"He showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut,...
I thought: What can this be? I was amazed that it could last,...I thought because of its littleness, it would suddenly have fallen into nothing. ,...
It lasts and always will, because God loves it; and thus everything has being through the love of God."
Julian of Norwich
Despite the weather forecasters' promise there would be no more snow today,
we awoke to see the mesmerising flakes already weaving their swirling warp and weft
into a deeper pile for the white carpet underfoot.
We hummed and hawed a bit,
then headed out to morning communion as we regularly do midweek.
The church's ageing heating system chugged away in the background
barely denting the cold.
Still it was good to be with the community of believers.
Good to meet around the sacraments,
the central presence which draws us together.
Good to catch up with each other over coffee,
then help set up for mums and toddlers
before emerging again into
the cold pale world.
We have got rather hooked on an afternoon programme called Escape to the Country.
The irony of watching people who have way more money than the average
to spend on a move to their dream house in the country,
when the cost and availability of housing in the U.K.
is causing a sharp increase in homelessness isn't lost on us.
Still I have to admit for sheer escapism on a dreary winter's day,
it's hard to beat seeing inside beautiful homes
set in some of the loveliest countryside there is.
Despite seeming mostly overcome with enthusiasm about each house
of the three houses per show they are shown around,
few of the couples actually find anything they want to follow through on.
The inadequacy of the kitchen seems to loom large as a reason to be disappointed.
It can be as large as a small ballroom,
as cosy as a mitten,
as well appointed as one could wish,
but if there is going to be a sticking point this is often where it will be.
I have just cleared our own kitchen of all the bits and pieces
accumulated over the holidays,
so that the working surfaces could be clutter free,
and the whole place gleaming.
First thing to say is our kitchen being minuscule
clearing the working surfaces gets to be a necessity sooner than in many kitchens
so it's no real Herculean task to have a tidy up;
and secondly, lest you should think me a slut,
it wasn't far off gleaming, - honest.
You can see how small it is, by these views from the doorway in the hall.
These are the tiny work surfaces each side of the cooker,
and these are the tiles I painted and fired
to put above the cooker.
The caption used to say
"Hospitality consists of a little warmth, a little food,
and a great silence.
- well two out of three isn't so bad!"
(Up to the dash I was probably miss-quoting Emerson),
but hubby doesn't always share my sense of humour
so I drilled the bottom couple of lines out
and replaced them with plain tiles
which left an unfortunate comma hanging, as you can see.
These two of my abstract paintings are hanging on the narrow wall by the door
to give an illusion of more width than the kitchen actually has,
but I may be being optimistic there.
Looking back towards the hallway there is just our fridge/freezer on the one side,
(The hall isn't really that sickly green,
and that's hubby's jacket flung over the the banister you can see.
He leaves it there despite the cloaks cupboard being an arm's breadth away,
but we won't go there. Or he won't.
Am I beginning to sound like a harpy yet?)
On the other side of the kitchen door is the tea and toast corner.
I banished the tea and coffee pots to the cupboard in my clear up
because they were rarely used in this day of tea bags and freeze dried coffee.
I can turn around and reach the milk out of the fridge on the other side of the room
without moving my feet.
I thought you may enjoy my fridge magnets as much as I do.
The "complete idiot" one makes me laugh every time I see it,
which of course isn't every time I look at it;
but I mustn't start on what really seeing means or I will be here all day.
That, and this "Special Auntie" one were given to me by the same person;
a niece who knows me only too well!
The cheerful ferry tickets are souvenirs
brought back for us from one of our favourite holiday spots
by one of our granddaughters.
This is a card and an older ferry ticket, and sent by our other granddaughter.
You can guess which one of these my daughter bought.
So there you have it.
All in all the kitchen is just about 9' x 6 '/ just under 3 metres x 2 metres.,
and I admit to sighing longingly when I see spacious kitchens on the T.V.
My preference would be a large and comfy farmhouse kitchen .
The sort with wide chairs clustered around a large table.
The hub of the home, where folks could gather with tea cups and cake tin.
A warm comfortable place, giving the chance to be heard, and to listen,
like some of the kitchens of my childhood.
The only space to sit in our kitchen is this stool in front of the fridge/freezer.
My guests have to sit just there if we want to continue to talk while I make tea or cook.
When I need something from the fridge they have to stand up
and move aside for me to get it.
But as I look at it now, I remember just a few of the confidences
shared back and forth in this little corner.
I think of some of the laughs too.
The poor friend who ended up with potato peelings over her feet
because I was laughing so much as I prepared our meal.
I remember Christmas cakes my granddaughters used to make,
(one each of course),
that each year had a different agreed theme, but two different interpretations,
then scraping the coloured icing sugar off the working tops afterwards.
I remember the times I regularly cooked Sunday dinner for eight or ten
gathered at our table,
and never imagined it would ever be different.
At this moment there is a gelatine plate sitting on a working top
waiting for my first attempt at gelatin printing.
(No, it isn't a new delicacy)
That's our variation on a cuppa for the odd evening you can see sitting behind.
Mine is the Italian red.
I'd still like that dream kitchen,
of course I would,
but next time I'm "Oohing" and "Awing" over those dream kitchens
in the fabulous homes on the T.V.
I'll be a little more mindful of how much
our own little kitchen has blessed us,
and be thankful instead of envious or dis-satisfied.
included a few clips from the South Wales valleys.
Unexpectedly hearing the accents of my home valleys,
I found myself inunbidden tears and wondered why.
Even after forty years living
away from my place of birth,
with good friends and sweet kindness
from many parts of the world,
it is these voices that pull at my heart.
The land itself, above the terraced towns
as you can see
but it is the people,
ah, the people who are my home.
Of course they are not perfect,
How could I have had a place among them if they were?
When all is said and done though,
it is from them I first learned to love.
And to forgive.
P.S. Hiraeth is the Welsh for homesickness
P.P.S I do apologise that comments you may be making on Disqus, and my own replies, are not getting published. I am trying to rectify the problem but so far with no success, but do know I appreciate your kindness and encouragement.