A Quickie: Kitchens, and John Hegley

Today has been very exciting but also horribly revolting. We have left school behind us – hooray! – and are rediscovering our house, which we let as a holiday cottage during the term time.

Daughter has a room in the roof of an octagonal room. It’s great for a kid, but over the past year we have filled it up with more and more junk as we chuck everything up there when clearing the house ready for the next guest.

Last time I looked up there (it’s usually locked with a trapdoor) I noticed crushed up pasta everywhere (??) and some little black dots all over the white floor. ‘Wonder what that is?’ I thought to myself as I threw another box up there containing last bits of jam/peanut butter/ pasta and ketchup we hadn’t used over the holiday.

As we are here for three weeks I thought I’d have a good clear out up there so Daughter can have her own room rather than having to share with Son who IS NOT HAPPY about sharing with Daughter.

Turns out those little black dots were mouse poo. As I started to clear her room I found more and more deposits, pretty much under everything. Jesus, it was everywhere. They had also managed to chew through every princess dress Daughter owns – and she had a lot of them.

Euuurggh it was disgusting and I got through five changes of clothes as I was covered in cobwebs and mouse poo fragments. After clearing everything away and chucking anything with tooth marks I was left with a clear floor. I bleached it to within an inch of its life, mopped it twice, wiped it down and mopped it again.

I then has to deal with daughter, who spotted a Tinkerbell wing poking out of a bin bag and all hell broke loose.

A more exciting, and less unhygienic, part of the day was we finally started our journey towards installing a new kitchen/sitting room. We had our beautiful new wood burning stove brought into the house. Unfortunately, it poured with rain all day so they couldn’t finish it, but at least it’s in the right room!

It’s a beast, but I love it, and it’s in a gorgeous charred red. You can check it out here, It’s from a company in Wales and it has a little stove at the top (for wood fired pizzas) and a top you can put a kettle on.


Here is is just after they brought it in. It’s so heavy the fitters had to sit down for a bit and were gasping for so long I thought they were going to have a heart attack.

Rob, meanwhile, was getting really concerned about how close the hearth was going to be to the wall. So he decided to start knocking it out. Luckily, he spent 20 years working with his lovely Dad, who was a builder, and he knows what he was doing. I could tell he was just ITCHING to get smashing with a hammer. Here are some pictures.

You can see it’s a just started, during and after. He needs to fill it in and plaster, but you get the idea. I’m so pleased, it’s opened the room up brilliantly; look at the sun stretching across the floor – never seen that before.

Can’t wait to get the stove going tomorrow – fingers crossed it doesn’t rain.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to write about John Hegley – the British – poet for ages. I’ve been reading some of his poems recently and they never fail to cheer me up. Here are some of my favourites. I’m not going to explain them, they don’t need explaining. Just enjoy.

Grandmother’s Glasses

my grandmother used to say

before you moan

about the muck on someone else’s glasses

make sure you’re not on about the muck on your own


her glasses were filthy.


On Bonfire Night

On bonfire night

seeing a wigwam of planks

being burnt

and concerned

about its future

the nearby fence

looks tense.


An Owner’s Complaint

I’ve got a dog that’s more like a carrot

than a dog.

It’s hairy,

but only very slightly,

it has no personality to speak of,

no bark to bark of,

no head,

no legs,

no tail,

and it’s all orange

and crunchy


The Price of Art in Luton

On the bridge approaching the railway,

the man was begging.

I said draw me a dog

and I’ll give you a quid.

So I gave him some paper

and he did.

And I said, there you go, mate,

you can make money out of art!

Will you sign it?

As I handed him the one pound thirty-odd

I had in my pocket,

he informed me that the signed ones were a fiver.

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