Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A very busy Squidge indeed!

Sorry I've been a bit quiet on the old blogging front - been a bit preoccupied recently!

I last blogged about our kitchen refit here. We're now into our fourth week.

Timetabling various work has been a bit of an issue - lots of time in between phases of work, rather than a smooth day-after-day continuation. We knew there would be a week's wait for our worktop after the units were fitted, but we didn't expect a delay of a week before the template could be taken, then another for said manufacture and fitting.

Units in, but no doors...

 It's going to look fab once it is completely finished - we've been painting in the quiet times so at least we're getting that done before we move everything back in. Here it is half-done, with a few cupboard doors and drawer fronts missing, no floor, and no paint on the walls.

Missing the glass doors and worktop

My really funky radiator!

Almost done. Still missing a few doors and drawer fronts...

We've also been trying desperately hard to get the garden room finished - which it is! There are lights, we even painted inside (I feel like I've lived in painting trousers for the last week!) and we have squishy bean bags and enough carpet for folks to crash down there and for me to do Pilates.

Squidgeling T has already had a jamming session with a mate in there - one full drum kit and a bass guitar with big amp, and we couldn't hear much at all in the house!

Mr Squidge has done an amazing job on building this

I'm looking forward to writing there, too. Amazing how much you can do if you're out of range of wifi and can't access the internet... Speaking of which, I'm 25,000 words into the rewrite of Rurik. It's going well, although I have discovered one or two continuity errors re timing. And I've had to rethink some character interactions and motivations. I'm hoping to have a first draft completed within another six weeks.

What else has happened? I went to my first 'festival' - an event to celebrate a friend's 50th. As you can see, I got into the spirit and dressed accordingly. So did Mr Squidge, but he didn't fancy sharing his photo!

Was especially proud of my 'festival nails' - the ones you can't see are cerise pink! 

And we've also had some very exciting news - Squidgeling J got the grades she needed in her A levels so she's off to Bristol University to do an MEng in Engineering Mathematics for the next four years! Tomorrow we find out how Squidgeling T got on in his GCSE's, too...

I don't think things are going to get any less busy any time soon, either; I have several bookings for author talks and creative writing workshops coming up as well as trying to put back everything that come out of the old kitchen into the new one. And learn how to cook again - we have always cooked on gas, but we're now the proud owners of an electric oven and hob, so it's all VERY different.

I'd be bored if I wasn't busy, wouldn't I? ;)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

NIBSing in August

Our most recent meeting was a little thinner for numbers (holiday time!) but was no less rich in material created because of it. So for your enjoyment, here are two ideas for writing inspiration - and two pieces of flash.

One of our activities was based on a book I'd read on my holiday - The Keeper of Lost Things, a stunning debut by Ruth Hogan. I'm not going to say much about the book - other than 'READ IT!' - because it is a beautiful story, and as an author I was struck by how cleverly it was constructed. Dotted throughout the book are the stories behind the lost things, and it was this idea - of writing the story behind the lost object - that I thought we could use as inspiration.

So, as is often the way before a NIBS session, I ran round the house collecting things that people might have lost.

I chose a button badge with 'I read, therefore I am' written on it and came up with this...

     She jerked her hand and the last book out of her bag and stared at the bead of red on her finger. Then she almost threw the book onto the pile and sucked her stabbed digit, tasting metal and salt.
     Perhaps she ought to wear the badges on her lapels instead, like most other people did? Except that this was her book bag, and she always used it to bring her books back to the library. It wouldn't be the same without the many book-related badges rattling gently on the fabric.
     She checked her finger. Still there. Not bleeding any more. So which of the badges was it this time? She reached for the bag and-
     "Hullo, Jean. What you been reading this week, then?"
     Her cheeks glowed. Frank Abbott was talking to her. "Um..."
     "I had a rather tasty little gothic horror to keep me up at night, but I see you're a bit more of a fantasy buff?"
     They both glanced down at the pile of G.R.R.R. Martin.
     Frank took her elbow in one hand and grabbed the straps of her bag with the other, dragging it across the counter. It snagged, momentarily, and there was a metallic 'ping' but neither of them heard it.

Our second exercise used paint charts. No, not the individual colours like I've used before (to create flash like this one called Planet Fever). Whole paint charts, which double up as inspiration if you can't think of colour combos for your own rooms.

Because there are so many pictures of rooms, decorated all sorts of ways, I challenged the NIBSers to find a picture of a room and write about it. There were some smashing pieces as a result - in one, an author described a particular shade of red as 'Bad Day at the Abbattoir' - which gave me a whole new idea for rewriting the paint names as something more realistic. Like a shade of green - 'The Morning After'. Or blue - 'Frostbitten Toes'.

Anyway, in the paint books were quite a few studies.

Study? Or writing corner?

Now 'study' to me, is a bit different to a mere writing space, and in my head, drums up a totally different image to the photo - like the one above - that I was looking at. Most showed writing spaces rather than studies, but it set me thinking about exactly how small a space would you need to claim it as a study...?

   "And here's the study." Andy flung the door open. Or he would've done, except he remembered - too late - that the door opened outwards, onto the landing.
   There was an embarrassing wait while he asked his clients to back up a bit... a bit more... I think one of you needs to step into the bathroom, please, thank you... and finally he could pull open the door.
    Mr and Mrs-to-be surged forward and there was a three-way shuffle while Andy manoeuvered himself into the bathroom to allow them to stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, in the narrow doorway.
    "It's a bit small," Mr said.
    "Well, you don't need lots of space to be sat down really, do you?" Andy pulled his mouth into what he thought was an encouraging smile. "Notice the high level shelving for all your books and papers and pencil pots." He watched the backs of their heads as they lifted their eyes to the ceiling.
    "In any other house that'd be called a picture rail," Mr muttered, taking one step into the study.
    To be fair, one step is all that could be managed. And when he pulled the desk chair out and sat on it, the back legs ended up on the landing, forcing Mrs-to-be to take one step back. "The desk is tiny."
    "It's a space-saving design, created by the previous occupant in a midnight moment of genius," Andy chipped in, hoping he'd remembered that right.
    Mr swivelled in the chair and fixed him with sharp eyes. "It's just a wider than normal windowsill."
    "Yes, it doubles up as one of those too." He was getting flustered now. He really needed this sale.
    Mrs-to-be flung her arms around Mr's neck and hugged him. "Darling, it's perfect. How much is it again?"
    Had he done it? Andy choked the words out. "Three hundred and fifty thousand."
    "We'll take it," Mrs-to-be said, before Mr could open his mouth...    

Monday, 7 August 2017

Something old, something new...

My old kitchen is reduced to this:

My new kitchen arrived. Most of it looks like this...

The rest of it? Well, it looks like this...

...and this!

I'm reliably informed it will look a whole lot different 
again by tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Slow cooking a kitchen

Things are progressing - slowly - in the kitchen.

Jack came last Sunday. Kitchen ripped out. (See previous blog post if you missed it)

Monday, the skip arrived.

Electrician came Tuesday. New wiring in.

Wednesday...nothing happened, because the electrician had allowed two days and didn't need them, and we think it was too late notice to get the plasterers in a day earlier.

Thursday. Plastering and insulating. I suppose I should've expected a bit of a mess when I was asked if I was having a new floor, because if we were, they wouldn't bother putting down protection... But blimey O'Reilly! It wasn't just the odd splatter of plaster here and there - everywhere was covered. There were great dollops of the stuff I've had to chip off, because the floor we will be having won't be very smooth if I leave them. So, a bit disappointing that the level of tidying up wasn't as high as other workmen we've had before, but the plastering itself was good. Pretty much all the walls and the old Artexed ceiling are now smooth and lovely.

Friday...nothing happened. And watching plaster dry is almost as interesting as watching paint dry. Mr Squidge said we should've rigged up some time lapse photography.

Today, we've welcomed the Squidgelings home from their separate, second camps of the year; Squidgeling T told us about white water rafting at Holme Pierrepoint and announced he wanted to cook more (!), while Squidgeling J hasn't stopped telling us about her adventures with i.Doody's Circus at Poacher 2017.

And STILL we're waiting for the plaster to dry. It had better dry by Monday. The fitter's coming back then because the units will be ready for beginning the rebuild.

It might actually start looking like a kitchen again, soon... *fingers crossed*