May 30, 2013

Besieged from all sides

Is how I’ve felt today. The day started off dull with light drizzle but then it got serious, since when the rain has been pelting down non-stop. The river outside my back door is back again, so I need to put a proper path in as soon as possible. But I can’t, even though I got myself a concrete mixer a few months ago in readiness, because now I need to get the kitchen done.

Because of the volume of rain we’ve had today, water has once again been dripping down the chimney onto my new fireplace. So I really need to get the wood-burner installed and the chimney capping tile back on again to keep it out, but I can’t because I have to get the kitchen done!

It’s been murder with Toddie today because he has to go out a lot these days on account of his age. And every time he’s needed to today, just as in every other day recently, he’s come back in sopping wet bringing half of the garden with him, which as well as drying him off, I then have to clean up. So it’s been a trying day today to say the least, and that’s without even thinking about the X-Air that’s still standing outside in the pouring rain 😐

But despite everything, I’ve pressed on as planned with my kitchen work. Today I needed to deal with the large hump in the wall in the left hand corner and prove that the corner units could be placed exactly as I need them to be. Having done that, I could then be fairly confident, despite the alignment of the walls being a bit rough and ready, that the rest of the fit would proceed without too many problems. The first job was to carefully take a club hammer and bolster to the hump to find out what was underneath it. It didn’t take long to find out that it hid a large bunch of plastic corrugated tubes containing electrical cabling, which should not have been a surprise as it was located right below the fuse box. After carefully chipping the surface back, here’s what I was presented with.

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Tubes like this are more or less universally used in French buildings to carry the electric cables and I didn’t want to disturb them too much. I also didn’t want to have an accident so as well as wearing rubber soled shoes, I also put on a pair of thick rubber gloves. After carefully removing material from the corner and the back wall I achieved what I had been hoping for, namely that the corner cabinet fitted in just as it had to to get the correct alignment along the main wall with the other units I’ll be installing, and with the two units fitted against the side wall. Here’s how they looked when I’d placed them roughly where they’ll be going.

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This part of the job isn’t yet quite completed. The angle between the walls is great than 90 degrees but I’ve worked out that this doesn’t matter so long as I can get the angle between the corner unit and the first 40cm side unit large enough. To do that I’ve still got to trim a bit off the back corner of the latter which I’ll probably do later this evening. Then the side units will have to stand off the wall a bit because of the geometry, but I’ve already worked out that this will be OK if I fit a 60cm deep worktop on the units along the main wall and a 65cm one along the side units. I’ll then have to fit a blanking panel between the back of the 60cm side unit and the wall to fill the resulting gap, but this shouldn’t present any problems.

I made up for all of today’s hassles by cooking myself a nice steak, which I’ve had for a while in my freezer. Because I still don’t have a microwave, I had to cook it from frozen and as I don’t have a proper cooker, I did that in a covered frying pan with some oil and spices. I had to be careful as I’d started it from frozen but it ended up deliciously medium rare 🙂

I teamed it up with some frozen vegetables, Poêlée Champêtre from the range by St Eloi, which I’ve found to be delicious and with flavours only the French seem able to achieve. I also had to cook those slowly in a saucepan but the wait was well worth it. After enjoying the meal with a glass of French beer, I can say that I then didn’t feel quite as besieged as I had done earlier 😉