‘Hidden Treasures’

In a fortnight’s time we are having a new kitchen.

This is the first kitchen we have ever had designed and built for us in the twenty-seven years we’ve been together.

The construction of our new kitchen will take ten to fourteen days and we are prepared for the fact that we will have to live on takeaways, bottled water and spend even more time soothing Scoobs.  He likes the builder who will be bashing down walls, inserting an RSJ, stripping the tiles off and skimming the walls, but the idea of strange men making loud noises in the kitchen will undoubtedly cause him to freak out a bit.

We have to prepare for the upheaval.

The flat packed kitchen is being delivered the day before the building work begins and we have been supplied with some string and a blue balloon to tie to the gate and entice the delivery men.

More frightening is the fact that we have to clear a space in the garage to store all the packages.

Gap Boy is disgruntled; he NEEDS ALL the garage for his new motorbike.

Uni Boy will not come home to visit now until the new kitchen is well and truly installed.  Good job too as his room will be used for kitchen storage for a while.

Lovely friends are coming to help us clear out the unnecessary things in our old kitchen; they are far more ruthless and have no attachment to the piles of junk that fill every cupboard and cover the mean worktop space.

Before then however, there’s the desperate need for space in the garage for GB’s bike and an entire fitted kitchen.

Something had to go.

It is almost two years since we cleared out my parents bungalow after my Stepdad died.  Most of the household contents had been redistributed to family and to charity but at the back of the garage there were half a dozen boxes that were still wrapped up in packing tape.

Filled with resolve we decided to tackle the garage today.

Some of the boxes were easy to unpack; glassware and small china ornaments from the days when my Mum ran an antique stall, framed prints that were bought on their holiday travels and books about World War I and II.  I could cope with them but it was the photographs, some framed, some stuck on Christmas and birthday cards, others in SupaSnaps wallets, and a few loose or tucked into books.  It was the photographs that made me sad.

I did my best to divide up the last contents of their lives: charity shop, the tip and ‘put-it-in-this-bag-and-we”ll-look-at-it-later‘. I sat on the tailgate and used the open back of the car to sort out the boxes.

By lunch my heart was heavier than it had been for nearly eighteen months and the sadness of packing up their bungalow came back with a vengeance.

We took a break for lunch, dreading the thought of having to go back out on to the drive and continue with the unpacking.

Lovely Hub was sorting through boxes whilst I was dragging out my bread and cheese for as long as I could.  Not easy to do when you have an adoring but drooling dog on your feet just waiting for the crumbs to fall.

I heard voices. Then someone called out my name.

We are very lucky with our neighbours (apart from the couple that argue vociferously and the man with the drinking problem) and our nearest neighbours are the nicest.  They spend their retirement buying and selling antiques and oddments.

Their attention was caught by my assortment of boxes which were cluttering up the drive. My neighbour T, his nose twitching like a bloodhound, was in the boxes and rummaging before the car door was shut.  His wife apologised and having found out that we were sending the stuff to the charity shop, offered to re-sort it and extract those objects that might fetch us a few pennies at auction.

Before lunch I was sad because it felt like the mementos of my parents lives were just going to end up unloved and on a dusty charity shop shelf for years.  The obvious delight with which T was rummaging and holding up each new find with glee – and I was happy again.

We spent rather a lot of time chatting and putting the world to rights.  So long in fact that Scoob had to have his lead on and sit on the tailgate with me because he was lonely.  This was a bit traumatising for the cyclists, dog walkers and innocent bystanders as his bark was definitely worse than his bite (no biting as he doesn’t and anyway he was attached to me by his lead).

T and Hub sorted everything left over into charity shop and trip to the tip but we spent so long putting the world to rights that it was too late to deliver it – so it all went back into the garage for us to deal with bright and early tomorrow.

GB grumbled because he was hungry, we hadn’t gone shopping or picked up his new bike mirrors from the parcel depot, and because the boxes were too close to  his motorbike. Oh, and because he grumbles a lot anyway.  Hub and I are a great disappointment to him. Tough.

It was all remedied within the hour however, and as I write, GB has gone out on another of his nocturnal meanderings.

No early night for us then.

Thank you B and T for finding the treasures that I had stopped seeing, and for brightening up my day considerably.

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‘Stop Press! Monday Moan turns into a Happy Monday’

Today marks the seventh day of trying to write something fresh every day of April.

Until today I had a good idea each night of what I wanted to write the next day and duly jotted notes in the little book given to me by a thoughtful friend for just such a purpose.

Last night. Nothing. This morning. Nothing.

I turned to my Hub for inspiration having been deserted by my muse.  Hub reminded me of Jon Richardson’s experience of not being able to write  – so he wrote about not being able to write and turned into a very funny and successful part of his stand up act. Love Jon Richardson. Love Hub.

It occurred to me that perhaps the reason why I couldn’t write anything was because I’m having too good a time of it.

In fact, this weekend we’ve all been having a good time of it really and it looks as if the fun isn’t going to stop there.

Saturday was a day of comings and goings, of a front room further obstacle-coursed by camouflaged clothing, bags of armoury, the giant paintball suitcase and a confused dog. I admit that the floor is already cluttered by my boxes of stuff and piles of paper but that is the normal status of the room.

The delayed but extremely welcome arrival of Bezzie Mate led to a very late night chatting and chortling over ”The Big Bang Theory‘.  So good to have friends who laugh at the same things as you do.

Three hours sleep later and I am up with Hub, who is taking two friends off to a scrapyard paintball game in Doncaster.  Hub is waved off at 0615, the Scoob has watered the Hebe bush and I am free to blog till 0700 when I have to wake Gap Boy so he can gather up his guns, boots and flak jacket for a day of shooting people with BBs. His lift is late and I have to spend three-quarters of an hour mollifying him and fending off his anxiety insults.  BM was warned to stay in his room until I texted him to sound the all clear.  An anxious GB does not make for good company.

By 0900 Scoobs and I are dozing on the sofa.  I put ‘Mythbusters‘ on to distract GB whilst he was waiting then fell asleep when he left.

BM emerges from his room and we celebrate the day with a breakfast of Marmite toast and experiments with my Pingu coffeemaker – not as leisurely as the cafetière but the pods provide an enormous variety and frothy milk.  As always we chat and chat and the morning passes before we know it.  I managed to get tickets for the three of us to see Rich Hall next month whilst we were chilling though.
We go shopping together, have a lovely shared lunch, do more silly shopping then hurry home in the rain  to await the weary warriors – and Uni Boy who has travelled to Doncaster to meet his dad and come home for the night.

GB bursts through the patio doors – his camo gear unsullied and his gorgeous hairdo barely ruffled.

“I shot loads of people.  A couple in the face and one in the b*****s.  They shouldn’t have got in the way!”

BM, Scoob and I exchange covert grins.  We listen attentively to GB’s shoutiness, knowing that  he will quieten down soon.  Supplied with fizzy drink and crackers, he stomps off to his room to shout at his computer.

An hour later the battle-scarred paintballer returns with a happy but tired UB.  Hub has a post-paintball unwinding routine of putting things away and washing the mucky stuff. GB subscribes to the ‘dump it on the floor where people will trip over it.  They can move it if they are annoyed by it and I can get annoyed with them if it isn’t where I left it next time I need it‘ school of thought (Does he actually think?). Love him, squeeze him, throttle him.

Takeaway time – curry for four of us and Chinese for UB who doesn’t do curry (Sorry Dad).  BM and I volunteer to be the hunter-gatherers as Hub is flagging and home delivery takes hours.  Our local shopping square is peaceful and almost pretty in the red light of the setting sun.  From the Spar shop to the Chinese chippy and finally the Indian takeaway, we return with our spoils.  UB retires to his room to eat and GB to his, leaving BM, Hub and me to eat, talk and enjoy each other’s company.  Scoob waits expectantly and is eventually rewarded with the leftover pappadum bits.  Happy dog.  Happy me. I have four of my favourite people (and Scoob) back in my nest.

The end of the night sees us all outside waving BM off on his journey home after much hugging and manly handshakes.  Scoob pees against the gate and sniffs the night air for cats. They are sensibly indoors.

GB decides to go out for a blat on his bike now that the roads are quieter and darker.  Being the worrywart that I am, I sit up until he is home safely and so is BM. Although BM has a longer journey, his is less eventful than GB’s.  My boy bursts in through the patio doors again, blathering about the idiots on the road and how his mirrors keep turning round.

I am so ready for my bed.

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So, my moaning about a lack of inspiration has been turned into the happiness engendered by my nearest and dearest.  We are taking UB back to York today; a leisurely road  trip, mammoth supermarket shop and dinner out  at the wonderful www.redchillirestaurant.co.uk/york_gallery.asp . before Hub and I complete the day with a companionable drive home singing along loudly to the radio.

Next weekend Hub and I are going back home to the seaside for a big birthday party; to see family, visit old haunts and enjoy hotel breakfasting together.  GB and UB are dog sitting and partying (not in our house I hasten to add!).

We have a good seven days ahead of us. Happy Monday!