Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I must tell you about the kitchen

last weekend, after I had cleaned the kitchen benches - dutch husband decided that he would pull the kitchen out in readiness for the new one. And he is the expert on that - he has been designing and creating kitchens for nearly 30yrs..

[the plumber and the kitchen wiz - deep in thought]

luckily we have Chris the plumber pretty much on call for this - so he popped in to disconnect the kitchen taps and to give dutch husband a hand to pull the cupboards out.. and what a lovely thing we found..
remember the dishwasher flooding episode? We discovered the reason for the leaking dishwasher.. a rat had made its home under the washer and had decided that the plastic hose might make a good meal.. and had chewed the whole hose in half.. not only that but the electrical cable had been chewed as well, leaving live wires exposed to water.. not a good combination and it turns out that we could have been electrocuted.. thank Heavens for the angels at Villa Maria. so another hot water, sunlight soap and scrubbing brush task for me to do..

the new outlets for our taps.. whenever they go in.. a few weeks maybe.
during the week we went looking for a new stove & I was getting quite despondent about leaving my stove at Inglewood.. they are very expensive now and too big for our kitchen at Villa Maria.. after looking at a few places - and not so helpful salesmen.. at our last stop.. I just blurted out to the sales woman what i had & how I was going to miss it.. - funnily enough, she had one very similar - cast iron & enamel but only half the size. one and half ovens, 5 gas burners, separate grill. perfect. [took a woman to understand] so we ordered ours in black and it should be here in a week or so.
that does not mean I will have a fully functioning kitchen. no. the cupboards will be in but the granite tops will be a week or so. Plus, we don't have gas connected which could take weeks.. all of this equals: no sink/water/taps to wash up & no hotplates to cook on. will it be takeaway pizza? ... things will work out.

and this is how I spend most of my time at Villa Maria when I am inside.. socks and thongs.. a very attractive look, yes.. but easy to slip my thongs off when I want to walk on my scrubbed floor boards. you see, I don't wear shoes inside. so if you ever come to visit.. that is one thing I will ask you to do: remove shoes before entering. come inside, sit and be at peace.
leave your worries at the door

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gregorian chants, hot water, sunlight soap and a scrubbing brush

I am a little disappointed in the way of the world today.. i went to buy a bristle scrubbing brush and came home with one with synthetic bristles. it is just not right, scrubbing the floors at Villa Maria with a synthetic bristle. not right at all. But I won't give up, I will keep searching for a true old fashioned bristle brush..

listening to Gregorian chants, while scrubbing the floor with hot soapy water, my meditative state was interrupted by battery operated screw drivers - testosterone tools as I refer to them. .. dutch husband in the kitchen.. i put up with the noise of it all for as long as I could, [loud noise grates on my nerves]
then yelled out "what did they use in the olden days before the battery operated one was invented?'
- 'hand tools' he replied...
'oh wouldn't it be nice if we could use them here' I muttered...
'won't be long now' he said, patiently...

and I went back to scrubbing.. wishing whole heartedly that I could be back in days gone by... *sigh* not long now.. 12 more days til we move in.

my friend Wendy called in today to see the progress of Villa Maria and said 'hope you don't think this gargoyle is going to scare evil spirits away, his face is too cute'..

dutch husband has finished the pantry. we used an old door we found at the recycled building yard.. I scrubbed it hard outside in the sun and once it was dry, dutch husband hung it on the pantry. I am going to leave it blue.. we found an old glass handle that was perfect. Once i move in, I will hang a bunch of lavender on the handle.

[the loungeroom]
the floors are just divine. the house is starting to smell clean. when you walk in, a waft of sunlight soap hits the senses.. memories of grandma

this is what I see from my bedroom window. I call it the 'hanging garden of Babylon'.. it is actually quite beautiful and green.. a sense of serenity.. and in the trees somewhere, there is an owl. or rather a Tawny frogmouth.

the glass door knob
isn't it gorgeous?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

thoughts & the bathroom

sometimes when I start thinking, i feel a little worried about Villa Maria. when I go there, to unpack boxes into my art studio or Sacred room.. I don't feel as if there is life in Villa Maria. it feels cold, lonely & unloved. Maybe I am expecting too much too soon. Maybe it is because it is still a 'building site'. Maybe it will take living there for some time before I will feel that the house is loved. It took quite awhile for Inglewood to feel sacred and peaceful. lots of sageing, bell ringing & tibetan bowl singing. many rituals & prayers. many family gatherings.. when i go to Villa Maria to work, I tell her that I love her & cannot wait to live there. I burn candles and incense and listen to Gregorian chants. Hopefully she will absorb this energy and love that I lavish on her..

[Mr Plumber Extraordinaire - otherwise known as Chris..]

the final touches to the bathroom have started. the past weekend was a flurry of activity. Chris arrived bright and early to connect the taps and install the bath.

Chris was quite excited. He is a fully trained tradesman now but this was his first claw-foot bath that he has installed by himself.

smile for my blogging friends, Chris!
manoeuvring the bath down the narrow hall and around corners was a little tricky.. but it is nicely installed now. all we are waiting on is the shower screen to be installed - but at least we have a functioning bathroom for when we move.. now all I need is new towels.. what colour? Oh and some Miss Robyn finishing touches of course.. all in due time.

Monday, July 5, 2010

a prayer answered

[this is the kitchen. half renovated.. no, not half.. just beginning. the stove is going & I am getting a stainless steel stove [eventually]. the wall behind the current stove has to be re-plastered then painted. New bench tops will go in soon [thank heavens for the fact that dutch husband is a kitchen designer and manufacturer] I am thinking granite tops.. still not sure yet.

I have been told numerous times that I must be careful what I wish for. to be careful what I pray for. over the weekend, I realised that wishes do come true. it may take eons to happen, but it does.

quite a few years ago on australian television, there was a mini series about Nuns living in a convent. Brides of Christ. and I remember vividly one episode, watching a Nun on her hands and knees scrubbing a timber floor. I said to myself, how much I would love to do that. to be in the presence of the Divine, scrubbing old wooden floors. Yesterday, that wish came true. And I realised that it had, as I scrubbed..
you see, over the weekend we tackled the kitchen floor. I pulled up old lino & discovered sheets of masonite nailed to the floor..

dutch husband [he looks a little worried, don't you think?] got to work and showed me how to pull the masonite up.. and I became general building hand.. using a tyre lever to wrench the masonite off the floor..masonite that was mildewed with years of water spilled on it.

I started to pull the nails up, but didn't have the strength in my arms. the masonite nails were every 2ins apart and nailed into the floor about 1' depth.. thank heavens for the muscles of the man I am married to!

and as we pulled the masonite and nails up, we discovered a gorgeous, un-finished timber floor...albeit a little water stained..

I got to work and scrubbed..on my hands and knees.. just like i had wished for all those years ago.. all that was missing was the Habit.

of course, it will take more than one wash. I looked in my French housekeeping book and saw that in days of old, french women scrubbed floors with soap and bleach. I have a gorgeous cake of olive oil soap that I will use to do that and vinegar instead of bleach.. and I am going to buy myself a lovely wooden bristle scrubbing brush.. I must be the only person in the world who takes delight in scrubbing floors. but it is true, I do love to do things like this. I get lost in my own thoughts.

[oh and later that day, I scrubbed the benches clean and decided to clean the dishwasher.. giving it a run of water through.. we turned it on and i continued to clean.. feeling an odd sensation about my feet, I looked down and I was standing in a lake of water.. the pump on the dishwasher is broken and it was pumping water all over the floor.. but making use of the water, I just mopped the whole kitchen floor again.. more dirt gone!]

"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)