Monday, October 02, 2006

Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey.

This weekend saw a few more “firsts” in the life of FTC, and all of them of the good variety.

First up, the barn got a fresh supply of legal elastic trickery. To explain, there were electrics in the barn before, but they didn’t inspire confidence in the way the fittings dangled majestically from the wall by the flex so the power was never turned on. When the kitchen fitter had the electrical work signed off, y’man took one look at the fuse board and promptly disconnected the whole supply to the barn. So, in preparation for impending winter, the decision was made to bump this job to the top of the list. Thanks to a nice electrician who was happy to take on some weekend work, the barn now has two brand new strip lights and three sets of nicely conduited sockets. As you will soon read, the combo of recently installed workspace and new electrics are proving to be an important mainstay in the health of the relationship – who needs a potting shed when you have a workshop.

The second big event to hit FTC this weekend was the lighting of the fire. Not really one to break out the marching band you might say, but this was a major symbolic event for both of us. When we were originally writing a list of “must haves” for the house, a fire was the first thing on the list. It is something I have had in every house I have had in the last 5 years except my last flat, and both of us had missed it more than I can describe because we’re both avid fire gazers. Based on the condition of pretty much everything in the house, we took the decision when we moved in that we wouldn’t light the fire until it had been swept and that mission was accomplished last week. This weekend, after some umming and ahhing, we decided that the weather conditions were just about favourable for a fire (and neither of us could wait any longer so it would have been lit even if we had needed to open all the windows and change into swimwear). As you can see, Harry is as much of a fire fan as we are, although I suspect that his interest is in the wood rather than the fire itself, since he risked serious fur loss over the course of the evening when any wood was added to the blaze.

At this point I had an epiphany my friends, Keith and I are fast becoming the biggest middle England cliché going – hound by the fire, wax jackets and wellies under the stairs, pipe and slippers of an evening … chuck in some tweed, a Volvo and an Aga and we’re pretty much there. If I ever utter the words “room for a pony”, somebody slap me, please.

Aaaaaanyway, moving swiftly onto the kitchen. Due to a lack of planning on the previous owner’s part, the kitchen extension was (very thoughtlessly in my opinion) not designed to accommodate granite in the edge profile I originally wanted, so I had to go for something that has delayed the installation by a few days. I took the opportunity to cover some of the delicious terracotta and ‘morning pee’ wall colours with a good solid base coat. Obviously since the plastering and tiling still hasn’t been done there was limited benefit in doing this but it needed doing and there was some free time going.

I say it was done, what I mean is that I did it. It was supposed to be a joint effort but after some discussion, it was decided that Keith should stomp out to the barn and hit bits of metal with a large hammer and I should spend the afternoon expanding my list of Universal Truths of Painting. For those of you who have not met this list before, they came to me during the decoration of my last kitchen, roughly about the time I went ar5e first into the kitchen sink while holding a full pot of white gloss. The rules at that point went as follows

1. Paint is like blood, the smallest amount looks like the end of the world, especially when you add water into the mix

2. Gloss paint is very difficult to remove from the crotch area but removal is preferable to letting it dry

3. The amount of paint you get on you is directly proportional to the importance of the meeting you have at work the next day

4. If paint is allowed to settle, it will always choose to settle on the surfaces you least want to ruin.

After this weekend I would like to add a few more rules to the list …

5. Dogs attract paint splatter.

6. Dogs like to lick wet paint

7. All things being equal a dog, given half a chance, will always lie right where you need to clamber down from the worktop. Don’t bother looking, just assume, and always, ALWAYS put the tray and roller down before you start clambering – halfway off a worktop with one leg dangling and one arm keeping the whole kit and caboodle level is not the time to be looking for a place to rest your paint.

and finally

8. Sometimes the Rawl plug is best left in the wall.


The kitchen is looking much easier on the eye now, and the granite should be arriving tomorrow, so more photos then. I apologise in advance for boring you to death with my excitement, I am fully aware of the fact that most people don’t feel especially passionate about kitchen worktops unless they are being used for lascivious purposes.

In a quick doggie update, young Harry has developed a bit of a taste for dead rabbits. We decided to take him to different fields recently, having got fed up of dodging cows, hauling him off cow pats and out of rivers and it seems that the field we have chosen has a not entirely healthy population of rabbits. He came bounding up yesterday with the rear legs of a rabbit hanging from his mouth and it took no end of bribery to make him put the damn things down again. He also had a good sniff at a very mummified corpse the day before and I was as green as green could be trying to get him away from it. I’m assured he is unlikely to have caught anything from these ex-rabbits though so the only real damage has been to my appetite – no bad thing I hear you cry. We have also now come up with a name by which we can describe him. It gets a little tiring answering the question “So what is he then” when your answer is “he’s a beagle basset cross”, so now, the conversations will mostly go along the following lines …

“He’s a lovely little fella, what is he??!”
“He’s a Bagle”
“You mean a Beagle?”
“No, a Bagle”

I think it suits the little lad.

And finally I would like to share with you the results of the weekend’s labours – it is truly a hard life.

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