I left you last week, dear Reader, with a half finished kitchen and a long list of camping stove menus. Things could only get better from that point on….or so I thought. However, when darkness fell upon the house (for the second time) as our builders drilled a hole through our electrics, I wondered how I would manage in the glow of camping stove gas and candlelight. With one wall (new plaster, paint and all) smashed into to find the possible errant screw, the builders prompted left saying that there was nothing they could do until the electrician could come back in 2 days time. Not ideal. Being of the non-confrontational sort, I smiled and said with a slightly jumpy giggle “You can’t leave me like this with 2 small children.” “Well it’s not like we are leaving you with dangerous electrics – the trip switch will just pop loudly if anything else blows”, was the answer. Reassuring, dear Reader. In the light (no pun intended, believe me) of our newest drama, I set off to our local farm shop café in search of sustenance, warmth and illumination for the girls. To be honest, I was determined to find a meal for Primrose and Poppy that wasn’t something along the beans, lentils, chickpeas, chicken, stew or anything cooked on the camping stove front as moaning had reached fever pitch. We arrived in the hopes of finding a homemade steak and ale pie, only to find that they had stopped serving food ten minutes before we arrived. Disaster. With a VERY disgruntled Primrose who reprimanded me for not knowing the opening times of the café off by heart, we returned to cook….yes you guessed it…more chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken…..if we eat any more of it, I shall consider taking up residence in the hen house permanently.
An evening of disco lighting followed. Turned out that the builders had managed to make our outside lights flicker on and off and there was no way of stopping them. Not to mention the fact that miraculously and in a rather creepy ghost house sort of scene, the new lighting track in the kitchen switched itself on. The lighting proved useful briefly but being so close to the timber beams and perilously hot, I was more than a little worried that it posed a huge fire risk as the bulbs were buzzing, giving off enough power to light up the National Grid and set the whole house on fire. For one fleeting moment, the sockets in the kitchen seemed to work too and I dashed to fire up the mini electric oven one of our darling neighbours had dropped off in a bid to save us from turning into chickens. Pizza I thought! I was genuinely jumping up and down with excitement until the wretched oven caused a power surge, blew up and took with it all the sockets and lights in the kitchen which had only just come back on. Ringing the builder for the millionth time, I got the response: ‘Oh you know these old houses. Really sorry but we may have to start knocking into the plaster again if we can’t find the problem.” My heart sank. The walls were nearly all plastered and painted and I was desperate to get my kitchen back. I think, dear Reader, that I may have retired to bed with a torch and a large gin at that point.
Still a week on, the kitchen is nearly finished and I am the proud owner of a beauteous piece of kitchen kit. My Everhot. The day it turned up, I was like a giddy school girl. FINALLY, I had a countryside oven!! Almost everyone in the village has popped in to take a look at the modern Aga-type-thingamabob contraption that I now have installed in my kitchen. Handbook read from cover to cover and cookbook (Everhot send you one…amazing), I am learning to battle with the beast and haven’t burnt anything as yet. I even have a kettle that WHISTLES – although it does take an age to boil on the stove top. Perhaps that’s the countryside’s little reminder to have some patience and enjoy a slower pace of life? Judging by the fact that I only managed to serve a main course for guests over the weekend as it took me far longer to cook things on the Everhot than anticipated, I think that I might have taken my newfound way of life too seriously. To M and E, the most forgiving of guests who put up with dinner served at nearly 10pm and no pudding – I am heartily sorry and promise triple helpings of any dessert you request when we next meet. I know that I shall never live that one down. Any chance you could put it down to the leisurely stroll of country life?!
I leave you with our nearly newly renovated kitchen, dear Reader. Although, there are still some bits left to plaster, a leaking dishwasher to fix, a bit more painting and rounds with the Polyfilla and I am keeping everything crossed that our temperamental electrics don’t pop again, I love it already. It’ll only be another 3 weeks until the larder cupboard arrives……and at least that until the builders and plasterer come back to fix the holes in the wall. Country life strikes again….no sense of urgency at all!