No reason for this picture, other than my inexplicable fondness for these jolly orange builders' buckets.
The builders are busy with the small fiddly things now, and it's taking time; making anything fit accurately in this wonky old house takes much patient measuring and trimming, nipping, tucking and adjusting. Concentration is fierce; cups of tea are more often refused than accepted, as the two perfectionists cannot be distracted.
While I was taking my friends to the railway station 40 minutes away this morning, waving them off while thinking worriedly how cramped their seats looked for a five-and-a-half-hour journey, things were moving along briskly at home.
I now have a new back door, a Belfast sink, and the start of some worktop. Much remains to be finished, but I can see what it's all going to look like soon. My decision-making over the past few weeks has come home to roost - too late now if I don't like something. Mostly, I do.
I haven't changed my mind much over the weeks, but today I did. I decided not to have the large, useful but boxy larder cupboards intended for the top of the utility room, but to go for a Welsh dresser-style affair* instead, painted in something delightful and Farrow & Ball-ish. Less practical, but more pleasing to the eye, and less smothering of the lovely slate floor. I'm stalking eBay. Thankfully, the functional but dull cupboards hadn't been ordered yet.
A dresser must also have magical properties - to hold the huge stack of stuff that is piled up temporarily all over the house: the baking tins, racks, trays, mixers, juicer, jam pan, cat food, dog food, vases, washing powders, dog towels, and much, much more.
In reality, I know a major throw-out (well, recycling/gifting/freecycling) is on the cards - after all, how many sizes and numbers of bread tins does a single woman need? Especially a single woman who has accepted that home baking and successful weight management are not natural bedfellows? Will I ever use the pasta maker again? The juicer? The mandolin? The sandwich toaster? The expensive extendable shelf and roasting pan, packed by accident, that belong to my lovely Siemens oven, left behind in Newcastle? I'm embarrassing myself just listing a fraction of the stuff I keep.
Downsizing is a slow process; it takes a while to realise and accept that vigilance and a degree of ruthlessness is required, and ruthlessness doesn't come easily to some of us. But the utility room demands it, and I shall obey. Hoarding, clutter and hardly-used gadgets will be things of the past. I hereby resolve to simplify my bloated batterie de cuisine - bowls, boards, knives and a few other basic tools are all I really use on a frequent basis - and the rest can be sent packing.
See? A New Year's Resolution, made early.
Maybe I could hold a virtual