping for cosy scarves and carrots, had not yet begun to melt.

Steak and pizza

At Bransgore we lunched at The Crown Inn, of the Vintage Inn chain. We both enjoyed our meals. Jackie’s was pizza diablo with chips; mine, also with chips, was rib eye steak with peppercorn sauce, tomato, onion rings, and green salad. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back, still known as Ringwood’s Best.

Outside Bransgore, on our way home, we noticed a sheep trying to supplement its wool with a straw shawl, whilst neighbouring alpacas grazed.

Richard had not been idle. He had fitted most of the cupboard doors,

continuing with them and adding the hob before leaving a little later. The dishwasher door display is projected onto the floor.

This evening’s meal consisted of instant minestrone, chicken tikka, and tomatoes.

Inside And Out

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After I finished drafting yesterday’s post, Richard added the second cupboard fixed to the gravity battens. The horizontal battens in the side-on view will take the panel similar to that held in place by the clamps at the right hand end.

Having increased the capacity of our modern fuse box, our craftsman is rationalising all the kitchen wiring and switches. Having re-plastered the section of wall removed yesterday he then fitted new switches. Standing on a stool he fitted a row of labelled switches for the cooking appliances, then, crouching in the box to take the cooker, laid the cables.

Most of Jackie’s greenhouse cuttings have survived; sweet pea and poppy seeds have germinated.

Bergenias, snowdrops, primulas, and irises can be seen throughout the garden beds.

The earlier daffodils are coming into bloom;

and prolific camellias are burgeoning.

Ovens

By the end of the day, Richard had installed the new ovens. The appliance visible at bottom right of this picture is the dishwasher which will be installed tomorrow. He had his customary tidy up after I took the photograph. We left him to it while we drove off to dine at Lal Quilla.

At the restaurant I handed Raj the prints for his wall. My main course was lamb jalfrezi; Jackie’s was the Lal Quilla Special of minced lamb and chicken; we shared mushroom rice and egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher. Raj would take no payment.

 

 

That’s The Way To Do It

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I spent much of the day trying not to hamper Richard while he continued to work on cupboards.

In the corner to the left of the old fireplace hung a non-functioning extractor fan. Planning to install a functioning fan in a different position, and having fitted cables for the cooking appliances, Richard set about preparing the wall for a cupboard.

The next step was to prepare a back for the cupboard. First, with the aid of his scribing block, this panel was to be made snugly to fit the slightly wavy line of the wall. In the last of these photographs, Richard explains the purpose of this little square of wood enabling him to pencil the exact route following the wall onto the pliable template panel.

I then learned how this little block could be used to transfer the precise line onto the final panel.

Clamps had been applied to prevent excessive movement at the early stages of the process. Note that plumbing has been attached to the underside of the sink.

The sheet was then cut with equal precision with an angled saw. The craftsman wore his mask to prevent his breathing in the flying dust. The purpose of the angled cut is to allow Richard to plane the edge from the rear so that it is not visible from the front.

Why, I wondered, were narrow battens attached to this panel, once in situ?

The answer lay in the grooves in the shelves that were then cut exactly to size,

and fitted in place on the wall. Note the small piece of wood employed to protect the shelves from direct contact with the hammer.

Interspersed with this activity, another batten was going up on the adjacent wall. This was one of a pair of gravity battens matched to those previously attached to

the cupboards that were to hang firmly fixed there. Richard was pleased that the Kitchen Makers logo is visible on his T-shirt.

Before putting anything else on that wall more dodgy wiring needed tackling.

As Mr Punch would say: “That’s the way to do it”.

Every time we have passed The Hobler Inn on Southampton Road over the last two or three years, we have said we should try it sometime. This evening we did, and were not disappointed. Our superb starters were respectively whitebait with fresh salad and crusty bread, and chicken satay with equally excellent salad and pitta bread. My main course was fresh fish, chips, and mushy peas; Jackie’s was perfect penne pasta. I drank Ringwood’s forty-niner and Jackie drank Amstell.

 

 

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.