Close…but no cigar

Yes I know I should be celebrating.

No more filling bottles with water to boil for tea and no more hoiking dishes up the stairs in a box, to be washed, hunched over a bath silhouetted with masonry dust and shards of plaster, then hoiked back down the stairs in same box and dried on plastic trays in the temporary kitchen set up in the living room.

That is indeed a sink. With running hot water. But it’s in the new (unfinished) utility room. It’s 3 months into our ‘3 month’ kitchen renovation and the kitchen isn’t finished. Admittedly the builders have been fantastic doing the knocking out of walls and installing the mega steels that now hold up the back of the extended house. But as one team have moved on and the next have taken over for ‘second fixing’ the pace has changed and whilst I can’t fault the quality of their work I’m more than a little bored of the dust, disruption and dismal dinners. (A ‘bargain’ £1.00 Lasagne from Marks & Spencer just up the road was the final nail in my food loving coffin – even Sam turned his nose up at it). Now whilst this time 2 years ago I was still covered in Pilton filth with my nostrils haunted by the various smells from a stint working at Glastonbury and just a year ago I still had a fresh ear to ear scar in my head after my craniotomy I’d just like to…..ok I”ve just re-read this and there really is NO excuse to moan.

I’m here, I’m healthy, I’m happy and it’ll be done when it’s done. I just hope it’s before friends from Dubai arrive in the middle of next month.

Here endeth the moan, I’m off to put on the kettle.

J x


The fridge made me do it

When we moved into this house last July we knew that the there were elements of our new home, inherited from the previous owners, that we hated but would be fixed in time. The kitchen is primary area of concern – no scrub that- less concern more outright hatred. It’s small, dark, pokey and badly laid out with two and a half sinks and no draining board. Who needs two and a half sinks but nowhere to drain dishes?! Being more used to gas the halogen hob meant nearly every meal I cooked in the first few weeks was blacker than my hair used to be and the main oven which we were told ‘is a bit temperamental’ doesn’t work at all. That’s why we had to barbecue our 12 lb turkey at Christmas.

But hold on, I’m more zen-like and calm these days so I can put up with all this. After all the builders are due to start work at the end of this month and they’ll be ripping out the old cursed, kitchen and creating a modern, airy open plan dining, living & kitchen space of my dreams. So why the rant I hear you ask? Well with what can only be described as a bloody annoying ‘white goods’ extra sensory perception the hideous inherited fridge-freezer seems to have got wind of the fact that it’s soon to be dumped and has decided to stop working…. Yesterday. And of course the freezer is full of food. So today I’m having to cook, cook COOK rather than knit.

Pack of tiger prawns – thawed
Beef mince – thawed
Fillet of pork – thawed
Butternut squash – thawed
Endless left over bits of homemade pastry…. well you get the idea.

Being slightly forgetful I thought ‘I know I’ll cook a few meals and then store them in the fri..’ Dammit the bloody fridge is knackered! In fact it’s so ‘gone’ it’s  warmer inside than the actual kitchen is and we’re currently storing our milk, cheese and butter in a cool box outside the kitchen on the doorstep. Oh for a larder!
Expect to see a few gratuitous food shots as I fight to save the dearly defrosted from the same fate as the heap of junk fridge. I’m off to cook
J x

When fashion is too fast

31 Day Challenge Day 24

I’ve always hated the concept of ‘fast fashion’. I think it encourages waste and diminishes the value of a well designed and crafted garment. It leads people to believe that clothes should be cheap and that it’s ok to pay less than a tenner for a pair of jeans or £17.00 for a pair of boots. Now don’t get me wrong, like everyone I know, I like a bargain and have been that person in the pair of £17.00 boots but largely I prefer to buy fewer, less frequently and better quality pieces that will last. I think it was around 20 years ago when the fast fashion trend started to rear it’s ugly head that I first started to rant at my poor husband that clothes were becoming too cheap, there wasn’t enough being produced in the UK and there would be a price to pay.

Sadly it’s generally being paid by the low paid pieceworkers in places like Bangladesh and Vietnam who work in cramped conditions to produce the clothes that we in the West just can’t live without. Or so you would think.

Last night on Channel 4 the Dispatches program took another look at the garment industry here in the UK, a subject they first touched on back in the 1980’s. It showed an undercover reporter called Bilal working at factories in Leicester for companies producing garments for the likes of River Island, New Look and (I’m not singling them out they were the companies named in the report). He was paid around £3.00 per hour despite the national living wage in this country being £7.20 for aged 25 and the clothes being produced included dresses and knitwear none of which retailed for more than £20.00. Whether it’s here or abroad it’s appalling that workers are being exploited in this way and I’m not even sure where I’m going with this rant. If we don’t already we can make better, more responsible and informed choices about where we buy our clothes and although some may argue that we would have to pay higher retail prices if companies were to pay their workers better wages I’d be prepared to do that.

As knitters we truly understand the value of the fibres with which we choose to knit and the time we invest in each row and stitch. It’s difficult however to convey that value to the Instagram generation who aspire to look and dress like their idols who are always dressed in the latest trends and, with thousands of social media followers, seem to have it all. I just hope that some of them take the time to watch last night’s program, and if you missed it, it’s well worth a watch here (the second part airs next Monday on Channel 4 at 8.00pm). As for me, having already resolved to ‘make’ more in 2017 I’m also going to buy less and more responsibly. Slow fashion suits me better

Sorry for the rant, see you tomorrow

J x