Middle Class Problems: Our kitchen is still a building site - when will we get to finally use our Smeg hob?

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It should all have been over by Christmas: old units out, one little wall down, panoramic windows into the garden, ash cupboards (custom-made, because honestly, it's cheaper in the long run), marble worktop, bish bash bosh – an informal supper party at the sit-up island to celebrate and then bang a turkey the size of Emu into the new range come Boxing Day get-together.

Trouble is, it is now nearly September. The marble worktop is still only a twinkle in the eye of a quarryman in Tuscany; the cupboards are in, but they lack doors; the panoramic window gives on to a heap of rubble; and the fridge has been temporarily installed in the hall since March.

What was once envy – "Your plans look amaaazing" – on the part of friends, has turned into shock and awe. "You mean they still haven't finished?"

No one in this household has had a home-cooked meal for 11 months, unless you count scrambled egg in the microwave, and it's all taken so long that the paint manufacturers have discontinued Dull Thud.

There was a moment when it was tempting to show who's boss, tell Eric and his Vikings to leave, and ask that nice, polite Jacek who did No 23 to come in and quote for the rest of the job. But all the stuff is ordered through Eric, and it's just too much hassle.

Better to stick it out – on the strict understanding that no one will be allowed to so much as run a tap without permission when the job is finished, let alone use the Smeg hob.

If they're hungry? Well, they can just hop along to Leon.

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