Downsize Diary – Week Two:
Downsize Diary – Week One was, I realise after reading it just now, all about Nostalgia. This week is about serious hard work! I think I’ve just about got the energy to type this week’s events that are taking us on our journey to refresh our lovely house, in order to put it up for sale. Every muscle in my body aches, but I’m quite pleased with the results so far. See for yourself – a pictorial account.
First, just thought I would show you one of the few successes of our Kitchen Garden this year. In common with a lot of fellow ‘grow your own’ gardeners, judging by their comments, this year has not been a brilliant year for growing your own vegetables. But surprisingly our Courgettes have surpassed themselves, especially this yellow Tromboncino, (yes – it is a Courgette, and looks quite strange but is supposed to be named after a Trombone), which has grown to about 22 inches (55 cm). The seeds were bought from my favourite vegetable guru, Sarah Raven, and will be definitely planted in our next Kitchen Garden, whenever and wherever that will be.
This next picture in this week’s version of our Downsize Diary shows the dining end of our kitchen, after I had spent a day removing every small item from the dresser, the walls, the shelves etc. The yellow paint was going to be replaced by a more neutral colour (as every TV decorating or house-hunting programme drums into us). So I had painted the planked ceiling (never get one of those if you have to decorate it), and brushed and rollered the walls. Trust my luck for the weather to be scorching hot – not really decorating weather at all. But Erik and I had to soldier on.
My first task to get our house ready for potential buyers was to sort out the Kitchen, Erik’s was the Hall, Stairs and the first floor Landing, a huge job. It had been yellow in colour – for many years – but now I had chosen a colour more suited to the beautiful encaustic tiled Victorian floor – the colour being Soft Stone, a soft-browny-pink, warm and welcoming.
Erik somehow manages to be not such a messy painter as I am, and he decided he wanted to show everyone what I look like in my ‘designer’ painting clothes! (See picture of me eating below). The trouble is that whenever I am dressed like this for painting, it’s the age-old story. The doorbell rings, and standing on my doorstep, looking me up and down in amazement, is the one person I don’t want to see me in this state. C’est la vie!
Next, our corner cupboard – special to us because when we started to design our kitchen, I told Erik that I wanted a cupboard that looked as if it had been dragged out of a French barn, complete with a bit of straw and a couple of eggs. Then we had a day out to Whitby, and discovered a lovely old stained-glass leaded window panel, in an antique shop in an old church. We cobbled together the twenty-five pounds, and wrapped it tenderly in our coats for the drive back home. Once cleaned, it shone and so Erik built the cupboard around the panel – also using for the thin side panels 2 Georgian window shutters he had ferreted away in his shed. He learned how to make the intricate layers of the pelmet, and we painted it Swedish Blue/Green, and gave it a distressed look. It was wonderful. But now it needed a new look, a stronger colour – so I hope it enjoys this bright dark Provence Blue.
Erik snapped this next photo to show the chaos that we were living in. There was no room to eat at the table, and we were too tired to cook that night so he delved into the fridge and freezer and put together a Pizza using some Garlic Bread, Tomato Puree, Pepperoni sausage, Onions, Olives and anything else he could find. Must admit, it tasted good. We don’t normally eat like this – honest!
So, our first week of painting somehow seamlessly slipped into the second week, of unrelenting preparations, cleaning then painting, gradually, on my part, moving into the cooking end of our Kitchen. I kept thinking “I’m too old to be doing this!” but nobody listened. Then I told myself “It will do you good, help you lose weight!” and that kept me going. We have quite a few weeks of this sorting out, but somehow, as our house that has given us such happy times begins to look better and better, I’m thinking “Yes, we are paying you back. Giving you a fresh look. You deserve it.”
So this last picture is showing you the great Olive and Tomato Bread that Erik managed to bake in-between his hours of painting. It was so good when lightly toasted and spread with a slice of salty cheese. A taste of things to come – when we can both spend time in the kitchen (not together, heaven forbid), cooking up great meals for each other, and family and friends.
Downsize Diary – Week Two was a little late because I really was tired, but now I’m into it – seeing the results spurs me on, so there will be a lot more pictures for Week Three.