Mrs Summerhouse's drawing for joiner

Mrs Summerhouse’s drawing for joiner

To rout or not to rout that is the question, whether tis nobler to paint existing worktop or replace altogether and what will be the knock on effect on the kitchen sink unit we are designing and having made and whether tis madness to spend all this money on re-designing a kitchen that the bastard estate agents assure us will be ripped out by the erstwhile purchasers. Routing, in case you were unclear, is nothing to do with putting the enemy to flight although I wouldn’t mind taking to IKEA with an axe for reasons I shall explain momentarily.  No, routing, in this case, is concerned with cutting vertical lines on to a plain cupboard door (to make them look tongue and grooved) with the special man tool I got for my birthday a couple of months ago. It’s the same effect we already have on certain cupboard doors and doors themselves, in this case, put there by our last joiner, the one who lives next door but who no longer does any work for us because he is too busy. Remember, rule one, if it can be difficult it will be. Try and stay with me because it gets worse.

The bleedin’ kitchen sink unit replacement has not been a smooth process. Deciding to replace the old one was a relatively easy decision once the much more difficult decision to do some renovation on the kitchen was made. They’ll only rip it out, we were assured… What to replace it with was not so straight forward. One thing we were clear on was that we didn’t want a modular kitchen a la IKEA et al. Too much money, not in keeping with the house generally and wouldn’t match with the bits of the kitchen we were keeping – the cupboards our ex joiner routed for us. So we thought, a free-standing kitchen unit in farmhouse style, i.e. with the pigs living underneath it. Glad I haven’t lost my sense of humour. All this meant for us was that we would have, what I think are called, a Belfast sink in the unit. I found one (the whole thing) on line, I think I’ve already told you this, good design, good price, but not so simple, they no answer phone. Move to plan B.

And this is where IKEA make all our small problems into big ones. We girded our loins and prepared for the hell that is IKEA. Don’t get me wrong they have remarkably good value stuff and, as far as we can tell, produce it without exploiting every poor indigenous tribe in the sub-continent who had the misfortune to respond to the blond headed man / woman who greeted them with a smile and whatever Swedish for hello is. So morally OK we think but not as a shopping experience. For example, after three days of trekking through the jungle we find the kitchen department. Thousands of kitchens mercifully most of them modular so ruled out. We find an assistant, I use this word loosely. I ask do you have any free-standing sink units? Don’t know, I’ll ask, two days later – no. We look at what they do have and find one (the one in this blog) that we think is OK. I’ll precis what follows. We’d like that one, please. Sorry, we don’t make that one any more. Then why is it on display? It’s being taken out. When? Don’t know. Can we buy that one? I’ll just check with my colleague. She calls a friend. This takes a life time and goes yada, yada, yak, yak, blah, blah, brilliant. Puts down phone, turns to us and says, he doesn’t know. Could you kindly explain to me what the  f–k is brilliant about that? I say this in my head. Can we reserve that unit and you let us know when it’s being taken out? No, we don’t have the systems in place for that.

Take deep breath and ask about the other kitchen that has a Belfast sink. Can we buy that one? We haven’t got any Belfast sinks. When will you have? Bear in mind it’s August, October sometime. You could call one of our other stores to see if they have the one that’s being taken out. Can you do that? No, we can’t, and I quote, we don’t have the systems (again with the systems) in place to do that. OK. We leave store and go back to vehicle and I make a phone call to IKEA store in Leeds, our local store. I press 10 million options and am put on hold. This I could handle were it not for f–king Abba. By the end of Waterloo, Dancing Queen etc. etc. etc I want to die right there in the car park. No I don’t I want them to die. Anyway, strike Abba, I mean IKEA as source of kitchen unit.

Many years later my neighbour casually mentions that his brother is a joiner (can’t think why he didn’t mention this before when I was complaining about the non-availability of our joint neighbour, joiner) he could probably make what you want. I avoid throwing my arms around him, it’s not that kind of town, and calmly say that would be nice. And that dear reader is pretty much where we are except that we now have to give my neighbour’s brother a drawing (see above) to work from which has taken Mrs Summerhouse and I back to some decision-making, hard ones – routed doors to match other cupboards, wooden worktop or plain to match other side, large enough on one side to accommodate washing machine (as a selling point you understand not because we intend to buy another washing machine), wood or MDF, depending on whether cabinet is painted or left plain?? You’d be surprised how many decisions there are when you move away from walking into IKEA or some such place and saying – I want that one.

They say the Devil makes work for idle hands, well, my grandma did anyway. So, as a retired person, and with so much time on my hands we’ve plunged into the murky world of kitchen renovation. This has taken from the dubious world of reclamation yards in a search for Belfast sinks, men with hostile stares and a disinterested attitude, no, sorry that’s IKEA again. Lots of Belfast sinks but none you’d want to wash your pots in and heavy, you’ve no idea, or perhaps you have. We ended up back at B&Q where we bought a Belfast sink for £160 ish this with 10% off with our trade card, the one we got for the gardening business but never used. So that was nice, true it doesn’t arrive until October 14th when we plan to be on holiday in Scotland but no matter, we haven’t even ordered the sink unit into which it fits yet, the one above. So there we are being retired gives a person so much time to enjoy a spot of DIY. Retirement, it’s grand, come on in.

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