Home Improvements, with bonus breakups and swimming.

My weekend continues at a pace that I can barely keep up with. It’s now 7.30pm on Sunday evening and I need to give you the next news update otherwise we will fall hopelessly behind.

Right, so I returned from Brussels and immediately tackled various items on my to-do list, one of which was ‘Break up with Charlie’. We totally reached the end of the line. He is an unchangingly sweet, compliant and helpful person, but the more I got to know him, the more I realised he has no common sense, to the point where it is almost a disability. He constantly loses, forgets and drops his belongings, and you’d better not ask him to hold anything for you for even a few minutes because he will lose that as well. When he goes out, he leaves the door open. When he returns, he will try to break into other people’s apartments because their door looks similar and he got confused. He is totally oblivious to his surroundings and relies on the person he is with to tell him where he is and where he is going. He will cause you say “Don’t do stupid things” – believe me, this is a serious deal-breaker where I am concerned, I have lost count of the times I had to say that to Little G and also to my last boyfriend who I broke up with in 2010, prior to starting this blog. I swear I will not have that in my life again. I have absolutely and completely fulfilled my lifetime quota of telling men not to do stupid things. I don’t know why these morons are so attracted to me but I am not having it any more.

It was all a very long way from the dynamic, well-organised media entrepreneur that he styled himself as when we first met. So he had to go. I am relieved. The best thing I can say about it is that he took the news quite well, was polite and didn’t fight it.

sit here

That done, I cracked on with playing yet another game of Tetris with my flat. As you know, I live in a small flat that is full of stuff. I am more or less permanently on a mission to declutter but no matter how much stuff I pitch, a new challenge will arise that means that the amount of stuff I have left becomes a problem.

So. Windows. I am getting my windows replaced, and very expensive it is too. I am very overdrawn at the bank right now. A few days ago, the guys came out to measure my windows so they could give me a detailed quote. I have 6 windows and you will not be surprised to learn that they are all set into the outer walls (that is exactly the kind of logic puzzle that would have had Charlie scratching his head). Therefore, in order for the window people to measure up, I had to take all of my belongings, most of which are tragically still in boxes and crates and move them away from the outer walls, into the centre of the rooms.

There my stuff remained because I was optimistically hoping that the windows would get replaced right away but I’ve just found out they aren’t doing it until January. I was rather disappointed as I am sick of living in what looks like a broken-down warehouse but I got over it and today I paid the first 50% of what it’s going to cost.

Then on Friday, it was time for the cooker to arrive. The new cooker. Which comes in two parts, I ordered an oven and a separate hood, as I have learned to call the roof part of the cooker. At this point I will show you some photos of my awful kitchen and you will see how far removed it is from the ideals of gentle living and thoughtful interior design that we saw in Belgium.

This is what I have been putting up with. As you can see, the oven door has fallen off and the hood was beaten up during the Crime of April this year, just like me and like so many other things around my flat, all of which will eventually have to be repaired or replaced.

old kitchen

old kitchen oven

old kitchen hood

You can perhaps imagine how much I was looking forward to getting it all sorted out. My hopes were unrealistic, though, as there had to be a series of comical British mishaps before anything could get done. First the oven was in some way the wrong amount of watts for being attached to the mains. No problem, the guy said, because there’s a plug socket back here and we can plug it in. Except the plug socket didn’t work. Fuckin’ A. So then we had to drill holes in the kitchen cupboard and the work surface, using slightly the wrong drill bit, so that eventually the oven could be plugged in to a socket that had power and we were in business. All that remained was to fit the new hood. But no. Because the man had not been trained in hood fitting so he could not do it. So I had to phone the company and arrange for a second, differently-qualified man to come out on Wednesday and do the hood part. So that is why the hood is sitting in the kitchen in a cardboard box LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THAT I OWN.

ffs. Here’s the new cooker, anyway. It has another shelf which is not shown in this photo, and I don’t know what to use to get the oily finger marks off the front, but you get the general idea.

new oven

The depressed, squat-like quality of my kitchen is enhanced by the fact that I’ve had a blanket hanging over the window for the last 7 months, because the roller blind was pulled down in the Crime and I eventually realised that there was no point replacing it when the window frames are about to be removed. So the fact that the windows aren’t going to be replaced until January disappointed me, partly because I still can’t unpack and partly because it meant that my whole Christmas was going to involve being surrounded by cardboard boxes and cooking in a room that had a rag over the window like some sort of refugee camp. So I went to the supermarket and purchased their fanciest paper table cloth, which turned out, by some miracle, to be about the right size for the window, so we are using that instead. I am surprised by how much better it looks. It will do, won’t it. It will do until I can get proper window coverings in January.

tablecloth window

After all that was done, I went to the gym and swam 50 lengths without too much difficulty, which cheered me up considerably.

1 Reclaiming the Home point and 1 Health point. The new oven came in the nick of time because tomorrow’s post is going to be about Food.

2 thoughts on “Home Improvements, with bonus breakups and swimming.”

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