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.

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.

In The Kitchen

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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.

Elizabeth Chose Her Moment

4th April 2014
Refreshed after the first good night’s sleep I have enjoyed in weeks, I went on an exploratory walkabout this morning.
Country Watch signStreamSetting off down Downton Lane towards the sea with what I think was the Isle of Wight visible in the distance, I took a footpath leading across a field to the right. I then followed a left turn along another with a ploughed field on the left and a wooded area to the right. As I passed a couple of Countryside Watch signs, I hoped I didn’t look too suspicious.
I leaned on a bridge across a gently flowing stream, and, as I walked away, I noticed a deposit on the palm of my hand, indicating that a bird had been there before me.
This track led me to a narrow winding road on the other side of which was Taddiford Gap car park. The road was quite busy, and therefore rather dicey to negotiate. I was consequently relieved to see another footpath to the right just past Taddiford Farm. I took it. It led through woods and, like the curate’s egg, was good in parts. It others it was a bit muddy. I crossed what I hoped was the same stream I had encountered earlier. It was, and led me to Christchurch Road opposite a rape field I had seen before from a distance, and within sight of our house.
Back home I tackled some phone calls. Today was the date of the activation of our landline and broadband. BT’s letter indicated that this could happen at any time up to midnight. I phoned a very helpful woman called Gaynor who told me the engineers were working on it. She put my mind at rest on the question of the hub working through floorboards. Apparently hers does. I had been invited to take part in a customer survey to which I had agreed. When the call about that came later, I was asked how easy or difficult it had been to obtain the help I required. I had a choice of 1 to 3 to press. Having been happy, I pressed 1 as required. The message was repeated. Three times. After which I gave up.
Pippa at Spencers had told us she could provide us with names and phone numbers of suitable people to carry out practical tasks. Since we were still getting nowhere with our Neff hobs and the Logik built-in multifunctional oven hasn’t been built in anywhere, I obtained a name from her of a man who would be able to deal with both of these and fit the washing machine. I left him a message.
Jackie worked on cleaning and sorting the kitchen whilst I cleared more space around the washing machine. This led to a major blitz on the garage. The shelf above the plumbing for the machine contained a sand-tray once, no doubt, used for potting plants, now a spawning ground for spiders, the white clusters of whose eggs lined the crevices. One heavily pregnant creature staggered away seeking shelter underneath. Having noticed the handle of a small shovel protruding from beneath garden shrubbery, I thought this might be useful for collecting up the sand. Upon extracting it I discovered it had been used for clearing up after an elderly dog. The morning’s guano was far more attractive.
On a roll, I then decided to drag out a rolled-up carpet Michael had given us. This would enable me to place some boxes of books under the shelves. However I had to reach the relevant end to tug, and clear various items lain upon it. My way was blocked by the legs of a desk balanced on top of the Safe Store book containers. It wouldn’t budge. This was because a box of books was wedged underneath it. I pulled the whole structure towards me, intending to lean the desk against the garage doors whilst I extracted the now seriously maimed box, spilling as few of its contents as possible. Elizabeth chose that moment to telephone me. Now propping myself against the desk teetering on the boxes, I fished in my pocket for my mobile phone and we had a pleasant conversation. After speaking to my sister, I completed the task and came in for lunch.
Having freed the desk, I had to find a home for it. It had always been my intention to have an office in the hall, but it was full of assorted belongings. so we cleared that, which, of course meant cluttering up other places. Never mind, it was a job well done. For there, in the middle of the wall under the bay window, just where I would have wanted it, was a lovely telephone point. Not so quirky after all.Office
I retrieved the home hub and telephone from the bedroom, and set it up in my now established office, this time with my iMac attached. Now all there was to do was to await the connection by BT. Then there was a shriek from  Jackie. We had no electricity. The loss of power coincided with her having turned off the hobs at the wall. Fortunately we had found the fuse box. One fuse had tripped. I turned it back on. Not only did we have light and power, but the child lock had disappeared. And we had broadband. Magic.
Coincidentally, my on-line friend Jane, had sent an e-mail telling us that turning off the hobs at the wall would free the lock.
The bad news about the hobs is that they work by induction which means the pans used with them must be magnetic, so, until we buy some more suitable ones Jackie will be forced to use my heavy iron pots.
We dined this evening on microwaved fish pie and mushy peas, with which I drank Isla Negra reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.

A Further Piece Of Quirkiness

3rd April 2014
PeriwinkleOn a wander round the garden this morning, I added periwinkle to the photographic gallery of our plants.
Curry/PC World delivered the fridge/freezer promptly as promised. Until they came we continued moving stuff around. This involved carting some furniture upstairs.
I telephoned Neff customer support line in an unsuccessful attempt to be talked through disenabling the child lock on the hobs. Although the woman who tried to help me was very helpful it didn’t seem to work. It was fun seeking out the relevant model number, which would enable her to know how to advise me. This, you see, was on the underside of the equipment that now formed part of the kitchen surface. Clearly I had to take out the drawer underneath, but then, how was I to read the figures? Lying prostrate on the worktop and sticking my head into the narrow space didn’t seem to be an option.
Jackie gathering flowersThis is where the Canon S100 camera came into its own. I held it under the plate, and after several goes, managed to obtain one image that was not too blurred for me to read the number.
Later in the morning we gathered up some spring flowers to take to Pippa in Spencers as a token of our thanks. This personable young woman found time to have a friendly conversation.
We then visited Costa coffee for some Wi-Fi time, and I posted my blog entry for 1st. An antique shop didn’t have a suitable replacement door knocker. If you are thinking of visiting before we find one, flip the letterbox repeatedly and yell loudly.
Back home we continued the cleaning and sorting. I then tackled the scary task of attempting to set up the home hub in preparation for its activation tomorrow. It remains to be seen how successful I have been. In the process I think I discovered a further piece of quirkiness. The previous owner had his office in the living room where there is a television aerial socket, but, as far as we can tell, no telephone point. The only place allocated for a telephone appears to be in the bedroom above. In the hope that we will be able to access the hub wirelessly through the ceiling, I set up the telephone and hub, I hope, in the upper room. Our predecessor definitely used his laptop in the room below. If that doesn’t work for us we may not be able to contain our screams of anguish.
My next task was to clear a path to the washing machine. This was no mean undertaking.
In the evening we set out on a search for any Chinese restaurant that was not Lotus in New Milton. There were a number of takeaways scattered about, but we felt we had earned a sit down. Following circuitous diversions across the forest, we were led to the Yenz in Brockenhurst which was very classy. The establishment was rightly proud of its head chef. The food was excellent, and the T’Sing Tao beer thirst quenching.
Back at Old Post House we just about managed to climb the stairs to bed.