Sunday 1 June 2008

Dreary, dismal, drudgery-filled day

After yesterday's glorious warm sunshine, today is very wet. Not lovely Spring showers that leave everything looking like it's had its face washed and is coming out to play again, but heavy, oppressive, persistent rain that gets into your shoes and down your neck and may never never stop.....rain that makes the dog run away home after only 30 seconds of a walk, and that turns the sopping-wet cats into the friendliest creatures ever, wanting to dry themselves against you, while they purr their false affectionate rumbles till their mission is achieved and they can go off to lie on your new pile of ironing.

And to make it worse, I have to empty all the cupboards in the back kitchen (aka scullery, utility room, dumping ground, holy place of the matching cat loos, and, chiefly, one of the Rooms of Shame) in preparation for a total revamp at some as-yet-undetermined date. This total revamp will involve the ripping out of old hideous and inadequate wall cupboards, with lots of re-plastering and re-flooring, and replacing them with sleek floor to ceiling cupboards that will compensate a little for the severe lack of storage in this house (where did the Edwardians keep all their stuff??). I am informed by project manager Lynn that The Boys will appear soon, all tooled up to transform our homes, and that I have to be organised and decisive before they arrive. The Boys are her Polish builders, whose standard of work is breathtakingly high, and who are planning another few weeks of working for her and for a select few of her friends. Lynn is away on holiday, and will be fierce and frightening on her return, especially towards the unprepared and dithering.

Being organised is the first challenge. The problem is where to put all the stuff that is in the cupboards now. Boxes and boxes of stained glass tools and materials - yes, I'll get back to doing that some day; all those vases - no, I need them all; tools, lightbulbs, large cooking items like the stock pot, the giant wok, the attachments for the elderly (or if you prefer, vintage) Kenwood Chef - well, you never know: I might use the mincer one day; shoes, cookery books, stored cat litter, old paint, many little boxes of screws, hooks, bits of something that might come in handy, and an inexplicable collection of full and half-used bottles of alcoholic drink, some rather weird, others rather old. Where did that come from? I don't drink. (No, really, I don't; and what's more, if I try, the first sip brings me out in a dazzling array of allergic symptoms; possibly a punishment for wickedness in a former life.)

Being decisive is even harder, and involves more than mindless moving about of junk-filled boxes. What kind of cupboard doors, handles, tiles do I want? Well, how would I know? So much to choose from! Why did I ever agree to this anyway? What was I thinking? Why can't I just live with the wonky
warped floor, the tiny second hand cupboards, the amazing ever-expanding heaps of clutter? If I knuckled down and just drank that huge collection of alcohol, despite the sneezing and the hives, would I even care?

But I know what's coming; I shall meekly get on with it, wait for the fierce friend to get back from her holidays, and when it's all over, fall on her neck weeping with gratitude that she rescued me from my own mess. And I shall learn to say, in perfect Polish, at the end of every day, "Can I offer you a drink?"

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