|Borough Market, May 2016|
One day I'll look back on this and think "What was I thinking? The kitchen was perfectly good before, all it needed was to change the cupboard doors, although yes the tap wasn't really very good, and the tiles had started to fall off the walls, and the paint colour was too dark except where there was bare plaster because of the damp, and Ilf did warn me that the wiring was going to kill me if I didn't get an electrician in, and the oven grill wasn't working any more, and I didn't need two fridges and two freezers or the 30-bottle wine rack, and the stopcock was completely jammed, and it was really dark most of the time especially in winter, and the outside tap didn't work. But apart from that..."
Speaking of Ilf, he has been on loan to the Lola II/Mr M household and has been painting. From the sound of it, and knowing what he's like, he's painted everything they've asked him to and then painted a bit more, because he likes to do a good job and a good job is when everything is completely painted. I don't have any imminent trips to see the results but the photos look good. [Update: I did have an imminent trip after all and the results are beautiful.] Anyway, Ilf came round to my house on Sunday partly because I'd asked him if he wouldn't mind being a second pair of eyes when it came to the building work. I think he expected it to have started by now, but we looked at the plans and he made a couple of very useful suggestions, the main ones being to keep a detailed daily record of who comes round and does what, and to ask lots of questions about materials and what's going on.
After the visit from the flooring guy, it is looking more and more like I'm going to have to be the project manager that I didn't want to be, and it will all take a very long time because of tradesmen needing at least six weeks notice all over the place. Ulf will knock down and rebuild the wall and the roof, installing the roof lantern, stud partition, doors, windows, radiator and lighting, and arranging plumbing, gas and electrical supplies and plastering, and replacing the stairs. I think that will be all for him, because next is the kitchen units. worktops, appliances, sinks and taps from Ylf, and the flooring after that. Then at some point I'll have to consider painting and tiling the walls, but I'm not thinking about that because if the Apocalypse happens first I'll have saved myself some effort. After the work starts I'm not expecting to have a working kitchen for three or four months, perhaps longer.
But that's OK, there's a splendid pub next door, I know how to make soup and sandwiches, and I know of two launderettes in Leamington. I'll have a microwave and possibly the loan of a steamer. I can anticipate that there will be a staged improvement when I have running water and a sink. The wine rack was collected (thank you eBay - the buyers came all the way from Yorkshire!) but I still haven't got rid of the built-in fridge and the cupboard doors and I don't really think I will. There's a chance someone will want the gas hob but I don't want to lose that until the very last minute.
I haven't come close to completing the tax return. But the kitchen is going to be great.