A week ago today the plasterers came to plaster the chimney breast and alcove, making an enormous difference to the appearance of the living room. Bare plaster is so much nicer to look at than bare bricks.
Having started with a cold on the 11th, which was also my birthday, I thought that at least it would probably have gone by Christmas and sure enough it subsided sufficiently that with a Herculean effort, between us we cleared all the downstairs rooms of the boxes, dust and rammel, making the place look reasonably presentable for Christmas and the usual entertaining of my dad, brother and niece.
Nick was in charge of the decorations and tinselled us up accordingly. I was in charge of the hoovering and was finishing up on Christmas Eve but as the day wore on my cold seemed to have reinvented itself and I was feeling very poorly indeed.
As for the kitchen, we are in the end thrilled with it. There are some snags to fix, the most annoying one being the tiling, which, quite frankly, I could have done better myself. The annoying part is that because most of the grouting and a good half of the tiles will have to come off, we will have yet again to clear our kitchen of our belongings and live through several days of mess and upheaval whilst the job is being re-done, delaying our moving forward with the finishing off. That entails painting the remaining bare walls, fitting tool rails and last but not least, having a new floor of some kind.
I must say that the fitter is a lovely bloke, but couldn’t organise one of those classic events in a brewery. It appears that in order to get the kitchen “finished” he got other members of his team to lend a hand with the tiling, one of whom being the plumber. Tiling is definitely not the plumber’s strong point. Which is such a shame as the rest of the job, if you ignore the delays and anguish we went through, is done really well. It’s a beautiful kitchen apart from the tiling which really lets it down.
By Christmas morning I was feeling very rough. Between us we managed to put the usual feast on the table, including a new alternative to the Christmas pudding, a pumpkin pie. I was determined to get that one done.
By teatime I had had enough and retired to bed. Dad went home as soon as he could get away with it, to spend his usual hour or so on the phone to his lady friend. My brother and niece had a snack of pork pie and cheese before wending their way home. I was sad to see them leave before the evening was out but at the same time relieved they had decided not to stay the night, so that Nick and I could have a bed each, meaning that we were both in with a chance of getting some sleep as I coughed and spluttered my way through the night.
So that was Christmas, over for another year. Interesting that in the end it was not the horrible mess of living in a building site that ruined it for us, but the humble cold.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all !!