For those few of you who care about this sort of thing – and because I promised I’d keep you informed – here is an update on the ongoing conversion of the Maison des Girrafes into a Palazzo.
But first, the weather.
The weather in North Norfolk has been dry for months – the little rain we’ve had barely ranks as dewfall – and it’s increasingly warm. Leaving aside worries about crops withering in the fields and incipient water shortages, it’s been absolutely glorious, just perfect for me and Canis primus croxorum to escape to the beach. The sea is easily warm enough for swimming – remarkable for the beginning of June. Usually the icebergs don’t melt until late July or even August.
What’s this, I hear you cry? Canis croxorum’s name is now a trinomial? Well, yes, I know: I can announce that the Maison des Girrafes has welcomed yet another new member, Canis secundus croxorum, who is an absolute delight, except if you are one of teh kittehs, who look most disgruntled, but are coming round to the idea of a small dog that chases everything around at very high speed.
Mrs Crox is taking advantage of the weather by planting out lots of seedlings in a polytunnel. Here it is, not as planted out as it now is – with tomatoes, courgettes, chillis and cucumbers.
Note the spud barrel in the foreground, extended with a special Norwich City FC spud-growing accessory, designed to encourage the plants, like the Canaries, to ever greater heights.
Being a self-assembly polytunnel, it assembled itself, though it did need some help, as some of the pieces were chiral.
We’ve also made a greenhouse, using a metal high-sleeper bed frame Crox Minima had grown out of (i.e. when she sat up in bed, her head made holes in the ceiling) covered in polythene sheeting. It works a treat.
So that’s the garden sorted.
Inside the house, just about all the major works have been done, in the sense that the Build (like Norwich City) is now Up, and pretty much all the internal reorganization and subdividing is complete – though I’ll have a great deal of work to do when the many tradesmen have left for greater things elsewhere. I’ll have miles and miles of skirting boards and architraves to install; walls to paint; kitchen units to design and build; bookshelves to put up, and so on and so forth in like fashion. I’ll love every minute of it.
Even now though, just as we edge towards the middle of the beginning of the end, the house doesn’t feel like the Maison-des-Giraffes-with-extra-bits – it feels like an entirely different order of residence, almost as if we’ve moved. It’s airier, more spacious, altogether a home that Cries Out to our Every Visitor, ‘Here Lives Someone Who Is Exciting To Know’.
You’ll remember the rather lonely sink unit I made – well, now it has friends. The utilities are all plumbed in and a worktop plonked on top. I got the worktop from eBay for about £120 – three metres of solid beech, 40mm thick. It was too heavy to lift on my own, and plasterer and all-round good bloke Mr S. cut the worktop into manageable lengths.
After that I was on my own. Making the cutout for the sink in this beautiful timber was a heart-in-mouth affair…
but it all fits together – and when our plumber, the excellent Mr P. M. Snr. of Bacton, connected the taps and got them to run into our reclaimed butler sink – well, maybe I am a sad person who should get out more, but I did come over all emotional.
But all things must pass. My WearableOffice(TM) is now a downstairs loo – which, I have to admit, is a better use of the space – and I shall soon set up shop in half of what used to be the kitchen, which right now looks like this – all that remains is the cooker itself, until such time as the new cooker in the new kitchen gets connected up:
It’s a dismal prospect, I admit. If you’ve ever ripped out an old kitchen, you’ll know that it can be a depressing experience. All of a sudden the full horror of the muck and murk lurking behind the units comes flooding out. This space stinks like a disused chip shop. There’s a long way to go before it’ll be fit to write a book in. Before I can even start to install desks, bookshelves and so on – before I can even paint it and box in the old pipework – I shall have to steam clean the floors. And the walls. At least, when I’ve had enough of that, I’ll have another trip to the beach to look forward to.