Yes, such a difference from 24 hours ago when we were in the clutches of an icy blizzard. Overnight, snow has turned to rain and then by mid-afternoon, the sun was shining. The above photo was taken about ten minutes ago, just before 6pm, Saturday. The sky over the sea is hazy and I have zoomed slightly so that you get the full benefit of the pink sky over the sea. All is now calm again. It is also much milder and the snow is fast disappearing (and the bulbs are recovering).
Here are just some of the spring bulbs in our back garden, narcissi and tulips (photo taken early this morning.) They look a little battered and bruised but I think there’s life in them still. Since I took this photo this snow has all but disappeared.
We were up bright and early again, and one of the first jobs husband did was to start sweeping snow from our driveway. There was absolutely no need; we weren’t taking the car anywhere but when I looked out several men in their various drives were doing this. Is it in male genes to sweep drives free of snow? A bit of Neanderthal lurking within? I know that for older chaps this Isn’t A Good Idea as the cold air has a tendency to thicken the blood and this can heighten the risk of heart attacks, but try telling that to husband. He knows this anyway as it has been mentioned on TV by medical people Who Know About These Things, but will be listen? No. Neanderthal breaks out, along with the broom and spade. The snow that he shifted is now melted and it would’ve done this anyway by now. And did we need to take the car out of the garage? No, of course we didn’t. And the other chaps across the road, seen sweeping their drives? No, their cars have remained in situ all day, too. Aren’t men funny? (I mean funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha.)
When he came back inside, he was cold, wet – for by now it was drizzling icy rain – and breathless, but he appeared to have enjoyed himself so I suppose that is all that matters. Perhaps sweeping snow for men is a bit like building snowmen for children: just something they feel they must do but they don’t really know why!
In the meantime I prepared breakfast. I thought he’d like a cooked breakfast today, but first we had fruit (prunes for husband, red grapefruit for me) …
and then we had bacon, eggs, tomatoes (on which I sprinkle dried basil), mushrooms, toast, marmalade and tea …
If the eggs don’t look pristine this is because for once I thought I’d ‘turn’ them. All very tasty, so we didn’t need any lunch as we had breakfast around 11.30am. No, it wasn’t brunch, I’m not keen on this portmanteau word. This was breakfast.
After breakfast I decided to give the kitchen a clean. Not the cupboards, just the worktops, windowsill, and floor so that it’s now all clean and tidy again. It’s surprising that no matter how you wipe the surfaces and sweep the floor after food preparation and serving, small crumbs find their way into places you missed even though you thought you had been thorough.
I don’t often show photos of our kitchen. It isn’t the most modern kitchen, indeed it’s 32 years old. We made a few changes in 2000 (and that is now 18 years ago) and put in a new oven, hob, extractor fan over the hob, sink, and worktop, plus new wall tiles, and flooring, and since then we have renewed the flooring although I made a mistake in thinking that black would look good. Unfortunately, it makes our already quite-dark kitchen (for it faces north) even darker. The cupboards are oak and although 32 years old there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, so we keep thinking that we might simply paint them, put in new worktops, new sink, new hob, new tiles, and new flooring and this will give the kitchen a much-needed face lift. It’s just having the energy to start, especially when it’s still workable and not really in bad condition anyway.
I don’t like having to have a washing machine in the kitchen. Kirstie Allsopp, décor guru and doyenne of many TV programmes such as Location, Location, Location, is against this, even calling it unhygienic. But we are not all able to have utility rooms or the latest must-have, a dedicated laundry room (or a pantry or boot room.) I really wanted a black washing machine but we couldn’t find one (our dishwasher, a Bosch, is black, but they don’t make a matching washing machine – how silly is that? Perhaps those who organize these things at Bosch consider that if you can afford one of their dishwashers you can have a dedicated laundry room so a change of colour won’t matter!) And so the nearest machine with some black on it was a Whirlpool, and I have to say I’m delighted with it.
Anyway, the washing machine is in the kitchen, and next to that is the double Neff oven, next to that the larder cupboard, next to that a space where I can keep the ironing board (in 1985 architects didn’t consider where one might keep such things as ironing boards or vacuum cleaners and I’m not even certain whether such practicalities are considered today, unless you are able to design your own home from scratch that is) and next to that, the fridge/freezer. It is a very practical kitchen. Well, we did design it ourselves way back in 1985 (including the space for the ironing board as there wasn’t sufficient room for a dedicated cupboard for it.)
It is actually a very pleasant kitchen to work in and there is room for us to have our meals at our small breakfast table. When our sons were at home we had an oak gate-leg table which we could put up for when all four of us were eating, and we also had our dining table in our sitting/dining room which was ‘up’ with all the time, with the four chairs around it, ready for use.
Once the summer is here, late afternoon sunlight pours into the kitchen and transforms the room into a very pleasant place in which to cook and fro which to meander out to the garden with trays of drinks, cups of tea, and supper to enjoy under the walnut tree as the sun goes down.
Until next time.