Our kitchen is not large. Neither is it exactly small.
There is no room for a table and chairs, even tucked into a handy
corner, but we do have a breakfast bar where, on cold, winter mornings, you can sit, toasty-warm, right next to the radiator. I used to love that, in those days long ago when I was a Working Gal and needed a bit of comfort over my breakfast bowl before heading
off into the Great Outdoors.
There are lots of cupboards in our kitchen – but most of them cunningly house appliances such as the fridge, the washing machine
and the dish-washer. There is, therefore, a distinct shortage of storage. When all the doors are open at the same time – for example, when (multi-tasker that I am) I am emptying the dish-washer, filling the washing machine and searching in
the fridge for the red-topped milk for my coffee, there is little actual space for manoeuvre.
I realise that I am beginning to sound a bit like an estate agent,
albeit a brutally honest one, so I need to get the point of this blog. What’s that, I hear someone saying, when did I ever need there to be something as specific as a point, when it comes to the Daily Blog? OK, OK, it’s a fair cop.
What started me thinking about my kitchen was the Daily Breakfast Ritual. Mr B gets up hours earlier than I do – but for some reason he waits until I am up and
rummaging about in the cupboards for a sachet of Oats So Simple sweet cinnamon flavour porridge, or the last Shredded Wheat, or a new packet of Special K, before he wanders out into the kitchen to start making his breakfast too. Why, I seethe inwardly, couldn't
he have done this earlier? I switch the kettle on, he switches it off again because he says it needs more water in it. We both move simultaneously towards the microwave, our breakfast bowls in our hands. We look like two little Oliver Twists
demanding gruel. There is, however, only room for one bowl at a time in the microwave. Who will take priority – He Who Has Been Up For Hours or me who has timed my breakfast to perfection? Occasionally (just occasionally) a Cross Word is exchanged.
Mostly we just huff and puff at each other.
It’s the same story when it comes to cooking our lunch and our dinner. I am always trying to lay the table,
requiring access to cupboards and cutlery drawers, while Mr B is slaving over a hot stove and getting in my way. Which isn't quite fair, it would be more accurate to say that we are always getting in each other’s way, there is no innocent
party here. Sometimes we both set out the plates for our meal. Mr B will have set two plates out on the draining board while I will have set another two plates on the kitchen surface next to the kettle. How we both managed to access the plate cupboard
without realising what the other was doing is yet another Kitchen Mystery. Like the Disappearance of the Salt and Pepper Pots, the Lost Kitchen Knife and the Wine Glasses Which Need Washing Up Because They Were Left Out Of The Dishwasher Last Time Round.
How do these things happen? How is it that other people have well-ordered kitchens? Do we, indeed, need an island? (I am talking about those islands, much loved by kitchen designers these days, not the desert island types. Though there have been
times, I am sure, when exile to a desert island holds its attractions for Mr B...)
This week things have taken a turn for the better. Without ever actually discussing
the matter we have both started to dance around each other in the kitchen. We stop, look and listen before we cross from breakfast bar to microwave. We step back and wait to see whither the other one is heading before barging on our own sweet way.
We don’t quite bow and curtsy to each other but there is a certain courtliness to our manner and movements. We look for all the world like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy in that famous dance scene in the Pride and Prejudice film, where neither says
a word but both are acutely aware of each other’s presence.
These Regency dances, I understand, required calculation and cunning as well as a certain snake-hipped quality. That accurately sums
up Mr B and me, circling each other warily as we negotiate the Breakfast Ritual.
I didn’t mention, did I, that our kitchen, somewhat unusually, is at
the front of our house? Any casual passers-by, gazing in at our kitchen window on their way to school or work or wherever, will wonder what on earth we are up to, as we dance genteely around each other in ever increasing circles.
Being likened to Mr Darcy should please Mr B. It’s not as if I am expecting him to swim across a lake and emerge, dripping wet, at my swooning side.
I won't absolutely insist on the snake-hips either...