That’s The Way To Do It


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.





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.

In The Kitchen


This morning we visited Crestwood Showrooms on the Ampress estate in order to select flooring for the new kitchen. We then took our sample to Anne at Kitchen Makers in Sway. Anne will organise the installation. Jackie also discussed various other options while I wandered around with my camera.

The kitchen showroom is tastefully laid out with examples of appliances, cupboards, and surfaces; with carefully placed ornaments and accoutrements.

Milo reflected

Milo, the dog, sat on the stone floor reflecting on the proceedings, as

Anne explained how appliances such as the microwave oven worked.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome cottage pie with cheesy topping; firm Brussels sprouts and carrots. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Beefsteak Club Malbec 2016, a very good Christmas gift from Helen and Bill.

Boxes, Bags, And Beams


This morning, beginning with my bedroom, I began the task of reclaiming my rooms. I filled eleven black refuse bags with shoes and clothes from my room, labelled them, and transported them to the hallway, along with the television and its various attachments.

Karen Vick, from Leggett estate Agency, came to view the property and set in motion the process for its sale. She had been recommended by Garry and Brigitte, and is a local councillor.

The two large walk-in cupboards in the attic have been filled with the occupiers’ property. Right at the back I found some of my own belongings from the sitting room, including ornaments that had belonged to my grandparents. Broken cardboard boxThey had been thrown higgledy piggledy into a broken cardboard box. Stuffed into a stiff paper carrier bag that was dirty inside, were my two raincoats. My books, at least, had been stacked neatly on a set of shelves. Broken tableA broken bedside table had been dumped into one of the cupboards. Miraculously, my grandparents’ rather fragile tourist purchases from one of their trips to St Malo were undamaged. The same could not be said for a much more robust lidded pot that stood on my bedroom mantelpiece. That, a present I had given my parents many years ago, had been smashed and tossed into a waste bin.

It is actually nowadays a physically painful operation for me to crawl about in a packed attic, attempting to avoid boxes, bags, and beams. I have a few scars from the heavy timbers which I sometimes nutted.

I can’t now remember where I found my underclothes and socks. Possibly with my shirts in a wardrobe in another room.

My toiletries, including electric toothbrush, razor, hairdryer, comb, etc., etc. are all missing.

I have written before about the summer Friday evening meals in the square. Today I dined there on succulent grilled duck and chips followed by, back at the house, cake Michael had bought yesterday. I met Nicole and Joel, who ran La Renaissance, the previous incarnation of Le Code Bar. This event was now their business.

Later, on full volume, in an only partially successful attempt to mask the music from the square, I watched Prime Suspects ‘The Lost Child’ and ‘Inner Circles’. Both superb productions, the first was particularly poignant as Superintendent Jane Tennison investigated the suspected abduction and murder of a small child, immediately after she had herself undergone an abortion.


A number of readers rightly gathered, from its brevity and the absence of culinary description in yesterday’s post, that I had run out of creative steam. For those concerned about the lack of sustenance, I can say that we had boiled eggs and toast for breakfast. On our knees of course. Well, on plates on our knees to be precise.Boiled eggs

We had packed the egg-cups, but there is no end to Jackie’s ingenuity.

Offers of weekend help have come from Danni, Becky, Flo, and Ian. These have been gratefully accepted. We should have quite a party.

Cupboard under stairsMeanwhile, I boxed up the contents of the airing cupboard and the shelves occupying the spare room; and cleared out the cupboard under the stairs. Those who know we live in a flat may wonder why we have a cupboard under the stairs. We are blessed with one because it is in the bathroom. ‘What?’ you may ask. Well, you see, the building underwent a vast conversion into its seventeen apartments in the 1980s. Our bathroom occupies part of what was the main entrance hall. The area under the main staircase provides us with the said storage space.

The more we achieve before the weekend, the more family fun we can have. Volunteer helpers, please note, you are required to bring your own wine and ale glasses.

One of the processes it is advisable to follow when moving house is that of emptying the freezer and the fridge. This is best done during the preceding days, so that the contents can be enjoyed and cooking be at a minimum. This makes for some fascinating platefuls. Sausage casserole and chicken KievThis evening we dined on sausage casserole (recipe), chicken Kiev, chips, and vegetables. And a very tasty melange it was. I drank Lion’s Gate Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2012, an extremely quaffable South African wine.

Incidentally, my younger readers may not be aware that when I was growing up in the 1940s, people owned neither fridges or freezers. This was particularly problematic in the summer of 1947, when tar melted in the streets. Butter and milk had to be stored in sinks full of cold water that soon warmed up itself. Runny butter dripping off hot toast, as described by Kenneth Graham in my all-time favourite, ‘The Wind in the Willows’, may be quite attractive. Rancid butter slipping out of its wrapper onto a dish before being poured on your bread is quite another matter. ‘Rancid’, incidentally remains one of Matthew’s favourite words, ever since I once used it when he was a child. You’d be really surprised at the number of uses to which the term can be put.

Another such versatile word usage was coined by Ray Chard, who once described a cricket ball that had been returned after being hit out of the ground, as somewhat ‘gnarled’. In our family this word did not have the longevity of ‘rancid’, but I hope Ray still uses it. I have been known to entertain the youngest Knights with it. You must admit it has a certain cachet.