Achieved so far today




No cyanide in the roots, Armers?
Well done!
Soo xx


Gosh Soo, no. I’d not want the Surprising Mrs. Shanks to be having access to cyanide. That wouldn’t be a good thing at all.


S’a bleedin’ Triffid!


House refurb. update #3

Well. The lights are up on the ceiling. New light switches fitted. Got rid of the f****** ‘uplighters’ we’ve had for years giving poor light, collecting flies and being near impossible to change bulbs. I’m a happy boy tonight.

Finished decorating the hall, porch & bathroom. Start the lounge on Monday. Internal doors ordered. Carpets a week on Wednesday.

By 3 or so weeks the “only” thing left will be the kitchen & it can wait till 2018 it can.


I shall look forward to hearing all about it. (In marked contrast to the last kitchen saga we had to suffer)


It’s all sounding good. Uplighters are a pain, as I know…


God, I do admire the family resilience. I’d be climbing the walls by now. It must be brilliant to see the end of Phase 1 in sight.


Aaah Marj. But the family is me and the Surprising Mrs. The 2 juniors live away.

Mrs. is a prevaricator of the first order and can delay matters by confusion or adding a sudden element as surely as firing a torpedo at a cruise liner. So I took the matter by the scruff of the neck, devised a “project plan” … and here we are.

The first active steps were taken week 4 of March. The last of phase 1 should be week 3, or 4 of September. 6 full months.

We have discovered new “needs” (as in her surprising desire to change all the internal doors !). We still have to locate a new garage door. Then there is the kitchen. We have identified the winning entry. We know which hob & ovens we will have. But it will be an event. Joe will enjoy my travails. I shall enjoy having a new 6 ring hob with griddle plate. We both look forward to an oven which has a door which guzzunder. I will very much enjoy losing a microwave we gained as a wedding present off my grandmother in 1981. The bloody thing simply won’t break. There has never been any reason to be rid if it. It’s the size of an old Mini. (Not a new Mini which appear to match the old Volvo estates for scale and are, surely, “against the Trades Descriptions Act”.)

Most of all it’s an opportunity to throw things away. Not a strength of Mrs. Shanks. She has been known to liberate items I’ve managed to get actually into the bin. I now dispose of things by stealth … moving them out of sight for a month or two. If not queried after during that time it can go to the tip … not our bin for reasons already mentioned. If asked after that I have perfected an unknowing and rather vague manner.

I’m attacking the garden meanwhile. The laurel root was just the start. Today I halved the height and width of a hawthorne tree. True, I now have so many scratches it looks like I wrestled with a Spinning Jenny. She can be difficult can Jenny. Though me atop an A-frame ladder with my extendable lopper was quite a sight. A man waving his extendable lopper around his garden in free abandon is not something to dismiss lightly, believe me. A delivery of gravel, to re-establish some paths we have now rediscovered, is due.

After what totals 14 years school fees and then what adds up to 10 years at Uni had us putting off doing things to the house so I am rather enjoying this. The homestead had become the “sad one on the street” and I constantly expected a baying mob of our neighbours arriving with pitchforks and torches chanting “sort your house out Shanks”.


I do admire your planning, execution and focus. Please don’t let The Surprising Mrs Shanks torpedo the Seabourn Odyssey, ED still has Antarctica to add to her collection of continents whilst maître d’ing. The very best of luck to you in your soon to be completed Phase 1. As for the planned kitchen, TV cookery progs have done an impressive job in selling gazunderring ovens. Who could live without one?


The Amazing Mrs Shanks is a woman to be admired, it rather sounds like her refusal to part with the 1980’s microwave has gained her a new kitchen :grinning: It worked for me too, I wouldn’t part with my huge white 1980’s microwave on the grounds that ‘they don’t make them this size anymore Darling’ Lord Susan then hatched a cunning plan, a kitchen that would not match the offending microwave so I would be ‘forced’ to get rid of it. Bless him, he still thinks the new kitchen was his idea :grinning::grinning:


We men DO know, y’know.

It’s a bit Kursaal Fliers tbh.


Well Armers, you know, we know you know but pretend we don’t :grinning: That way we all feel pretty pleased with ourselves :grinning: I’m certainly very happy with my new kitchen even if I was a little sad to see my 1980’s microwave go but the American style fridge freezer and the wine chiller lessened my grief :grinning:


I can endorse that; I have certainly benefited from that very same wine chiller.


Our oven is cunningly fitted (by the previous owner, Mr DIY Badly) so that the downward-tending door will not actually open, because when it has got about half-way down the right-hand edge of it jams against a wall. I doubt that a door which guzzunder would work; pity, that.

I am full of admiration for all these improvements of yours, Armers.


I think that this Noo oven is of the Neff ‘Hide & Slide’ variety , as featured on GBBO



[quote=“Carinthia, post:378, topic:50”]I think that this Noo oven is of the Neff ‘Hide & Slide’ variety[/quote]Indeed it is Carinthia m’dear.

It means the capacity is slightly reduced but we plan to keep the double oven we bought from the foetus in John Lewis’. The one whereby his throat was theoretically ripped out and he was disembowelled just by a Surprising Look from la Shanks. So will have 3 ovens, which is showing off to be fair.

The NuHob is a Neff too. (Neff T27CS59S0 75cm Gas Hob Black Glass if interested).

I have long wanted an “American fridge” but am moving toward others as the long admired ice-making & chopping thingie seems to eat space. Still, this is all to come. Ideas are invited.


The cooker at Carinthia Towers is an old-fashioned gas cooker with double oven & eye-level grill

I mostly use the smaller oven unless feeding the Darlings

There is a microwave too

Here at Carinthia Towers by the Lake there is a double 'Lectric hotplate with which one has to be very careful, as the Bluddy 'Lectric trips

I also have a small gas barbecue which was given to us as a gift by Visiting Germans -haven’t used it for years, but when I used to have lots of people round for this 'ere Indian Feast*, was very useful

*It was a pleasure to cook for people who enjoyed trying something different,& that they would never get here. People have, over the years been so wonderful to us that it was a nice way of saying ‘Thank-you’

I would cook 2 different types of curry the night before , a friend would chop onions & cook the potatoes for Bombay Potatoes, another would cook the rice, & I would fry the Poppadums

We would push 3 tables together, & start with Poppadums & Pickles which I had brought with me - there could be up to 15 of us , all very relaxed, Thank God, as it’s no good fretting about timings under those circumstances

2 crates of Beer would appear, & then the empties were taken away afterwards

Hey Ho

Just for a change, we are in the midst of a cracking thunderstorm…

I haven’t got an American 'fridge, but Very Good Friends of mine have, & I have to say that the ice-making chopping thingy is great, & that one is encouraged to drink more water as there is always a chilled glassful ‘on tap’,azzitwere.
You would prolly be wise to have a separate freezer as well, though

It all sounds lovely, & I am really pleased for you

I did light a Candle for that poor child in JL…



I love my American style fridge freezer but I went for the chilled water version rather than the ice cube maker/crusher as I too felt it compromised the freezer space. If I have high volume ice cube users I make extra up in advance and everyone is happy, they have ice cubes and I have the freezer space that the ice maker would have taken up :grinning:


We have a freezer as well as the American fridge-freezer which the previous owner left behind; he had plumbed it in and taking it back out would have been more trouble than it was worth, so we gave him £100 for it. So we have the ice-cube maker and a small freezer-space, but room in the drawers of the freezer we brought with us for soups and stews and so on. Particularly so on. And the special offers and things from the use-by shelves, and frozen Chinese supermarket dumplings of all sorts, and sausages and burgers for the barbecues, and occasionally half a hogget.