Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Testing, testing

I've finally given in to the nagging of my husband and added a new feature both to this site, and to the Maybe Diaries.

If you look on the right hand nav bar you can now subscribe to each of the blogs so that you will get a nice shiny email delivered to your inbox every time I update them.

No more need to come on here just on the off chance now ... aren't you the lucky ones!! ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So close, but yet so far!!

Well the tiler came, the tiler saw, the tiler asked many awkward questions (staggered or straight? Size of gap? Colour of grout? ... for the love of God man I don’t know, just stick the tiles to the ground!!) and somehow we muddled through. Luckily the weather held off because the poor bloke was both terrified of Red and also massively allergic to dogs in general, so our house must have been a living nightmare for him. Anyway, as the sun stayed out, we were able to leave the dogs in the garden all day which Harry took as license to cook himself, and Red took as license to sulk.

We had one tiny bone of contention with the tiler, and that was around the hallway, which he had included in the quote when I phoned him and had therefore massively underestimated the work needed to finish it. Turned out he hadn’t the time to do the job during the three days he availed himself of our hospitality, but very kindly offered to wave the “clearing up fee” instead.

Hold up - records scratch to a halt, piano players close the lid and scarper, darts halt in mid air - the, errr, clearing up fee? And what would that be then? Turns out the poor little pickle has to pay to get rid of the rubbish he generates on a job, but rather than leave it for us to take to the tip, he was willing to take it with him when he left. Right, so if you go to a restaurant and pay for your dinner, at what point do you generally discuss the “washing up fee” then? No? Didn’t think so. Keith being Keith dealt admirably with the situation while I foamed at the mouth from the safe distance of the office and the tiler both cleared up his rubbish *and* gave us money off the bill.

As a parting gift though, he reminded us that once the grout had gone off, we would need to spend a while washing down the tiles to get rid of that nasty white film that appears. This being Friday, I earmarked Saturday morning for the job which would still give me the afternoon to bake some cakes for the village fair and for us to get the furniture back in the lounge in time for the evening.
Turns out that was a bit of an error on my part. I stopped counting after the 8th time I went over the floor, and made the decision as day slowly turned to night that any white film still remaining would just have to come off in its own good time.

We are currently still sporting the minimalist look to the lounge, with sofa cushions on the floor and the TV in the corner because none of our friends have been able to make it over in the last week. One, who shall remain nameless, failed to appear due to a slight run in with the good men of the local constabulary after he decided to take his light aircraft out for a spin and then held an impromptu red arrows audition. Local residents were less than amused apparently.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Baby Steps

As promised, I made a start on the areas of the nursery wall that required least talent, blocking the colour for the riverbank and the letters and painting in a few of the less demanding outlines.

I fully recognise I am never going to be lauded as the new Da Vinci, so despite desperately wanting to get on and finish the whole wall, I am imposing a ban on myself even looking at the wall until Matt comes up to rescue the situation.

Hopefully his diary will allow for a visit before my resolve breaks.

There was another small step towards household nirvana this weekend, which was a nice antidote to the otherwise terminal decline of the kitchen. Keith finally got the kitchen larder to open all the way out.

His method: he pulled on it, hard. God bless brute force and ignorance, although it does make the fact that we’ve been living with a half opening larder for nearly 3 years a bit of a joke.

And in other exciting news: as I sit here and type, the tiler is in the lounge priming the floor ready for our new tiles. And I have to admit, I’m a little bit excited…. And now also needing to vacate the house to avoid noxious fumes.

Before I go though, I was sent a recipe for the most dangerous chocolate cake in the world yesterday (thanks Polly!!) and of course Keith gamboled into the kitchen to make one as soon as he saw the words "ready","five" and "minutes". I wouldn't say it was the greatest triumph of the modern culinary age - potentially due to the fact that a slightly too long cooking time had resulted in a cake with the ability to suck the moisture from every last crevice of your body. It was a laugh though, and for those of you in need, I include the recipe below:


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips or (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract and your favourite tipple
1 large coffee mug (NB It needs to be VERY large, as we found out!!!)

Add dry ingredients to your largest mug and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well
Add the chocolate chips (if using), vanilla extract and a drop or two of your favourite tipple, then mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.