This intro should be read while adopting a Geordie accent – “Day five hundred and eleventy-three in the kitchenless house, and the strain’s starting to show. The housemates are tired from excessive DIY and having to hunt through boxes to find their kitchen utensils. The only source of water is from the small basin in the downstairs shower-room. Tempers are starting to fray...”
Mr E and Gamford are so scunnered with assembling and fitting the kitchen that I think the suggestion of a trip up to Ikea right now would be met with my summary execution.
“Anyone who has the ability to read instructions and use a screwdriver can do this,” said Mark, the cheery Ikea ‘co-worker’, as Mr E enquired about the complexities of the task ahead.
What Cheery Mark forgot to say was that we would also need a jigsaw (of the cutting variety), a spirit level, not one but various screwdrivers in all types and sizes, a bradawl, a hammer, some clamps, wood glue, sander, hacksaw, a rudimentary grasp of plumbing and carpentry, and a wheelbarrow full of patience. More than just a screwdriver, that’s for sure.
I am loving the quality of the kitchen (it’s very good for what it is) and I am sure fitting it into a new-build house would be a doddle – all straight walls and no weird bits sticking out here and there, or plumbing pipes criss-crossing in odd places and zipping up and down walls where units need to go.
But in the house of horrors (ours) there are no straight walls and no well-placed pipes. It is all one obstacle after another. Which is why we are now sitting with it half-finished a month after delivery. It has been, in the words of Lemony Snicket, a series of unfortunate events. And these unfortunate events have been doubled due to the fact we are replacing both the utility and kitchen.
Firstly, when the main delivery arrived, the lorry driver tried to redesign our gateway. But at least all the bits and pieces were there, allegedly, in a million boxes. These were duly piled into the garage and work began. But it soon ended again.
One of the custom-made worktops – which had to come all the way from Germany rather than just off the shelf from Ikea up in Embra Toon as we’ve got such weird room shapes – was too short. Nice Mark was perplexed. How could that be? Everything had been measured to within an inch of its life. By him. He couldn’t possibly be wrong, could he? Erm, yes, he was. Oh. Another three weeks to deliver the replacement which would, of course, be exactly right.
All good. But then the lack of legs for the units was the next hiccup. The units hang on a rail, then wee legs go underneath the corners. Or not, if they haven’t sent you enough of them. Cue a courier being despatched all the way from Embra with two wee boxes of plastic legs.
With the utility almost completed, attention turned to the kitchen. Another courier, this time with a replacement sink, as the one which had been delivered appeared to have been drop-kicked across the warehouse.
But today we find that the fixings from the tap to our water pipes are not compatible. So we are still using the bathroom sink. A true kitchen sink drama, with some gritty northern actors pretending to be DIY-competent, but sadly no chance of a BAFTA. Tune in next week for Act Two.