A while back, I mentioned that the house was going to be hell: we were rebuilding the kitchen. And I was going to post photos.
Well, it still isn’t done, properly, so the photos haven’t appeared yet. But as it’s been so long, and isn’t going to be completely finished for a while yet, here’s two. Our kitchen: before and after.
If you’re wondering about the lighting: those photos were both taken with roughly similar exposure settings on the camera,* which just shows how much better the lighting is now. The Cat, as you can see, was keen to make his dominance of the area felt.
* Not quite the same, but comparable. The exact details should be still in the EXIF tags, if you care.
Well, the new kitchen is just about finished, apart from a few little bits of pelmet and so on. The only problem is: working out how to operate it all. The hob, the oven, the microwave, all have lots of buttons and switches and dials, but I’ve no idea how exactly it all fits together, what works what. The manuals aren’t much help, either, as they seem to be largely in German. I was planning lots of baking when everything got sorted out – it might have to wait until I’ve remembered where I last saw my English-German dictionary. Ah, well, I suppose that means I have time to sort out my day-by-day photos of the kitchen being rebuilt.
Next week is going to be hell. I’m dreading it. Our kitchen – which passed its 25th birthday last winter – is being ripped out, torn up, and being replaced by something nice, new and shiny. The only problem: it’s going to take all week. The house is already in uproar, and I have no idea how we’re going to eat. Lots of dinners out next week, I think.
It’s a bit of a milestone, doing all this. I can only very faintly remember the kitchen we had before, at the old house. It had a sliding door from the dining area. Erm, that’s it. I’ve lived with the current brown cupboards, brown tiles, freezing cold green tiled floor for so long, it’s going to feel very strange living in something different. This morning, I took photos from the kitchen doorway. I’ve never taken many photos of the inside of the house, itself,* so when things do change I rarely have a proper record of them. If you want to see what our house looked like over the years, you have to look in the backgrounds and the corners. So, I took photos from the kitchen doorway, and I’m going to keep taking them next week as the old kitchen is pulled apart and the new one is built.
The mother didn’t get the point. “I don’t want you taking pictures of it and showing everybody when it’s a mess,” she said. “Wait until the new one is finished, then you can take pictures of it.” I will do. But I want pictures of it how it is now, too, because I don’t want to remember something that’s new and novel. I want to remember something that’s old, faded, and comfortable.
* except for, once, the big green Victorian mirrored ball, round, not tiled, that hangs in a corner of the dining room.
There are little routines you get practised in. Little things you do automatically. Taking things in and out of the oven, for example. Oven glove on one hand, open door with the other, stand back from blast of heat, pick up tray in gloved hand and shift it.
So then, why, making dinner last night, did I manage to get it wrong? Open door with ungloved hand,* pick up hot tray with same hand. OWWWWWW. And it was my writing hand, too. I can still type, but it might be a few days before handwriting is on the menu again.
* the handle on our oven door is too small to open if you’re wearing an oven glove; you can’t get a grip on it. Which is silly in itself.
When I was still a student, as a researcher, I was always a bit rubbish. I’m one of those people who hoovers up random, unconnected pieces of information like anything; but when it comes to use it I can never remember where it came from. Little factoids are no good unless you can judge how true it is likely to be, and you can’t do that if you don’t know their provenance.
For example: everybody knows that the Tower of London maintains a family of ravens, for there is an ancient legend that states that should they ever leave, the Tower, the monarchy and the nation will fall. Their wings are therefore clipped, to try to lessen the risk of them wandering.* Everybody knows about the legend, and its ancient origins. Just how ancient is it, though?
There’s an article on the ravens and the current Tower Ravenmaster in the current issue of Fortean Times. It claims that it was Charles II who was first warned that the ravens must never leave the Tower; but that there is no actual evidence for their presence before the end of the 19th century. So, possibly another of those ancient traditions invented by the traditionally-minded Victorians. Possibly not, though. There is another, older myth on a similar theme; but it wasn’t about literal ravens at all. It’s a much, much older myth, and it isn’t even English.
On Sunday, after reading the FT article, I spent a good hour or two reading up about it, and writing a post about it, but accidentally deleted it in a fit of stupidity, by pressing the “reload” shortcut when I meant to type the “open new tab” shortcut. It took an hour or two because, as I said above, I can remember a lot of things, but can’t remember why. So, I spent quite a long time reading the wrong books in search of information I was sure was in there. Bah. I’m going to go and reread them now, so I can go and rewrite.**
(read part two here)
* and, incidentally, the Tower now has a well-equipped isolation aviary to which they’ll be moved if there’s a bird flu outbreak in Britain.
** and to give me an excuse to break this over-long post up into parts.