Friday, September 30, 2011


The kitchen before our stuff arrived.
Let's talk about the kitchen. Because,“let's be honest” (as an old-coworker of mine was prone to say, even when he was blowing smoke), the kitchen is the lifeblood of the house, or flat in our case. Rather it is the heart that keeps the domesticity pumping through our lives. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Even more so in Europe, the kitchen serves to provide the place where food is kept, meals are made, dishes are washed, laundry is done, and water is heated--both for household use and home heating purposes, but more on that later.

While at first glance our kitchen looks like it is nice and roomy (and it really is one of the larger kitchens we found in our accommodation search), with lots of storage. Closer examination reveals all the appliances one would normally find along the walls or even in a different room in the States, are, in fact “built-in” to the cupboards. The freezer, fridge, washing machine, and even hot water heater/boiler are all enclosed in the kitchen cupboards. Which leaves about 5 cupboards and some drawers for storage.

All the appliances are "built-in"
So though I am very glad we downsized so much prior to our leaving the States, I was accustomed to our larger kitchen with ridiculous storage.

This new flat of ours presents some organizational challenges. I told Z, “I'm good, but I don't know if I'm that good.” Referring to unpacking and finding a place for all of our things.

But that's just it, isn't it? “Things.” All the energy and money put in to move and unpack our things. I am not denying the need for nostalgia, saving the special. But for some things, it is better to take a digital picture, then give it away, recycle it, or in some cases, just throw it away. I did that quite a lot over the last year. And now, I'm doing it again.  Because we simply don't have room for all our Things. Living out of 3 suitcases for 6 weeks really shows how well we can manage without so many Things.

But sadly, one of my most favorite of our Things, my big overstuffed red couch would simply not fit through the door into the apartment. The entryway is rather tight and try as they might, the movers could not get it to wedge into the hallway. So it sits, alone in the garage. Sniff sniff. Of all our furniture, besides our mattress, I was really looking forward to having that couch in our apartment. Would help it feel like “home.” Nonetheless, one more Thing to let go of and figure out how to sell or give away in England.

Z's old couch, on the other hand, did finally fit.  Afterwards, I wondered to myself, "why did I show the movers how to fit it through?  I really don't like that old couch.  I could have had a new chic one from IKEA instead."  If I'd just gone along with it when the head mover said it simply wouldn't fit through the door (to be fair, it was pretty well wedged in the door frame at the time, but I had to go and show them how to move it just so, and it fit through).  Silly me.

Sorting and making purge piles
On another note, my back has improved quite a lot over the past week. Still hurts now and then, but am able to work around the flat mostly as usual and even walked into town to buy a clothes“rail” to install in the hall closet. Took a bit of searching around, but I finally found a metal rail, the brackets, and screws. All sold separately at Wilkinson in the Town Centre.

Our regular broadband internet is scheduled to be installed next Wednesday. Only a few more days of the pay as you go hourly internet, for which I have to call tech support almost every evening as the voucher keeps freezing. They're very nice, those tech support people. Though I would prefer to talk with them a bit less frequently.

This week I also drove in England for the first time. Opposite side of the road, opposite side of the car driver's seat, and left-hand manual stick shift (that is rather temperamental to boot). Z will be travelling on business for a couple of weeks in October, so there's no time like the present to get my feet wet learning how to get around in our car. Or at least how to drive to the grocery store.

Fresh meat, dairy, fruits and veggies delivered
right to my door. 

Though I can have those delivered for about 5 GBP. It is a wonderful perk of living here. I browse online through all the items available in the grocery store, put what I want into a virtual basket, choose a delivery window, check out, and the next day all my groceries are brought right to my door. Not just the main building door, but up the stairs to my flat. I can even specify on my order that I want 5 barely yellow bananas, and that's what I'll receive. It's quite wonderful.

Back to culling our things.



  1. Aw, I'm sorry about the red couch. I liked it, too!

  2. Getting rid of excess things is definitely difficult, but you'll probably find that life is MUCH less stressful after you pare down.