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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Citizen Me: Some Groundwork and a Party


The photograph above shows most of what served as my kitchen for a short time. The white box in the middle is what served as an oven. On the top of the oven is a hob. The hob worked very well as far as boiling water was concerned. I tried once to use the oven -- to bake a meat loaf. It took over three hours! In the meantime work progressed downstairs.


The stairs in what was to become the kitchen had been removed. This was done by The Man and The Boy. The storage area that had been off the hall had its wall torn down and a new wall was erected with access to the kitchen over the top. This new space would provide us with a dining area.

 

In addition an entrance to the new dining area had to be opened up from the living room. Since it was a load bearing wall our builder/teacher had his men put in the necessary RSJ (Reinforced Steel Joist) to prevent the house falling down! You can see the new entrance and joist  in the picture on the right.

Below the chimney breast had to be opened up and re-plastered. Now my memory is hazy as whether we had the walls and ceilings artexed before or after the damp course was put down.  What I do remember is we had to clear the entire living space to be in order for the damp course to be laid. For sure one was done within a short time of the other. The other thing I remember is that the kitchen was definitely a work in progress. Actually, I don't think it had progressed at all!!!



So this was a very good time for our first dinner party, don't you think?

In an earlier post I mentioned 'the ladies' who shared the flat at the back of the house. They took a real shine to us and having the darlingest sweetest new baby didn't hurt at all. Two of our closest friends were visiting England with their new baby -- one month younger than Robert. Her name was/is Gabrielle. Now she has children of her own!

'The Ladies' I mentioned in an earlier post came to the rescue and opened up their kitchen to me. When I think of it now I do have to laugh at the running to and fro. The other day I saw a program about one of these huge English piles where the dining room was purposely located as far as possible from the kitchen, which was even on another floor -- this so that no smells would permeate through the the guests! Many hands, however, made light work of the two-ing and fro-ing and at least I did not have to 'dress' for dinner. I cannot remember the entire menu, but I cooked roast a leg of lamb with roast potatoes and plenty of vegetables for the main course. After covering the new black damp course with various scatter rugs we set up the table in the newly artexed living room and food never tasted so good. Good food, good wine (or plenty of it anyway) and the best of company make for a perfect times.
Left to right: sons The Boy and Andrew, The Man, Me, Mother-in-Law and Catherine

Left to Right: Catherine, Andrew, The Man, Me, Mums, and Karl
All we needed now was a kitchen, a bathroom -- and oh, yes ----- DRAINS...

25 comments:

  1. How long did this arrangement last? I bet you went crazy a couple of times, even if you didn't have company.

    I had a makeshift kitchen after an earthquake, for about seven months. We ate dinner out most nights, I might add, and what I used the kitchen most of all was to warm up bath water and to wash breakfast dishes. We tried to bring home lots of leftovers so we didn't have to eat out every night. It was awful and dreary and most depressing.

    But, we do what we must.

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    1. By Christmas I thing that the kitchen was usable. Yes, crazy describes it! Fortunately, it didn't last more than about a month -- maybe 6 weeks.

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  2. Isn't it amazing the hardships we bear when we are young? Cooking on something resembling a bread box, with dust and piles of timber everywhere, plus a husband and baby to look after...you deserve a medal, Broad! I bet the finished product was worth it though...can't wait to see photos!

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    1. When we are young and ignorant! We always are amused watching television shows where a young couple is renovating a house and think it will take 6 weeks!

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  3. You are very brave to have undertaken such a project. I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures.

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    1. I sometimes think bravery and stupidity are intrinsically linked!

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  4. You're pretty brave in my book!! Anyone who is willing to tackle such major renovations while living in the place deserves a medal :-)

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    1. I can joke about it now but ... it was really difficult, but it was definitely character building.

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  5. Oh this brings back such memories, Broad! Floors up, dampproof course, new openings and RSJs, even the temporary kitchen, tick, tick. At least our two were 10 and 12 when we started work on our major rebuild. The thought of doing it all with a small baby to care for makes me shudder. You're obviously made of very stern stuff.:-)

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    1. One thing for sure -- my boys all appreciate things more than most -- I call them boys they are all grown now -- but there is nothing they won't turn their hands to now -- they definitely understand the saying 'needs must'!

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    2. That's true, Broad. Even after having her early adolescence blighted by lack of a decent bedroom, she and her husband have done the same kind of major renovation themselves to get the house they really wanted.

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  6. Dear Broad,
    Fascinating posting. And what it strongly reminds me of is that we have so much more energy and determination and grit when we are younger. I tire easily now and do little, but I have to tell you that even when I was young I couldn't have done all you did. And to do that with small children. Wow, Woman! you are something else!

    Peace.

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    1. When push comes to shove people find reserves they never could have imagined they had. Most of the glory really goes to The Man, though -- not only did he have all the heavy labour -- he had to put up with me as well!!

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  7. Renovation is such hard work, how well I know!! That little white box made me laugh, it is almost identical to the one I had in what was then Rhodesia. We had a huge wood stove but when temperatures were in the high 30C's the little white box had to do its job. A wood stove was just too hot. Keep well. Diane

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    1. That little white box barely made the oven hot, let alone anything else! Was your box a Belling? That's what this one was. I really did hate it!

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  8. just realised you are from southport!
    I did course at the spinal unit in southport nd stayed there for six months!

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    1. Oh my goodness! I hope everyone treated you well. Do you ever re-visit?

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  9. Oh, to be young, fearless, and energetic...and a bit ignorant, of course. I did more projects then than now, but I could never have done what you did!

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  10. Well, having read this I now feel a complete wimp, and so full of admiration. I recognise that Mark ( husband) and I are completely unable to tackle such things. I recently got excited when we managed to change a lock on the toilet door so it could actually give our guests some privacy in the loo...that is the extent of our ability to "renovate".....so brave....I am looking forward to seeing more . J.

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    1. Nice to see you here, Janice. I really enjoyed discovering your blog earlier today -- thanks to Perpetua. First a lock next --- well you never know, but there will be something!

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  11. I've lived through a lot of those renovations too. Great job though. And thanks for stopping by my blog to cheer me up. I hope your cold is gone by now. I'm still struggling, but the dogs are better.

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    1. Hi there -- and welcome back to the land of the living! The cold is much better -- just down to the last dregs and managed to go into town and back today without feeling exhausted at the end of it. I hope you can take it easy and mend properly. At least the dogs are better -- that has to help.

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  12. So much to do – I am exhausted just reading what you had to go through. You certainly had plenty of energy.

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  13. With the travelling that you do, I would say you have more energy than I've ever had!

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