Picture a kitchen. It has a white grained plastic sink. It has white laminate worktops. It has two strange bars on each worktop that you can use for parallel bar work if you’re too cheap to go to the gym. It has really high cupboards that you can’t reach easily if you’re my height. The worktops are falling off the wall as I had to remove the built in fridge and freezer when they died and replace them with stand alone white goods that run from a series of extension leads around the room.
It has flooring which is peeling, terrible tiles that you painted over to obliterate the design which are now peeling too, or dripping food that doesn’t seem to wash off. It has a strange area at one end with a wall cupboard and some very thin tiny shelves that are only a cup’s height. And it has an oven which chucks out more heat than the pits of hell, which sat nicely next to a freezer – one that unsurprisingly needed frequent defrosting.
That has now gone. After 13 years of screaming in frustration, beating worktops with wooden spoons, spilling food as I try to reach it on a shelf and gazing with longing at nice kitchens on TV, I now have a new kitchen. We were able to afford it thanks to an Income Tax rebate and a PPI claim. There’s something doubly satisfying about buying something you’ve treasured with money from financial services screw ups.
The new kitchen (from Ikea) was fitted by nice men over a period of four days of chaos. I took the fifth day off to move everything back into the new space. It all feels very solid. Much more solid than the old one. There is more storage. So much that I could also revamp the back porch. I have a larder! It already smells of spices. The worktops are black. The sink is stainless steel. Both of these are easy to clean. I can throw the bleach away. The oven doesn’t leak enough heat to warm a legion of old ladies. We celebrated the fact that we have a working grill by making cheese on toast – a dish denied to us for years…
The tiling was done last week by Andy at the excellently named Grout and About. We just need to get the flooring done. And a lick of paint. Some wag once said that you know you’re grown up when you prefer home to a night club, but in that case I was always grown up. I’ve also gone mad and got some new storage items – a new kitchen needs not to have jars that didn’t used to be old plastic Ovaltine jars. Everything doesn’t have to match but it would be nice to have things that aren’t ramshackle make-dos you put up with when you were a student/ impoverished bookseller.
I’ve never yearned for something so long that has actually happened. It’s really nice, isn’t it?