And yet again, without meaning to, I have not been blogging.
Actually nothing much is going on here apart from the everyday, ordinary stuff and it can be hard to create a blog out 'oh I sat in the garden and what a beautiful day it was'.
However some things have happened.
I have refurbished the pantry. Well I call it the pantry; in fact it is a brick out building between the kitchen and what was the outside loo and is now our outside odds and ends shed and was probably originally a tool shed. It also has the entrance to the old coal hole which extends behind the ex loo.
Pantry on the left and ex loo on the right.
Internal entrance to the coal hole, where we keep bags of kindling, my treadle sewing machine which Jean-Luc is going to renovate at 'some point in the future' - ahem and the obligatory bag of coal.
This is where the external entrance to the coal hole would have been, you can see the old lintel just above the air brick. It's obviously been bricked up at some time but originally there would have been a wooden door here so the coal man could deliver his coal here without needing access to the shed interior. Cleaner, as any coal dust remained outside and more secure for the household.
So when we moved in we inherited this lovely space that I claimed as my pantry. After the first initial cleanout I've done little more with it than brush and sweep it out. It's been a plan of mine to paint it and give it a fresh start but somehow it's never quite reached the top of the list. It's dark and dingy but keeps a very good even temperature and has bags of potential.
Things came to a head this spring when after a very wet winter we noticed the door and front walls were rotting (a previous and in my opinion, idiotic, owner had replaced the original brick wall with wood) . Jean-Luc did his usual carpentry magic and replaced them both but that left the interior covered with dust and sawdust.
So faced with the need to drag everything out and clean it down it seemed an prime time to bite the bullet and paint the pantry.
I didn't touch anything above the beams or on the ceiling as they are covered by dubious wiring. Rewiring the place is another future project but that really has to wait.
The rest of it I painted in simple magnolia; mind you it took 2 coats of undercoat and two coats of emulsion and in total five - yes Five! days of painting to finish the place. Painting old brickwork is no fun and the quick coat of undercoat a previous owner has slapped on was no base for neat paintwork.
Had we limitless money I might have had it plastered or tiled in lovely old Victorian public toilet style tiles, but we don't so I didn't. I painted the shelves a lovely 'Putting Green' green and left the pine shelves alone - by that time I'd had my fill of wielding a brush.
Another couple of days of bottle and jar washing and everything was back in place.
The before and after photos were both taken in the same glorious light conditions we've been enjoying but the transformation is amazing. It looks clean!
I am ridiculously thrilled with it and keep popping in to look at it.
It holds all my bulk house hold cleaning buys like Ecover washing liquid and loo cleaner; my supplies for making soap, laundry liquid, balms and the finished products and all my preserves and jars. The big cupboard on the right is my store cupboard where I intend to store bulk buys of food staples. Gods forbid there is an apocalypse and I run out of coffee! No I'm not a prepper.
It also holds our overflow freezer and the lovely cheese safe Jean-Luc made me.
All I need now is to make some cheese.....
ps the reason I am so thrilled with my pantry is because this below was my pantry at the old house - some shelves crammed into the passage between the bedroom (left), spare room (right) and the bathroom (where the photo is taken from).
I love having a pantry. I love having somewhere I store the things I've made that benefit our household. I love looking at my shelf of jars and preserves and knowing that we have homemade, tasty yumminess over the winter and we have made the best of surplus fruit and veggies. I love the security and peace of mind it gives me and the pleasure I get from doing it.
On a cold, wet day when nothing seems to go right, I can step through the door look around and think I did this.
And it's a damned sight more fulfilling than filling in grant forms or writing reports.