Sunday, December 11, 2011

11 penguins a-swimming (well, 9 and 2 icebergs)

The penguins (or, Marcheline, shall I call them ostriches?) continue to march to their right. Will the solitary Labour supporter ever be joined by another like mind? Or will he defect? Keep reading the blog to find out... .

And do these Cadbury's Wishes still exist?

Ah, questions, questions.

Here's another question: how much are you a slave to fashion? I like to think that I'm not. Indeed, if you saw what I'm wearing (black trousers, blue and white striped shirt, black jumper) you would realise that I wouldn't make the pages of "Vogue". But how about in the home?

As I've possibly mentioned before, we retired folk - well, I anyway - occasionally ... quite often... watch the odd bit of daytime telly. I only do this, you understand, while doing the dishes, washing the kitchen floor, wiping down the surfaces and so on. I'm never idle. Neverish. Anyway, one of the programmes I occasionally watch is "Homes Under the Hammer", in which people buy houses or flats in serious need of renovation, do them up and sell them or rent them out for lots of money. It's so restful to watch because you never see them doing any of the work. The house is bought and ten minutes later - hey presto, a wonderful house, magnoliaed to the rafters.

Discouragingly, about 50% of the "before" versions of the houses have these kitchen cupboards. Yup - our kitchen cupboards. And the presenters always say, "Now, you're going to rip these out, aren't you?"

Our kitchen is in an extension at the side of the house which we had built over fourteen years ago. So we chose the cupboards. And they weren't from the most glamorous kitchen shop, but (I think) MFI - a relatively cheapo kitchen/bedroom warehouse place, now defunct. And they weren't bang up to date even then. I was aware that, since this design had been around for a while, we possibly shouldn't get them. But I liked them. So we did.

And in a way, I still like them. I like the colour of the oak, the cupboards are as solid as the day we bought them and - well, there's nothing wrong with them. Which is why it annoys me to find myself sometimes imagining what the kitchen would be like with different units like you see on the telly, or maybe just different door fronts. And different counter tops. Etc. It annoys me to find myself thinking this, because they're all fine, and I'm not really shallow enough, rich enough or wasteful enough to think it's right to junk things that function perfectly well just because they're not bang up to date.

It's ok, Mr Life; I don't want a new kitchen. (Reasons above.)

I wonder if, now we're in the biggest recession (double-dip recession?) since Noah moored the Ark, that it may become less fashionable to change things for reasons of fashion? But then I suppose we need to buy stuff to get the economy going again...


  1. My kitchen cupboards are in dire need of change - being very old, poor quality in the first place, four owners (at least) and one kitchen fire(not us) old. I did paint the doors when we moved in. I'll probably do them again in the new year, white or cream this time, I think.
    The problem is, I think I'm too mean to pull out a run of cupboards and sink unit to replace them with the same sized run of cupboards and sink unit. Nothing would give me more capacity. I can't have wall cabinets there - there is a huge window. I refuse to spend a few thousand pounds on a newer version of the same.
    Am I being careful or just mean? They really are dire!

  2. I know what you mean. On those Before and After house programs, I always prefer the Before version!
    Our kitchen cupboards are over thirty years old and still working well, so they will be staying.

  3. I know I'm not very good at left and right, but you seem to be assuming that the penguins were waddling away from you before turning to exhibit their side views. My impression is that they were approaching you to see whether you had any of these nice prawns left, and thus the majority have turned to their right, with the solitary dissident veering leftwards.

  4. I wasn't assuming anything, o brother. I just got it wrong a few posts ago and continued doing so. Most penguins - right. One penguin - left.

    Maybe I shouldn't blog so late at night. My brain seems to be failing me.

  5. Still, congratulations on your superior brain.

  6. One opinion over here in the States that the housing bubble was aided and abetted by all those types of shows on HGTV (Home and Garden TV on cable). You know, use your home equity as a big piggy bank and remodel it up to the nth degree.

    My grandparents built their house with the help of their family in 1927 and until their deaths in 1973, not one thing was remodeled - not kitchen, not bathroom, nothing. Maybe they viewed the house as a place to live and not a way to keep up with the Joneses.

    My kitchen is 40 years old, the cabinets are original and it wasn't a deterrent to my buying it 10 years ago. Everything is perfectly fine and I have no intentions of tearing out perfectly fine to replace it with new. And I say the same about the 18 year old mini van which drives perfectly well.

    Unfortunately some of my neighbors didn't think the same way and we have six foreclosed houses on a street of 21. And I know that one neighbor took out a second mortgage to buy a brand new car - now she's lost the house. Dumb.

  7. I think your cabinets are lovely! That's a classic style to me. Ours are the same oak colour, but no windows on ours. There was a fashion a while ago here in California for dark wood in kitchens, and they look dated (and dark) to me now.

    The penguins confuse me. The photo I see shows their beaks all pointing to the left of the screen, except the lone dissident.

  8. Nothing wrong with your cabinets that I can there is no need to change them. Our kitchen may look slightly dated but it's large, and efficient, and it works for us so we won't be changing it just for the sake of change.

  9. I seem to remember your kitchen as being warm and welcoming - and there can't be too much wrong with that. Lovely to hear how much you're enjoying the fabulous pleasure in being a "Granny" or are you a "Nanna" - me I'm just Granny Anni! Lots of love to you and your family for Christmas and the year ahead Zxx

  10. We're stuck with perfectly good kitchen cupboards that came with the house. WE hate them and the layout of the kitchen but they are perfectly sound. I think we're stuck with them for now!

  11. Your cupboard doors look like lovely timber, while mine are genuine plastic. I'd rather have yours than mine.
    Many kitchen renovations seems to be done with nary a thought for the customary functions of kitchens, namely to prepare food.

  12. I think your cupboards are beautiful Isabelle! I love the pretty curves to the arches and the stained glass. I too, cringe when watching those programs -- or reading home reno blogs -- when they rip out perfectly good cupboards because they're not the right color. White is all the rage now and it IS gorgeous -- I'd love an all white and blue kitchen, but like you, I just couldn't throw out our perfectly good cupboards that are "only" 18 years old.

    The countertop and tile floors, however were a totally different story. The countertop was getting very worn, plus it wasn't very functional. I do feel wasteful with the floor, but I'd hated it from the day we moved in (it always looked dirty, even when clean), so that was our treat to re-do it.

    Now, about those penguins. I'm missing something -- oh wait. I re-read your post. Here I was thinking you had a whole collection of labour penguins -- dopey me!

  13. It drives me crazy when I watch House Hunters and the people looking at houses, usually very young, walk in a house, see a decent kitchen, and say,"Well we'll have to rip all this out."
    My kitchen cupboards are very similar to your, and I like them a lot, though I'd prefer a darker stain on them and have kicked around the idea of sanding down the fronts and restaining them. I can't imagine redoing a kitchen just because someone, who is this someone, thinks it's out of date.

  14. My friend recently spent the equivalent of the GDP of Romania on a new kitchen (plus the services of a Project Manager). The end result is very beautiful but I turn out lighter cakes in mine. Not that I'm jealous, you understand.

  15. Oh Isabelle, this post really resonates with me (sorry if that is grammatically incorrect, but I'm sure you'll get my meaning). Our house is nearly 40 years old, with typically exposed beams, cedar walls, all the wood painted 'mission brown', and everything seventies. We liked it when we bought it, and we still like it 30 years down the track. It is unfashionable compared to the houses around us which have been renovated several times to keep up to date. But do we care? Not a hoot!