Sunday, February 26, 2006

Not too much to ask, is it?

Well, the ongoing saga with Homebase is still – well – ongoing. We have had two more attempts at getting two cream drawer covers with no success. Beech was sent again – so that’s three lots of beech and last week an entirely different kitchen unit was sent. They still can’t order just the drawer fronts (the computer system won’t allow it) so each time they have to send the whole unit. Bizarre. We have chosen the tiles though and half of them are on the walls. Looking good so far.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Handles and History

Up early, out of the house and on our way to Ikea by 8.30a.m. to buy handles for the kitchen doors and drawers. We have a choice of three stores all around an hour’s drive from us but as two of them, Warrington and Wednesbury, involve the M6, we always go to the Nottingham one which is actually near Kimberley and Awsworth.* We managed to get some super handles and inserts for the cutlery drawers all for about £28. By this evening they had been fitted and it is now – except for the two lots of missing drawers - complete. Next job is choosing and fixing the tiles. Looking forward to having a day off tomorrow and going for a long walk.

* my maternal grandfather was born in Awsworth in 1884 and his grandparents were married in the church there in 1858 so I always feel I'm on 'familiar' ground - I wonder what they would have made of Ikea?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Going round in Circles

Whilst fitting together the final unit P found that the drawer runners didn’t fit the drawers. He rang Homebase yet again and of course, you know what’s next, he’d found another error in their system. It turns out that quite a few drawer units have gone out with the wrong runners because one of the packers at the factory packed a whole load of, and I quote, “wrong runners in the right boxes” – so we have now been given a ‘fast-track’ replacement order of a ‘conversion kit’ as well as the ‘buddy’ order for a cream oven housing unit. At least now we have a working sink and hob. As the housing for both beech and cream is the same this has now been assembled and the oven wired up. We really just need two cream drawer fronts, but these cannot be ordered on their own, because the computer will not deal with this, so we have to be sent a whole new unit, the third in a week, just to get two bl***y drawer fronts.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Three steps foreward and one back

The mini-skip arrived nice and early and we completely filled it with the sorry remains of the old kitchen. The gas man came to take out the old gas pipe, the water board man came to fix the leaking stop tap and the new cooker housing was delivered – except it was beech again, not cream. So now we have two beech units and no cream unit. Back to square one. Oh deep joy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Oath or Two

Up bright and early to drive over to Chesterfield to pick up my sister and make our appointment at the Sheffield probate office at 11.30a.m. on time. We drove through Ashbourne and Matlock in brilliant sunshine and guess who forgot to take her new sun-glasses with her. Still the old ones managed even though I couldn’t see very well in them. Luckily no hold ups in Matlock. It only takes one delivery van to park on the main road to hold the traffic up halfway back to Matlock Bath. When we arrived at the Law Courts (after trying three times to find the entrance to the car park) we had to have our bags searched and step through one of those detector things. The man in front of me had to empty his pockets into a box to be searched and still managed to set the detector off a couple of times. We only had to wait a little time and then we had to read through the application for probate and swear an oath clutching our new testaments. It should only take about 10 days to be granted and then we can proceed with the selling of Dad’s shares and acting upon his wishes in distributing what is left of his savings. My sister and I are the executors and the benefactors of his will so it is quite straight forward.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Problems, Problems

We’ve hit our first problem almost straight away. When we ordered the kitchen the oven housing came up on the computer as beech even though we had ordered cream. The assistant checked with the manager. “It’s the right code for cream” he assured “when it arrives it will be cream” Was it heck. We called the warehouse and they said not their problem, call the shop and slammed the phone down. We called the shop and luckily the asssitant remembered us and remembered checking with the manager. After much phoning around she found out that the order codes were wrong in the sale price leaflet and that their head office hadn’t told them. So a new order was put in for a replacement which should arrive within two days.Still there are plenty of other jobs we can get on with. It’s quite tiring having to do the washing up upstairs in the bathroom and trying to manage with just the microwave. We had thought about eating out this evening but then realized it was Valentine’s Day and that probably everywhere would be booked up – so we fetched pizza and salads from Tesco. Off to Sheffield tomorrow

Monday, February 13, 2006

Oh, Yuk

Well, I was right the old units were removed and behind them were absolute horrors of old tiles, woodworm in the skirting boards which were painted bright blue; lovely with the yellow flowered wallpaper and tiles. Behind one of the units were several pieces of pottery including 1970s egg cups in red and purple with little feet and cups and saucers with a green ivy pattern. Under the sink unit was a 1979 Sunday Mirror full damp, silverfish and five pages of Britt Ekland in various stages of undress. The stench pipe housing was rotten and just fell away with the tiles so this has had to be rebuilt. The stop tap had a small leak (thank goodness we have insurance for this with the water board) and there was an old gas oven pipe which we need to get taken out and capped by the by the gas board. New tiles have been laid and the walls painted so now we can begin assembling and installing the new kitchen. I was always worried about what was behind these units and my worst fears were realised. I'm just ashamed we've lived with them for so long. At least the front bits were clean.

Friday, February 10, 2006

New Kitchen

The kitchen we ordered from Homebase after Christmas is now sitting in bubble wrap in the garage waiting to be installed. Firstly we have to rip out the old kitchen and make good the floor and walls, because whoever installed the present one put it in and then laid the floor tiles up to the base units, and if their workmanship behind these units is the same as we found behind the wall units then we are in for a lot of hard work. We took down the wall units a couple of years after we moved in to make good the walls behind. The cupboards had been mounted on the old original 1970s tiles (yellow flowers) which in turn had been laid over the wallpaper (yellow flowers) and then packed with broken tiles behind. I’ve a feeling this weekend is going to be a dusty, dirty one.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Food & Antiques

Yesterday S&R came over from Nottingham and we drove over to Leek to find a shop they wanted to visit. Period Features is on Broad Street and is a treasure chest of lovely things, we had a rummage around and a chat to the owner and then wandered across the road to explore one or two of the antique shops that the town is famous for. We then had lunch in No 64, lovely food, a bit pricey but as it was S&R’s Wedding Anniversary the next day it seemed appropriate. The restaurant itself is light and airy and the staff courteous and attentive. We all had something different off the menu but my pudding of apple sorbet with crisp apple slices was wonderful. P’s wild mushroom risotto was also delicious. Later we wandered around the town and dipped in and out of more shops and then the antiques centre which we had parked near. We chattered, meandered and generally had a wonderful time. I love days like this.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Still Smiling

Reasons to be Cheerful

Part One

The BBC is having a Stephen Poliakoff season. I really enjoyed ‘Friends and Crocodiles’- shown a couple of weeks ago on BBC1 and also the repeat of ‘The Lost Prince’ on BBC2 over New Year. I’m loving the re-run of ‘Perfect Strangers’ on BBC4 and still to come on this channel are the wonderful ‘Shooting the Past’ and also ‘Close my Eyes’ with Alan Rickman – I just love him in this film. All of them so moving, stirring and stunningly beautiful. Thanks BBC. Can't wait for 'Gideon's Daughter'.

Part Two

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Lighthouse’ by P D James. It’s another Adam Dalgliesh novel and as usual so beautifully written that you just float through it as if the pages were made of silk and the words formed from honey.. I wonder if they will film it for TV. They filmed ‘The Murder Room’ almost as soon as the book was out as they did with ‘In Holy Orders.’ I have to admit that although I like Martin Shaw, I really prefer Roy Marsden's portrayal of Dalgliesh.

In complete contrast I’m now reading ‘Starter for Ten’ by David Nicholls. This is making me snort with laughter, rather unbecomingly, in public places – so I have decided I can only read this at home, alone.

Next on my pile of books is ‘Looking Backwards’ recollections by Colette. I picked this up for £2 in a book shop in Leek and remembering how much I used to love reading Collette I had to buy it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Smiling on a grey day

The ‘Big Issue’ man who stands outside M&S in town always cheers me up. He offers to his customers ‘two free staples with every copy’ and when people pass by he queries ‘Big Issue, duck?’ and if you say ‘no thanks’ or shake your head with a smile he always says ‘s’all right, flower, take care now.’ He’s a real tonic and must make lots of people smile every day.

Picked up my new glasses from D&A and my new prescription sun glasses too - both on special offers. I hope I haven't jinxed the weather though by buying the sun glasses. I bought a new umbrella a couple of weeks ago and it hasn't rained since.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Admin Charges

I’m absolutely furious that a mail-order company with whom I’ve had dealings over several years now have penalized me for forgetting to sign a cheque I sent them. They have charged me a staggering £15* to cover the ‘administration’ of having to send the cheque back. Given that I have always been a good customer who never had any huge debts, who had never forgotten to pay or to sign a cheque before, and only owed them the sum of £16 anyway I find this unforgivable. I did send the cheque a couple of days after my step-father died and I was distracted by thinking about funerals and etc and I should have checked it but even so I find this kind of ‘customer care’ totally unacceptable. I will never use them again. Just beware of this company, a French one, based in Yorkshire. Bah.

* I had to put a stamp on the envelope they provided so this sum would be for their postage to me and the typing of the letter