Thursday 3 April 2008


my new kitchen - lovely, isn't it?

I’m beginning really to irritate myself. For those endless two years when we were trying to sell the house I had this mantra that everything would be hunky-dory, ‘when the house sells….’ Everything would be wonderful if we could only get our dream house and move into town, back to civilisation. Well, the house sold, we’re here, where we always wanted to be and am I happy? Am I heck. Admittedly 2008 has been possibly the nastiest year on record since 1970 – and we’re still only four months into the damn thing.
Part of the frustration is not being able to write about it all in lurid detail. Writing has always been my means of working things out of my system and blogging has been the most powerful form of therapy I’ve ever encountered. I think a lot of my black dog blues have been created by the effective gagging order on my writing – that and a deep grinding sadness that my motives were so misunderstood. I’m also flipping furious with myself for being so naïve. Heaven only knows, I’ve had enough warning shots that a Blog is for the World to Read. I guess I have never really really thought that anyone much would be bothered to read my ramblings. But people Google themselves (seemingly with monotonous egocentric regularity) and bingo up pops my darn blog. You know, it had never really occurred to me before to Google myself. Yet bung me into the search box and what do you find? Yup, there I am, splattered all over the Internet, like diarrhoea.

Anyhow, enough already. Let’s talk about something else. Like the Bonkers House. Lately I’ve taken to singing a tuneless little ditty that goes like this…..

Ten green acroprops holding up my wall…..
Ten green acroprops holding up my wall…
And if one green acroprop should accidentally fall…..

We laugh nervously at this little joke but I fear there could be a nasty ring of truth to it (just like Ring a Ring O’Roses viz the Plague). Work continues slowly, so slowly. After the first flurry of excitement, the heady joy of Something Being Done, we seem to have hit one of those endless bogs you encounter in dreams – no matter how hard you trudge, you never seem to arrive anywhere. The firemen are working solidly, doggedly, but the poor house is even more decrepit than we or they imagined – timbers are rotten and need replacing so the whole house looks like one of those stilt huts, held up by slender rods and our collective willpower.
We’re more or less living in one room – tripping over dust sheets, getting on one another’s nerves. The phone is out in the (freezing cold) hallway and yesterday my teeth were literally chattering so hard the person on the other end of the phone had to ask me to repeat myself. Given family issues over the last few months I have barely been able to work so money, inevitably, drags heavy on my soul. I have visions of the cash/credit running out and the whole place gently teetering onto its side and collapsing with a sigh.

We now have scaffolding all along the road side of the house, effectively creating a bottle-neck on the way out of town. Which means, of course, that we’re now living in a doll’s house – open to the world, or at least to the firemen.
‘Five minutes to ETA,’ bellows Adrian at 8.10am and an undignified scramble for the loo ensues. Our loo window is so high up that there have never been curtains or blinds in it – only the pigeons could see in. Not any more. You could easily find yourself, happily ensconced flipping through Homes & Gardens and find a cheery face waving at you. So now I tend to cross my legs or plunge down into the subterranean depths of the Loo of Doom. The seat is sub-zero and the walls ooze damp but at least it’s private.

However today the sun is shining fit to burst. There’s a magnolia (stellata, not my favourite but never mind) flowering its heart out and, even shrouded in dust, the house is putting on a tentative smile. It would be churlish not to smile back, wouldn’t it?


Anonymous said...

I certainly know about those warnings of your blog being open to the world to read. It isn't a nice experience when you realise someone is so against what you write that googling yourself becomes a past time.

Your kitchen looks similar to how mine looked once! With units.

CJ xx

Frances said...

Good morning Jane!
Please do smile at those magnolia flowers ... they are putting on a show for you, just because it's spring.

Those firemen will get your house ready to stand on its own legs pretty soon, I will bet you (without actually specifying what actual time that might be!)

Meanwhile, it is wonderful to have had a large helping of your wonderful way with words.


Milla said...

oh hoorah, hoorah, Jane, you're back and in true glorious form. One thing, though, if you don't put famous names on labels when blogging, will that not help with Google?? Just a thought. I'm lucky that there's some actress called Milla J-something or other who gets all Milla hits (not that there would be any, you know what I mean, arrarargh, not a self-googler, only when thrown into panic when everyone else upset by being exposed) Know EXACTLY what you mean about When The House Sells, it becomes a a tag for everything and you just can't see beyond it when you're not sold. This time has taken forever with us - maybe having older children, I don't know (last time T was one and F not yet born). Keep smiling, this time will pass. xxxxxxxx God sometimes I ramble and sometimes it's so very much worse.

Kitty said...

Oh yes, I know that one... when we get the farmhouse, when we're in the farmhouse, when we're back in the farmhouse... it'a a mythical time that never quite seems to arrive. And once our entire upstairs was held up, it seemed, by acroprops, and then a herd of bullocks wandered in, there being no doors or windows.
Just don't look, don't think too hard about it.


Oh god, Jane - I remember living with acroprops for months on end one year. The most depressing Christmas dinner ever eaten under a bowing ceiling with a rusty acroprop at an angle looking as though it might just collapse at any minute. But when they're all gone, you'll find you almost won't be able to remember them. And at least if builders are turning up to surprise you in mid-pee, at least it means something must be happening... It really does. Tell you what - if it all gets too much, just pack a bag and head on up the 303 to us for a few nights. I'm sure James and The Boy would get along just fine. And of course Adrian and H would both have a love of beer in common. Perfect.

Norma Murray said...

It gets there in the end. I spent quite a lot of quality time with a couple of builders at the end of my kitchen a few years back, and it was certainly worth it in the end. I've now room to swing at least two cats. So keep going. It will all work out eventually.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

acropops - they are like those train tracks they put on kids teeth...ugly but do serve a purpose and you soon forget they were ever there. Lovely to see you back.

mountainear said...

It will pass. Everything passes. And everything will be alright. Trust me. (Should you ever trust anyone who says 'trust me?')

Been there, done that. Had the plaster dust in the hair.

Grin and bear it. Write about it and come out the other side. Shame you can't mention any names though...

Inthemud said...

Hi Jane,

Really is frustrating to feel you cannot write what you want when you want to..........such a shame.
But as you say google and it all comes out like diorhea( Ican't spell it!)
Good luck with the kitchen.
I have a Magnolia Stelatta, I rather like it but Stan has a habit of pruning it at the wrong time of year so it doesn't flower well, last year not at all, this year i managed to stop him in time and have!

Pondside said...

Hi Jane - welcome back!
Having lived in the land of 'tomorrow' in the galaxy of renovations, I am full of empathy! I remember the year that we removed the floor and wall in the kitchen. The children were young and we'd work at night when they went to bed - the kitchen was, at one point, just a gaping hole in the centre of the house. We'd have to put down an enormous piece of plywood over the hole when we went to bed so that the children wouldn't fall to the cellar if they got up during the night. Of course we finished the work - it was gorgeous - and promptly sold the house!

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Oh so great to see you blogging again. I know just what you mean about the "when the house sells..." And the acroprops. What I can't understand is why we didn't stay in the house we made so beautiful - well, it isnt here of course, but weird to go through all that pain, like the result, but still move on.
Hope your year is on the up as the sun shines.

Westerwitch/Headmistress said...

Oh yes the everything will be alright when moving goal posts syndrome . . .

In the end it will be worth and it will actually come to an end even if it doesn't feel like it.

And naughty corner for calling yourself boring and self indulgent - if we thought that we wouldn't read your blogs . . .ok?

Zoë said...

I could tell you horror stories, 'The night the houses end wall fell into the foundations 6 inches from Tom's cot(acroprops failed), but I wont!

Keep looking forward, it wont be for ever, and before you know it, I'll be round to stress test your new kitchen and demanding another fabulous tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Sorry Milla)

So understand how depressing this stage is, keep looking at the Magnolia


Cait O'Connor said...

Your house WILL be finished and spring and summer are almost upon us. The only way is UP.
Thanks for blogging Jane.
WIsh I knew what acropops are (will ask my son he is coming for lunch.

Pipany said...

Good for Milla getting you blogging again Jane - sorry about the grammar or lack of there. Stellata is not my fave either, but i'll take all in the attempt to believe winter is over.

It is a b***G*R that your blog has caused you upset when it should help - remember though it is yours to do as you please and as long as you know why you write then that is all that matters; don't be bullied. Right, nag over and back to usual unassertive self! xx

Mopsa said...

Hmm... suspect it was that daft bint Liz whatsherface Jones with the appalling (ex)husband. Ignore.

CAMILLA said...

Hi Jane,

Glad you are blogging again, could not bear it if you did not, your writing is excellent, know everyone will agree with that.

I have always lost Stelata's when I have planted them, I probably have used the wrong soil but I do love them. You are not indulgent or boring Jane, far from it.

Best of luck with kitchen Jane, it will be great in the end.


Bluestocking Mum said...

Seems like we have all experienced the acropops-me too so at least know what your're going through.

Take care dear friend-good to see you blogging. May not be sewing my side up which is a shame for you-however as always, you touch a cord and that is what writings all about (so keep up the blogs)

You know, when you kit the bottom it can only go one way and I know things will be bright again for you are such a good person.

See you soon