Terrifying Technology


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.

The Sexiest Statue In The Capital


Treacherous snow and ice lying on the ground today kept us inside and prevented Richard from getting his van out of his drive until mid afternoon, so I decided to visit The Streets of London. Trains were not running so this was achieved through the medium of a batch of colour slides from June 2005.

The Hilton Hotel Paddington is actually in Praed Street, on the corner of Harrow Road, WC2. Paddington Walk, revealed when the large van had passed on, was still under construction at the time I made these pictures.

Still in WC2, Covent Garden Tube Station, opened in 1906, stands on the corner of Long Acre and James Street.

Floral Street is at the other end of James Street. Many scooter riders have their directions perched on a board in front of them.

The brass number plate at 80 Strand, on the corner of Carting Lane, WC2 clearly receives regular polishing.

Arundel Street, WC2 shares a corner with Temple Place, on which is sited Temple Underground station.

Along Victoria Embankment

lies Savoy Place where stands a memorial to Michael Faraday at the edge of Victoria Embankment Gardens.

There we find another, depicting the Muse of Music, celebrating Sir Arthur Sullivan. I know my self-imposed restraint on this series of photographs is that they must contain the street sign, but on this occasion I couldn’t help myself.

https://memoirsofametrogirl.com/tag/memorial/ tells us:

‘Sitting on reclaimed land on what used to be the River Thames stands Victoria Embankment Gardens. It’s a small pocket of greenery in the West End just a stone’s throw from the waterways located beside Embankment tube station. For many workers and tourists, it’s a nice place to have lunch, but it is often passed by. As well as playing host to a café and summer lunchtime concerts, the Gardens also feature a collection of monuments to the great and good.

One such monument is the Grade II listed memorial to legendary composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. Situated in the slimmer part of the gardens nearer to the north-eastern exit, it is located looking towards The Savoy Hotel. Sullivan and his frequent collaborator, dramatist WS Gilbert were closely linked to The Savoy Theatre, which was built by their producer Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1881 using profits from their shows. Gilbert and Sullivan’s last eight comic operas premiered at The Savoy Theatre, so it is only fitting that the Sullivan memorial is so nearby. Eight years later, The Savoy hotel opened next door, also built from profits of their opera The Mikado, which had premiered at the theatre four years previously.

Lambeth-born and Chelsea-raised Sullivan is widely recognised as one of the greatest English composers. Although best known for his operatic collaborations with Gilbert, he also wrote many operas, orchestral works, ballets, plays and hymns, among other musical compositions alone. Among his work with Gilbert included HMS Pinafore, Patience and The Pirates Of Penzance. Following an incredibly successful career and a knighthood in 1883, Sullivan died at his London flat of heart failure on November 1900, aged 58. Despite his wishes to buried with his parents and brother at Brompton Cemetary, Queen Victoria ordered he was to be laid to rest at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Nearly three years after his death, Welsh sculptor Sir William Goscombe John’s memorial to Sullivan was unveiled in Victoria Embankment Gardens by Princess Louise on 10 July 1903. The monument features a weeping Muse of Music, who is so distraught her clothes are falling off as she leans against the pedestal. This topless Muse has led some art critics to describe the memorial as the sexiest statue in the capital. The sculpture is topped with a bust of Sullivan, with an inscription of Gilbert’s words from The Yeoman Of The Guard inscribed on the side: ‘Is life a boon? If so, it must befall that Death, whene’er he call, must call too soon.’ At the bottom of the pedestal is a mask of Pan, sheet music from The Yeoman Of The Guard and a mandolin inscribed with W Goscombe John A.R.A. 1903.

Meanwhile, if you come out the Gardens and cross the road, there is a memorial to his former writing partner Gilbert on the retaining river wall. It features a profile of the dramatist, two females, two wreaths and a shield. It reads: ‘W.S. Gilbert. Playwright and poet. His Foe was Folly, and his Weapon Wit.’ Gilbert died May 1911 after suffering a heart attack in the lake of his Harrow Weald estate while trying to rescue the artist Patricia Preece, who was 17 at the time.’

This crossing in SE1 leads from Sutton Walk to Waterloo Station, which, had I gone up by the non-running train, would have carried me back to New Milton.

So slippery was it in our inclined drive that, when Richard did manage to arrive, he needed to lay a large dust sheet over the icy surface in order to carry in his tools and equipment.

He installed the extractor fan;

switched the hinges and lighting buttons of the doors of the fridge freezer, which, of course, involved drilling precise new holes;

and set it in its allocated space beside the ovens, from which he burnt off the insulation.

Plaster in various places was prepared for later smoothing.

We were so iced in this evening that it wasn’t even safe to walk along to The Royal Oak. I may not have mentioned before that we are not blessed with adequate street lighting. So it was instant vegetable soup and egg mayonnaise sandwiches for our dinner, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

Carefully Cutting To Shape


Compared with that experienced in other parts of the world, including the rest of the UK, the Christmas cake icing barely coating our garden when we awoke this morning could hardly be called snow. It was a little thicker later on,

and by late afternoon could even display avian footprints.

The Waterboy’s fountain was so frozen that its pump had to be turned off.

Despite a heavy cold, Connor turned up early this morning and completed the flooring. Some of the furniture had been placed in the far left corner to enable him to cover all the other areas. When he was ready to fill that space he rang for help to move the items off the previously prepared screed. Within ten minutes Andy arrived to help. A sheet of plywood was utilised to protect the new flooring. Andy, working at his usual rate of knots, didn’t even take time to remove the hooded jacket that had protected him from the sweeping snowflakes.

Once the final screed base had dried, Connor, carefully, cutting to shape where necessary, completed the job to an exemplary standard.

The fact that we ate at The Royal Oak for the third night running had more to do with the treacherous weather conditions than anything else. This was no hardship. I enjoyed my chicken ham hock, and cider pie in short crust pastry with red wine sauce, broccoli, manges touts,  peas, and mashed potato accompanied by Razor Back beer; Jackie was equally happy with her barbecue flavoured macaroni cheese and garlic bread. She drank Amstell.

An Inconvenient Trip

This morning, as we were beset by a howling gale, while Jackie continued scraping grouting smeared all over the tiles of the downstairs lavatory,

I further reflected on yesterday’s portrait. She was working on the wall the other side of the mirror.
I delved into my random negatives and scanned ten from the mid-1970s to 1981.

This photograph of me in what Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth called my Duke of Buckingham period was, I think, taken in Horse and Dolphin Yard, Soho in July 1974. Jessica was certainly the photographer. How my trousers came to require their extensive patching is told in ‘Death Of The Brown Velvet Suit’. I was so attached to the garment I could not bear to throw it away. The suit was kaput, but Jessica, with constant patching, kept the trousers going for some time.

Whilst in Soho, we, unfortunately, kept a parakeet called Charlie. The misfortune was the bird’s, not ours, for it was a friendly soul but clearly wasn’t happy, and lost all its tail feathers. One day, towards the end of the ’70s,  Jessica heard a radio appeal from or on behalf of Johnny Savile, recreations officer for Springfield Hospital in Tooting. One of the facilities afforded for the psychiatric patients was an aviary. Someone had freed all the avian residents and the staff were seeking replacements. Charlie was duly delivered to Johnny, and it is to be hoped he was happier in his new home. It may or may not be coincidental that Morden Park is now blessed with a fine flock of parakeets.
By mid afternoon the rain had stopped and the wind reduced enough for us to plan to tackle the garden again. Just as we were about to begin we lost all electrical power. By a process of elimination I established that one particular fuse marked ‘sockets’ had tripped the whole system. We then at least had lighting, and some power. The trouble was that there were four switches similarly marked, and nothing to show which was which.
The fridge/freezer Jackie had filled up yesterday was not working. Neither was our home hub or my computer.
It was definitely time to call for an electrician. This I did. Benjamin Renouf, of Abre Electrical, who I phoned using his mobile number, was without his tools, but this very pleasant and calming young man came to see if he could establish the problem. He tried all the obvious solutions, but needed to return with test equipment. He had to go home for his daughter’s ninth birthday party, but will visit again in the morning.

In the meantime, the fridge/freezer, our laptops, my iMac and the home hub are connected by extension leads to the cooker point on the kitchen wall. That is the essentials of human existence taken care of
We dined early this evening, on Ashleigh fish and chips, before joining Giles and Jean for a jazz evening at Milford on Sea Community Centre. I will report on that tomorrow.