When we arrived back in France on 18th November the weather was still fine and mild. We spent a lot of time in the garden, taking the opportunity to get on with some winter clearing and tidying up - “putting the garden to bed” as a friend of mine calls it. There’s a lot to do to get it back into good shape.
It was so mild and sunny that we just had to have the last BBQ of the year, eating lunch outdoors in the covered picnic area which was built for exactly that purpose.
We all enjoyed being outdoors in lovely warm sunshine at the end of November, knowing quite well that it couldn’t possibly last much longer.
It actually lasted for nearly another week and then, suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, on 30th November winter arrived.
On Sunday we went to an antiques fair at Azay-le-Rideau. It was barely a few degrees above freezing we were definitely feeling the cold.
There were plenty of antiques on offer but the prices were high. No bargains were to be had and although plenty of visitors were looking, nobody much seemed to be buying.
It was cold enough to make these fur coats tempting, but not at the prices offered.
Even Daisy showed less inclination to go out hunting, preferring the comfort of her warm and cosy bed to the excitement of chasing mice in the draughty old barn. We found ourselves spending more time in the kitchen and we quickly arrived at a big decision…….
When we bought the house we felt it was very much a “move straight in” situation. In many ways that it still true – we haven’t got to renovate the property as such but as we settle in we realise that there are things that need attention and other things that we would like to change.
The kitchen looks lovely but some of the cabinets are a bit past it. The dishwasher simply didn’t work and we have already replaced it (along with the washing machine and the tumble drier) and we no longer use the oven since the door dramatically fell off. Neither of us like the granite worktops – they have a lip on the edge which makes them difficult to clean and the dark colour makes it difficult to decide whether they are clean or not – they look as though they are permanently covered in dead flies.
Above all, the floor tiles are in bad condition, many of them having been already replaced with oddments by previous owners, but gradually more and more of them are breaking up.
And we really do not like the metal spiral staircase.
None of these things come as a great surprise. We felt we would change things bit by bit but last weekend we decided to bite the bullet and have a new kitchen, sooner rather than later. The thing that tipped the balance was the floor. We need to have a new floor before fitting a new staircase and it makes no sense at all to fit new floor tiles around kitchen units and appliances that have so many things wrong with them. So we decided to go the whole hog.
We have been measured up for a new oak staircase. The first job will be to remove the existing kitchen and put down a new floor. Once the floor is down the staircase can be fitted and the new kitchen will follow.
So we are juggling ideas for a new kitchen layout. The new cooker (or hob) will go on the back wall where we can have an extraction hood that actually functions. We like having a table in the kitchen where we can sit and eat or relax and luckily there is plenty of space for it, but other than that we are flummoxed.
A new kitchen is an exciting prospect and we need to get it right!