Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Greetings from the plughole and Cast Iron Love

 As I warned you, I did disappear into a plughole. The bathroom is almost done, some decorating needs still happen, but as we can use it, I have taken a bit time off to dig in the allotment. The lovely neighbour, hereafter known as the Gnome (garden variety), had been turning some of our soil for us. I saw him this morning and he admitted that it was because he was bored! I must say that his side is impeccable and nothing much can be done before the soil is warm enough to plant seeds into. Here in the northern England we are always a few weeks behind the warmer South.

The picture above is a teaser, a little bit of our spanking new bathroom. The rest will come, when we are finished properly.

On a kitchen note, I love, love, love cast iron pans. I have two; one we bought twelve years ago; a massive 28cm diameter one and a smaller one my parents bought to us from Finland. I wished for this specific, smaller size and a metal handle, so we can put the pan into the oven as well. The task wasn't easy, most this size pans tend to have a wooden handle. In the end this pan was found second-hand. Awesome! My Dad had given it a new oil treatment and it is as good as new. These pans will likely survive us.

The only downside is that they are heavy. At the moment we are fine with this, but if we get very weak at some time in the future they will be handed down to the next generation. In addition we also have a pot:

We would like to have bread tins made of cast iron as they cook the bread beautifully. Elf Husband has tried it in our pot and although it makes a nice rustic loaf, we only have one of them and the shape is not very handy for lunch packs. At the moment they are available in the US only. Sigh....I cannot read Polish or other Eastern European languages, so don't know whether they make some. Anyone out there, who knows? This is out of assumption that those countries might still make this old fashioned cookware. By the way, I am not interested in Le Creuset or alike, because they are enamelled. That in my mind totally does away with all wonderfulness of a cast iron cookware. The whole point is that they cannot be destroyed. The enamelling makes them vulnerable for scratching.

If you think that you can destroy a cast iron pan by washing it in soapy water, you are wrong. You might put it out of commission until it is re-primed. Here is the way you do it, if you need instructions to revive an old pot or pan. Do you have any cast iron favourites?

As the kitchen was the main work place for cutting tiles etc. it ended up very dirty. This forced me into a spring cleaning and as a treat after hard work I painted a bit of wooden dowel in black and hung some hooks to make a rack for some kitchen implements.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Gardening bliss


 is what I experienced when the first really warm week hit us in the beginning of March. The warm weather then promptly disappeared, as you might expect at our latitudes. I went on work with this untidy bush (picture from the last summer):

and turned it into this:

Better suited for a small yard and giving some space for my beloved herbs.

I moved here from a far bigger garden and took me a selection of perennials and some herbs as you can see from the sea of pots. 

We also got ourselves on the Allotment Society waiting list. People we know waited a bit over a year when they got theirs, so I was thinking that if I was as lucky, we would get one in the back of this coming summer. Surprisingly, the gardening stars aligned for us and we got our allotment on Sunday!

The allotment has some weeds, but I would say that it is in an easy category. The soil is beautiful, totally different kettle of fish from my old garden. I had a feel of it and saw some over wintered root veg and it is promising great yields!

The neighbour allotmenteer, whose nephew had ours, cleaned it for handover in January.

The people who it was offered to obviously didn't turn up, so we got it! (We must have been next ones on the list). By the way, the neighbour is a really lovely, retired gent, who immediately offered his gardening tools for our use, while he is not there using them. He also showed us around in his sheds and in his heated green house, where the tomato plants were almost a foot tall already! You can see his tidy allotment on the left side of the path.

There is an amount of junk, which we need to get rid of. Amongst it a corrugated roofing sheet made of asbestos, which needs to be collected by the council. On the other hand there is a little potting shed cum green house:

All the allotment pictures are Elf Husband's. He also took one from the alley in the allotment. It looks like a shanty town and today someone was burning wood somewhere, so both visual and olfactory inputs lead us directly back to Africa. We share a gate with our neighbour allotmenteer. If you are not from the UK, this is how allotments often look like here; they are very much make do with what you can get for free or very cheaply.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Bathroom renovation day -1

We start officially tomorrow, but actually have done some preparatory stuff during this week.
This is how our delightful bathroom looked like:

Yes, there is a hole in the wall. We had to make it to investigate a leakage. This then led to stopping water going into our shower as the water was leaking inside the wall. The construction of this wall could be an example in a book of "How not to renovate your bathroom".

Husband took the shower screen and the wall down. (We will install new ones, the lay-out is the only possible for this room, if we want to have a shower and the bath.

Today he also peeled all the tiles off. We will have our last "splush" in this bath tomorrow morning and then all the sanitaryware is taken out.

We got most of the deliveries yesterday, but the sink area tiles arrived this morning. They are SO pretty. I had to play a little bit by making a pattern:

I love them, so excited to have them on my walls. I will try to keep blogging, but if there is a bit of a pause, I have temporarily disappeared into a plughole.