Be still your beating heart, because it's that time again.
In my father's house are many mansions, but not in my house. In my house there is a kitchen, and various other rooms. It's perfectly functional. It even has a shower after I went on a unilateral and partial rent strike some years ago that only lasted fifteen months. The main person who didn't like what it used to look like were my flatmate/landlord's parents (in this story, they represent capitalism and I am the huddled masses).
Whatever, here are some before photographs, so you can make up your mind as to whether something needed to be done (suspense fans, be warned that there is no suspense in this story. Something has been done.)
I have carefully included a life-size broken biro in this picture so you can see how big it is. You can see a sort of tear in the lino. It doesn't reveal the way that if you trod on that bit of lino, you went through the floor a little. Not a lot. (In my experience, the bit of floor you sort of fell through was the main thing people complained about re the kitchen.)
This is the wall. Now that I look at it closely, I can see some blemishes, but you have to remember that this piece of wall is usually hidden behind a six foot tall pile of old hampers. Who cleans behind their hampers? We are not the queen.
As previously discussed, this staining, also behind the hampers under ordinary circumstances, was caused by a leaky lava lamp of indeterminate origin.
Ok, now we're getting to something that has caused me concern over the years. The ceiling was a yellowish colour, and thick with years of impacted grease. Some time towards the middle of 2007, when I had a bad back that meant I couldn't sit down, I decided to clean it. You can see some streaks that resulted from this exercise in houseproud dynamism. I spent two hours scrubbing, made almost no impact on the ceiling and fell off my chair. I still couldn't sit, but for a week I couldn't stand either.
Also sub-optimal: these lampshades were also grease-impacted, and sticky enough to trap all but the most robust of flies. Some of these flies have presumably been in our kitchen for as long as we have lived here (eight years). You might think I am sentimental that they are no longer with us, but I am not.
How do you cope with a greasy roof full of dead flies? The answer is: don't look up.
This is the Duomo in Siena. As you can see from the crane, it is also undergoing restoration.
This is the controller for our boiler. Again greasy. It was to fight a thrilling battle with the forces of reconstruction.
This picture is of a switch. You'd think from looking at it that it had something to do with the cooker. No.
This is another switch. It's in the lounge behind the telly (the telly is a whole other story. Ian, capitalist-David's father, is one of the large number of people who think we should get a new telly. Apparently it isn't rude to tell people their stuff is crap. Our old telly works perfectly well. It was left behind in a house I rented in 2000 with my friend Thierry-il-est-Belge). Our friends Tom and Ellis, and especially Tom, cannot believe we have never tried the switch out. Our view is: everything in our flat works, and there is a big red switch which claims to change the state of something or other. There is nothing 'off' that we want 'on'. I mean, what could it be? A teleport? What positive outcome might we expect? It is hard to see how things could be better than all the electricity working, and easy to see how things could be worse.
Anyway, this was also our attitude to the kitchen until Kathy and Ian insisted that David have a new one and, after as little as six years of this insistence, he cracked. So long as they would choose it, order it and manage the installation, he would be prepared to pay for it and sit in his room while it happened. Kathy
and Ian are therefore the heroine and hero of this particular photo essay. (I can't show you a picture of Ian because it would give too much away about the post-restoration kitchen.) They were genuinely heroic, especially when they were carrying everything around while David and I watched (he also has a bad back).
Here endeth part one of the photo essay.