Sunday, 24 July 2016

Grand Designs

It’s amazing how so many aspirations about your life centre around your kitchen. Ever since we started the renovation work I have had dreams and ideals floating around in my head about how life will be “once we have the new kitchen”. For example in my new kitchen…

….I will wake up each morning, sweep into the kitchen in a silk kimono dressing gown, make myself a double espresso from the De Longhi coffee machine, fling open the French windows and welcome the day in on the patio with a Marlboro red and a serious caffeine hit (reality: don’t drink coffee, don’t smoke, certainly don’t own a kimono – my dressing gowns have in the past been confused with dog blankets, by humans and, alas, dogs, and the chances of it being warm enough to sit outside at any time of the day around here, let alone first thing in the morning, slim to FA).

...I will arrive home from work, casually throw my Mulberry handbag across the new island next to the freshly cut and artfully arranged flowers, pour myself a glass of crisp, white wine and perch myself gracefully on a stool still in my stilettos to discuss the day’s events (I do genuinely believe this will happen despite the fact that a) I don’t actually ever leave the house to go to work these days, b) I have no idea where my handbag is and the only mulberries I am ever likely to have in my life are the ones from the slightly diseased tree in the orchard, and that is only if I can get there before the birds, c) the only flowers we have in the house are dead dandelions that the girls are so fond of bringing in, d) I only drink at the weekend, once the kids are safely asleep and then only half a mug of wine before I fall asleep, e) I, probably unsurprisingly, no longer own any stilettos and f) probably the most unlikely of all, sitting still for longer than a minute would be a complete bloody miracle around here. Ah well, I can but dream).

…..My kids will sit quietly for hours at the new kitchen table, contentedly drawing Dali-esque obscurities which we will coo over endlessly and pin artfully to the new fridge for visitors to marvel over, whilst I can devote  my full attention to a lavish, five course meal with herbs and complicated sauces and everything. (The chances of this ever happening, any of it, are about as likely as the England football team winning the world cup. Ouch sorry).

…. I will bake cakes that will rise and be as light as a feather, not burned and uneven and impossible to stack together because you used the wrong shaped tin, your toddler ran off upstairs at the critical moment leaving said cake to overcook and your iPad has run out of battery and you have no idea where the charger is to bring it back to life and reveal the critical parts of the recipe.

…..Friends will just drop in and wander into our new kitchen whereupon bottles of fine wine and expensive nibbles will magically appear on the immaculate, clutter-free worktops and we will while away a few hours laughing uproariously and smiling till our faces hurt, just like models in a  page from a Howden’s catalogue. What I am overlooking of course is that we live in the arse end of nowhere so any visits have to be planned months, if not years in advance. And the chances of losing an afternoon to an impromptu boozing session are non-existent given that any hint of spontaneity in your life, of course, disappears as soon as kids arrive on the scene.

…..I will make at least one Kilner jar of something wonderfully wild and colourful and delicious a week to display proudly (smugly) on our new shelves and I will not (absolutely will not) put off doing this because I can’t face the hideous task of trying to get welded-on sugar off the pans or the even worse job of forcing myself to eat yet another failed attempt at some ambitious wild elixir.

….I will sit in the rocking chair next to the fire of an evening, glass of full-bodied red in my hand and read (and properly inwardly digest) the intellectual bits of the weekend papers and be ready to make insightful political commentary with others, not just skim through the fashion and food pages before throwing the whole lot in the recycling largely unread and settling down in front of Gavin and Stacey (again).

Ok so my aspirations and the reality of my life might be gulfs apart but quite frankly the sheer joy at having access to a dishwasher, a full sized sink and a cooker again far outweigh any vague feelings of disappointment I might feel when I slowly come to realise that life will probably go on much as before, albeit in a much larger, shinier kitchen.  It is still very much, to quote my husband, “a work in progress”, (and I daresay always will be – we already find ourselves suggesting that bare plaster walls have a certain industrial chic that is quite appealing, just because neither of us can quite face opening yet another tin of paint right now). But it feels great to be making our mark on the place and who cares if it takes us a few more years to get it just right. I am now beginning to have a much fuller appreciation of why Kevin McCloud decided to run a Revisited series...


After (still WIP)


  1. You seem to be getting on quicker than we are over the Berwyn in Llangynog!

    1. Looks can be deceiving. We seem to have ground to a halt now! What's your project all about?