Writing under stress…

Writing (or not) without a kitchen…

I moved into my present flat four years ago. At the time it seemed perfect but, as happens to all of us, I wanted to rip out the kitchen and have something that worked better for me. More storage…

Clearly I could do nothing during lockdown, but in January this year I took myself off to one of those vast out of town warehouses. I picked up a catalogue then, drawing a deep breath – and an even bigger chunk of money from my bank account – sat with Michelle, who took me through the exciting process of buying a new kitchen. (This picture is utter fantasy – I think my entire flat would fit into this!)

Starting from Scratch

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I was going back to the bare walls, so there was the choice of oven (yes, I chose the one that cleaned itself!) and a space age hob. It was only later that I discovered I was going to need new pans for something that modern and my mother’s beautiful stainless steel pans were gratefully received by my daughter (who has a gas hob that isn’t fussy). There was a much needed new fridge/freezer and I went for a smaller dishwasher and sink so that I could fit in an extra cupboard. (Needless to say, this picture is also a fantasy!)

Then there were the worktops. Hyperventilating at the cost of some of them, I eventually made my decision.

Tiles, lighting…

Now we wait…

Image by Alina Kuptsova from Pixabay

Eventually, all was chosen. The money exited my account. The bad news – I was going to have to wait until May for it to be installed. And there was a bit of a question mark in Michelle’s voice which suggested she was being optimistic. She was. I finally got a date for the end of June.

Eventually the time came and I packed the contents of my kitchen into boxes. By the time I was done, my study was knee deep with china, glass and an unbelievable number of cache pots for plants that I found lurking in the cupboard I’d forgotten about at the top of the fridge.

There was stuff I hadn’t seen since I moved.

Stuff that I wondered why I had bothered to bring with me. The charity shop did well.

Writing in a bunker equals writing under stress…

It wasn’t the just the contents of the cupboards. There were bookshelves, pictures, a mirror, furniture, the clock made for me by my husband. By this time all I had was a corridor to my desk.

Bad news. I got the call to say that they couldn’t deliver the fridge/freezer I’d ordered. Could I come and choose another one? Back to the out of town warehouse where I discovered that the new choice might be delayed, too (it wasn’t) and good news, I didn’t have to pay the extra cost for a more expensive version.

And yes, I was trying to write while all this was happening. Cue hollow laughter.

The day arrived…

My dining table, now in the living room, was loaded with my microwave, toaster and kettle and I bought a washing up bowl so that I could do the dishes in the bathroom. Oh, joy…

On the Sunday night, I turned off the fridge but I had bought a box of little uht milk pots from Lakeland and waited for Monday and the arrival of Andy. On Tuesday – yes he was delayed, too – my Greek yogurt and frozen cherries breakfast became a distant memory.

Now I was without a cooker, sink, fridge or dishwasher. The good news/bad news is that I have a really good fish and chip shop and a KFC within walking distance.

I ate a lot of toast. With scrambled egg, with sardines, with Marmite, with mushrooms and tomatoes…

Focus: is writing under stress a good thing after all?

The good news was that with the living room sofa out of reach, I couldn’t fritter away writing time reading or watching re-runs of crime series on the television.

I was confined to my desk – literally, since I had the contents of my kitchen in boxes taking up most of the floor. It wasn’t fun, but it did keep me focussed on the work in progress and despite the thumping, drilling, sawing, progress was made. More of that in a later blog.

Andy told me that the new pendant lights for the dining area hadn’t arrived. Michelle told me that “someone” had sent me an email in January to say they were no longer available. I didn’t get it, and no one had bothered to follow up the fact that I hadn’t replied. (Eye twitch.) I was refunded and an alternative solution was found.

Andy was brilliant and this is the result of all his hard work. My sleek new kitchen. Which now needs redecorating.

Rinse and repeat: more writing under stress to come…

I’ll be going through all this again in a couple of weeks – only with more furniture and books – when Allen arrives to redecorate not only the kitchen, but the dining and living room. Not so much noise, or stuff to be taken away to be recycled and the fridge is available for fresh milk, but there will be the smell of paint.

I still haven’t made up my mind about the colour. So far it’s a toss up between Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground and Pale Hound (although that looks very different on the FB site – it looks pale green on the colour card). I’m off to buy a test pot. And return the overorder of tiles.

I’ll keep you posted.


Liz Fielding


6 thoughts on “Writing under stress…

  1. Sarah

    Very stressful, Liz, but worth it, seeing your new kitchen. It looks gorgeous. And it proves you CAN work under stress – well, of course. You are a professional after all. Glad it’s all worked out, and the decorating will be a doddle I’m sure!

  2. Elizabeth Bailey

    I does look amazing, though I must say the whole thing sounds like nightmare city. I love the pink ground colour, but then I’m a bit of a pink fanatic. Good on you managing to write through all that.

  3. Liz Post author

    Thanks so much, Liz. I actually went for Pale Powder pink in the end, which is lighter and reflects the light better. So happy with the result.

    1. Joanna

      I think it looks fabulous, Liz. Much fine cuisine to come out of it, I fancy. Most of us would have stressed out and said we couldn’t possibly write with all that going on. Pro that you are, you just got on with it. Respec’ ma’am.

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