Before The Makeover 1


Oven Pride deep cleaner carton captions claim: ‘Cleans first time’, ‘Unbeatable results’, and ‘No scrubbing required’. Now, this is probably true if you care to clean regularly. If you give the appliance a real bashing over Christmas and New Year, and don’t pay it any attention until it starts smoking, I can assure you that it would be unfair to hold the suppliers to account charged with misrepresentation.

Today, we continued the cleansing process Jackie had begun yesterday. She had applied the soaking solution which we now scrubbed with Brillo pads. Given the corrosive nature of this preparation, the Maintenance Department forced me to wear thick rubber gloves. Declining the pinny, I rolled up my sleeves.

Here, Jackie cleans the front surface before allowing me to photograph it.

Oven corner 1

This unshielded oven provides a good example of the impracticality of the kitchen we originally purchased. In fact, because it had never before been used it was most unusual, in that it was clean, with its paperwork inside. Designed to stand under the hobs it was in fact seated above the storage cupboards, all low on the floor. There is no storage at a higher level, except for the pull-out larder on the right. There was no case for the oven, which was not even attached to the electricity supply. When trying to obtain one we learned that these Moben kitchens were no longer available. The oven, of course, greatly reduces the limited working surface, more of which is taken up by the microwave on stilts, and the fan required by the creating Culinary Queen. Readers will not be surprised to spot an empty Hoegaarden bottle waiting to be put out for recycling.

Wine rack corner

The fitted pull-out is only 50% accessible because of the wine rack to its right. The blue-grey tiling matches neither the brickwork of the former fireplace on the right of the picture nor other, different, tiling around the sink, itself far away from the cooking area.

This evening, in this kitchen, Jackie produced flavoursome cottage pie with savoury gravy, and firm carrots. Brussels sprouts, and manges touts with which I drank more of the Malbec.


Progress Report

Last night Jackie managed to set the central heating system to come on at 6.30 a.m. Now we are warm. Seated in the living room which abuts the hall/office she heard a dull tapping she described as ‘bonk, bonk’. As she walked out to investigate the radiator under the bay window the noise stopped. After she had repeated this three times she stood in the doorway waiting for an encore of the sound. Five minutes went by. Then a blackbird perched on the windowsill and tapped out a ‘bonk, bonk’.
Martin Taylor came on time this morning and plumbed in the washing machine; temporarily fitted the oven on the work surface; advised us on redesigning the kitchen; and suggested we try to obtain the cooker housing to match the rest of the Moben installation.
Our predecessors had retained all useful paperwork including that from Moben kitchens, I rang them to ask if the oven container could be matched. The number was out of commission. A Google search revealed that the company had gone into liquidation. Not being a very good surfer I soon became tired of researching other sources. We can think about that another time.

At least the cooker is now operative. Not only is the oven working, as you can tell by the timer light in the photograph, but it reflects some of the other tasks we completed today. We moved some furniture from the lumber room, where we hope to sit in comfort one day, to other parts of the house. A Chinese cabinet I bought when in Sutherland place is seen in its new home in the kitchen.

Actually we are now able to see that we will have a sitting room one day, particularly as some of the floor is now empty.  The foreground of the picture that shows this, bears evidence that I have today paid, by telephone, the final electricity bill for Castle Malwood Lodge.
I rather treasure the red waste bin that peeps into shot from the right. Readers may recognise the partly obscured Adult Literacy logo. I have often mentioned Beauchamp Lodge Settlement, of which I was chairperson for many years. One of the tenants in the ’70s and ’80s was an Adult Literacy Scheme. When they moved on they left their bin behind and I snaffled it as a memento. That organisation existed to bring together volunteer teachers and those who wished to learn to read. I don’t think it is still functioning.

The office is looking a bit cluttered at the moment, but I have hoovered the floor and Jackie put a rug down.

A statement of intent to turn the garage into a library has been made.

Is there anything in life more satisfying than flat packing a SafeStore box after use and stacking it away?

When we first viewed our new home, we lunched at The Royal Oak pub, and were rather less than impressed. In January the establishment had closed down and was up for rent. Only a couple of days ago did it re-open under new management. This evening we thought we would try it again.The last three days’ steady rain had just made way for a sunset that lent an optimistic glow to the building. John was a very attentive host. The food was good and reasonably priced. I ate fish and chips whilst Jackie consumed chicken in bacon and drank Stella. My choice of wine was Invenio merlot d’Oc 2013.