What I read in April 2019

Hello! It’s the second Tuesday of the month, which means it’s SHow Us Your Books time again with lovely hosts Jana and Steph. I read 14 books in April and it’s a real mixed bag – everything from classics to children’s mysteries and even a a spy novel, which is normally so not my thing. Let’s get to the reviews, shall we?

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The Last Chance Hotel by Nicki Thornton. Seth is a kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel. His dad used to be head chef there, until he left apparently under a cloud of suspicion, leaving Seth trapped until he’s old enough to set out on his own. His only chance of escape is to become a famous chef as well. One night a group of special guests turn up at the hotel, who turn out to be magicians participating in a selection procedure to determine the most magical people in the world. Seth finally has the chance to prove himself by making Dr. Thallonius the best-tasting dessert of his life. But then the professor dies and the dessert is blamed – how can Seth prove he’s innocent? This is a wonderful book! Spooky and magical with a murder mystery for good measure. And there’s a fantastic talking cat. I was a little annoyed by Seth’s inability to stand up for himself, but there are some revelations at the end that I hope will make things better in that respect in book two. 4.5 stars.

The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. When the four Stanley children meet Amanda, their new stepsister, they’re amazed to find she dresses in strange costumes, carries a crow in a cage and claims to be a witch. Before long, she decides to make the children her “neophytes” and introduce them to the world of witchcraft. Then strange things start happening in their old farmhouse and it’s not long before they discover that the house was supposed to have been haunted long ago. Is the poltergeist back or is there another explanation for all the strange goings on? This a fun mystery with just the right amount of spookiness for a children’s book. Even though it was written in 1971, it doesn’t seem to outdated – other than the kids being left home alone while their parents go into town, etc. But maybe that actually still happens in areas as isolated as the setting for this book. I would have loved this book as a child! 4 stars.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. When Tess Durbeyfield’s father finds out by chance that they’re descendants of the old aristocratic  D’Urberville family, he encourages her to make use of the connection and try to claim a share of the wealth for the rest of the family. But Alec d’Urberville turns out to be a rich scoundrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is finally offered a chance at true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice. I really enjoyed this – although “enjoyed” seems a bit mean for such a tragedy. Poor Tess is surrounded by good-for-nothing idiot men. And I include her father in that. She just could not seem to catch a break. As classics go, the language in this one is actually very readable and Hardy managed not to spend pages and pages on pointless descriptions (as in Far From the Madding Crowd were her spent three pages describing a barn!). Victorian double standards make me angry, but the book is good. 5 stars.

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton. First of all, thank you to Steph (yes, as in the host of this very link-up) for reminding me of the existence of The Gutenberg Project, which is where I found this book and was thus able to read it for free. I love the TV series so the book had been on my wish list for a while. This is basically a series of short stories all featuring the priest, Father Brown solving various mysteries. Chesterton was a contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; interestingly, if I hadn’t known this book was published in 1911 (and there weren’t references to 18–) I would have put it more in the era of Agatha Christie in terms of language. It’s still quite readable over 100 years after it was published. I like the TV series better but the book was still a fun read. 3.5 stars.

The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard. Alice has acquired brain injury after an assault four years ago. Since then, to put it in her own words, “her electrics have been broken”. Her speech is slow and slurred and she has fits. She writes poems to express all the things she cannot say. She lives with her grandmother, who is sick, and her brother Joey, who looks after her but is also growing up and, just maybe, away from Alice. Manny is from Sierra Leone. He seems to be adapting to life in his new country, but at night he runs to try and escape the demons of his past. One night, he sees Alice sitting on the roof of her home and finds one of her poems. This book is beautiful and heart-breaking. The narrative style is disconcerting at first, but once you get into it you stop noticing (or at least I did) and it really does represent the problems with Alice’s brain perfectly. Joey is a wonderful brother. Despite all the awful things that have happened to both Alice and Manny, I’m really glad I read this book. Plus, it has a pretty cover. 4 stars.

Oktober Bend

 

Avalanche Express by Colin Forbes. A a high level Soviet official has been feeding the West intelligence for a number of years. Now he’s been found out and needs to be extricated to the US. With most of the airports in Europe closed due to snow storms, the only option is to take the Atlantic Express from Zurich all the way to Amsterdam. An armed team of British and Americans are on board to protect him, but there may be a double agent on board the train, and the Soviets will stop at literally nothing to kill the defector. Will anyone make it out alive? I acquired this ages ago when I needed a book set where I live for a challenge, but ended up reading a different one. Now I decided it was time to read it so it could leave my bookcase. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it – spy stories aren’t really my thing – but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s action-packed and thrilling right from the first page. It also helped that I am at least a little familiar with most of the places mentioned so it felt more “real”. 3.5 stars.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. After her father’s death, Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home to clean it out. In the process she discovers a shocking family secret – after a life time spent believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager, she now finds that she may not be dead after all. What made her go on the run all those years ago and which other secrets have been kept from Riley? This is a surprisingly quick read considering it’s over 300 pages – I started reading it in the bath and was shocked to find I’d read over half when I came out. It started off really well then it became kind of predictable – as soon as I read the words “she told her everything, even the things daddy didn’t know” I knew what the final outcome was going to be, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to read to the end and find out what happened to all the characters. Riley is annoying at times and the final few chapters read a bit like a soap opera with some really cheesy/dramatic dialogue. Along the lines of “one day you will get your comeuppance, but it won’t be me that causes it”. Nonetheless, I mostly enjoyed the ride. 3.5 stars.

A Singing Grave by Tim Wilson. Twelve years ago a little boy was taken from the camp site where he was staying with his parents and killed. Howard Gandy, a man from the village was convicted of the crime. Philip Springthorpe was one of the witnesses who helped secure this conviction, but to the shock of his daughter, Rebecca, he now reveals he lied. Investigative journalist Adam Dowling is running a campaign to have Gandy released and Philip’s new testimony could be the missing piece that will allow the case to go to appeal. But if Howard Gandy didn’t do it, then who did? I picked this up from a free public bookcase on a whim – I had never heard of the author but the description sounded good. It’s an interesting and suspenseful mystery. Parts are really creepy. At one point I thought I knew who the murderer was, but I was wrong. I’m not really sure what I think of the ending though. 3.5 stars for this one as well.

How Hard Can Love Be by Holly Bourne. Book two in the “Spinster Club” series. Amber’s off to America to spend the summer with her mother, who she hasn’t seen in two years. Even before her mum remarried and had a complete change of personality, she was never the caring type, but Amber is hoping an entire summer together will help them make up for lost time – especially since her step-mum and step-brother make her life a misery at home. In California she meets prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Could he really be interested in feminist, anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie advising and encouraging her from back home, Amber can’t escape the fact that love is hard! I really enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the first one. If I had read this first I’m sure I would have adored it, but I just loved Evie so much in the first book and Amber’s boy troubles seemed so insignificant compared with Evie’s mental health struggles. Sorry Amber! This isn’t just some shallow love story though – there are some deep issues with Amber’s mum being a recovering alcoholic and Amber’s feelings of abandonment. Her family situation really isn’t easy and I felt so sorry for her. And of course the girls still discuss feminism a lot. 4.5 stars. Lottie’s story next. I can’t wait!

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse. Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life with her family in her beautiful, expensive house. But then her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she knew unravels. Left alone with her two sons and eight million pounds worth of debt, Nina is forced to move back to a tiny flat on the estate where she grew up and begins to wonder whether she ever really knew Finn at all. This is an enjoyable enough read but it didn’t blow me away. At times the dialogue seemed somehow… I don’t know… off. Stilted maybe? Also, a few lucky coincidences lead to Nina’s struggles being over relatively quickly – the flat they end up in belongs to a relative and the previous tenants just happen to have moved out just in time, then after applying for job after job that she has no qualifications for, somebody decides to create a job especially for her after meeting her briefly, once, when she turned up asking for a job she obviously could not do. And apparently if she hadn’t pawned her belongings and found a job she and her boys would have immediately been out on the streets starving to death because child benefit and job centres are not things that exist? It’s not a terrible book by any means, but definitely not my favourite. 3 stars.

The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell. After their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to the hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her big brother Seb return home to find it’s been ransacked. Before long, a very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them . . . with a toilet brush. The two manage to escape, with a little help, but find themselves in an “uncommon” world, a secret underground city called Lundinor where ordinary objects can do extraordinary things – like belts that let you fly. They quickly discover that their family is connected to this amazing world. But evil forces are at large, and they’re convinced Ivy and Seb have something they want. The two need to uncover the family secret before it’s too late. I really liked this book. It’s charming and quirky. Parts of it reminded me of Un Lun Dun – the underground city that’s like the real world, but also not and the ordinary objects that aren’t so ordinary after all. My favourite character is actually a talking bicycle bell names Scratch! One thing that bothered me is Ivy is supposed to be 11 but she often seems much older – and not in a “mature for her age” way, but like there’s absolutely no way she can possibly be only 11. I did really like her but in my head she was much older than the book stated her to be. 4 stars.

Darkhouse by Alex Barclay. This book had been on my shelf for ages but I couldn’t remember whether I’d read it or not. Turns out I had – it just wasn’t very memorable. When a routine investigation ends in tragedy, Detective Joe Lucchesi takes leave from the NYPD  and moved with his wife and son to a quiet village in Ireland. When a young girl goes missing and the village closes ranks , Detective Lucchesi is determined to discover the truth and uncovers a sinister trail that leads right back to the other side of the Atlantic. This was an okay book. There are pretty much two storylines,  one of which is predictable while the other was confusing with too many characters. I don’t regret finishing it but I most likely won’t be continuing the series. 2.5 stars.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. In rural South Africa in the late 1930s, Peekay liveslived with Nanny (his wet nurse), his grandpa and his mother. When his mother has a break down he is sent to boarding school where he suffers horrific bullying by people who hate him for his heritage. After a while his family move home and he’s sent on a long train journey to reunite with them. Along the way he meets train conductor Hoppie Groenewald who introduces him to boxing and teaches him that little can best big,  resulting in Peekay resolving to become the Welterweight champion of the world. The story then follows Peekay for the rest of his childhood until early adulthood. I only read this because it’s on the BBC big read and had no expectations of it at all. In fact,  I put it off for ages. I ended up falling in love with little Peekay immediately and loving the book. A very unexpected 5 stars.

What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford. Twelve-year-old Ethel Leatherhead only wanted to get rid of her acne, not turn herself invisible. But that’s exactly what happened when she combined some dodgy Chinese medicine from the Internet with an old sun bed. At first being invisible is terrifying, but then she discovers it’s not so bad at all, as she tries to keep her new power a secret with the help of her friend Boydy. Meanwhile, Ethel’s Gran is acting strangely and Ethel herself (whose mum died when she was very young) is starting to question who she really is. Then one day the invisibility effect doesn’t wear off and Ethel finds herself in the middle of an adventure. This book is good but a little confusing. There are two stories – one with Ethel turning invisible and all the chaos that causes then a second one involving her family and secrets that have been kept from her – and the two things don’t really seem to relate to each other It felt like there was a disconnect between a fun, whimsical story on one hand and a more serious coming of age/self-discovery story on the other. It’s really well written, it just felt like I was reading two different stories that were both not quite satisfactory – the author would have done better to have stuck with one story, I think. It’s set in the North-East of England though so yay for that. 3.5 stars.

That is all for today. Check out the link up for more book talk. And let me know in the comments if you’ve read anything good lately or what you thought of any of the books I read in April if you’ve read them.

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“I don’t think that’s where the bath tub belongs”…

… and other tales from the building site.

Not much to tell you today, but I thought I’d update anyway. These photos were actually taken at the weekend and I didn’t get round to posting them, but there’s no visible difference today anyway so it’s fine.

Last week they put fire protection walls over the pipes in the bathrooms. I know they’re fire protection walls because they were standing outside our flat door the day before and that’s what the label on them said 😉 Then a few days later a shower tray (I assume) and bath tub appeared. The bath isn’t quite where it belongs yet though…

 

(I guess you can’t really tell from the photo, but the bath is literally in front of the door.)
Those black pipes that are just standing around in the picture on the left have gone now, although I’m not sure where…

The kitchen looks the same, so no photo. Although today they’ve removed some of the drawers and the cupboard thing (with bins attached) from under the sink, so it seems like today they’ve been doing things with the wiring, which is less dramatic/visible that other things but also important. Other than that a whole bunch of stuff has appeared in the corridor again… wall panels like the ones that went over the pipes in the kitchen and something that may be for the kitchen floor? I’m not sure. Hopefully that will all be getting installed somewhere tomorrow. We’ll see.

Also, we had a (literal) shit show with the temporary shower/toilet facilities at the weekend. I went down there on Saturday morning to find what I thought was water on the floor. Then I looked down the side of the container and… it was not just water. Jan called the construction manager who first claimed we weren’t supposed to be using the toilet since we have chemical ones (nope, not what we were told!) then blamed the residents for throwing things down there they shouldn’t have. Which makes no sense because it wasn’t blocked but clearly leaking/not attached properly. He then told us there was still one bathroom in the next door building that could be used… the water there was being switched off on Monday (as in today) but it could be used over the weekend. And he would send somebody to clean up the mess. So I got to shower in a real bathroom again over the weekend and this morning. I’ll be back using the temporary shower tomorrow though (at 5 a.m. since I also have to go into the office tomorrow. Ugh.). Five more sleeps until holiday…

A gathering of thoughts (and stuff)

Hello my lovelies. It’s time for another one of my “thoughts” posts, i.e. a list of random things that I want to say but that don’t necessarily merit a whole blog post of their own. The tag line of my blog is “just a place for me to gather my thoughts” so the occasional post like this seems fitting. Anyway…

  • The other day I bought myself a take-away hot drink in my lunch break. I felt bad about it but I was freezing and needed something warm (there is a coffee machine at the co-working space but 1) it’s a Nespresso machine and honestly those capsules are no better from the environment than disposal cups and 2) I wasn’t buying coffee). I was relieved/pleased when my drink duly arrived in a cup that claimed to be compostable. Yay! A couple of days later I went by the same place and saw a sign I’d missed the first time saying due to issues with littering they’re doing a test with compostable cups and customers can feel free to opt out and request an ordinary take-away cup. They seemed to have actually run out of the compostable ones that time so I didn’t buy anything. It’s good to know these things do exist though. Now if only all take-away places would start using them…
  • With all the construction going on, Jan and I have been eating out a lot. Two days ago we were walking home after dinner when we suddenly heard a miaowing in a place where no miaowing should be. At first we thought it was coming from a building that seems to be abandoned/under construction but then we realised it was actually below us and saw a kitty in a ventilation shaft/drain thing (not sure of its exact purpose) outside the building. Since it didn’t seem to want/be able to go back out the way it had come in, we called the fire brigade. Jan also took a photo in case it did manage to escape before the fire brigade got there.
    cat
    Kitty underground

    When the fire people pulled the gird up, it ran into another bit next to it then after they pulled that one up it went further down into the shaft. It ended up with two people from the fire brigade going down after it, following it all the way through a tunnel and ending up inside the building. They then looked all over the place but didn’t figure out where the cat had gone so they just made sure the doors leading to where the entrance to the shaft is were properly closed and left it. Apparently a large window was open round the back, which is probably where it got in. Oh well, at least we tried to help! The cat didn’t have a collar but seemed to be cared for/not a stray so as we were leaving I said to Jan “It will probably go home now and the owners will be really confused about how it got so dusty”.

  • On the subject of construction, I think the worst thing about this renovation thing is that I’ve only managed to read one book so far this month (hoping to finish a second one tonight though). I usually read in bed at night but having no electricity in the bedroom has been making that kind of difficult, plus with one thing and another we mostly haven’t been getting home until late so I’ve basically been going straight to bed. Jan has choir practice tonight though so I’m having a sandwich for tea (shop bought so no dishes) and attempting to finish my book while I eat.
  • Today I found out one of my colleagues is pregnant. I read it in the minutes of a team meeting and I have to admit I’m glad I wasn’t in the office for that particular meeting. Even just reading it was like a stab in the heart. This way I have time to process and will congratulate her tomorrow instead of having to stuff down my feelings and immediately congratulate her at the meeting. I hate that infertility and the loss of our boys has made me so incapable of just being happy for another human being who has got some good news.

Okay, that’s everything that’s on my mind today. I’m off to buy my sandwich, finish my book then hopefully get an early night. Have a wonderful evening (or day or weekend, depending on when you read this).

 

We (sort of) have a kitchen!

Hello friends! It’s time for another update on the building site that is our home. I was going to write one at the weekend but then we returned home on Friday to a note on the door requesting access at 8 the next morning. That’s 8 a.m. on a Saturday! So I decided to wait until that was done and then ended up not having time to post, so you get an extra two days of progress… and what progress it is. This is how our kitchen looks now:

Above the long drawers at the back there is a hob (for my American friends that would be hotplates), the doors to the right of the oven house a fridge and a freezer and the “cupboard” beside the sink is actually home to a dishwasher. Also, that squareish mark on the ceiling above the cupboards/shelf part? That’s actually where the fridge used to be, so from that you can see where the kitchen has been extended slightly into the dining area giving us a little more kitchen space.

The bathrooms, on the other hand, haven’t progressed a great deal. Here they are:

Without referring to last week’s post you probably won’t even be able to tell what’s been done. An additional frame has been added on top of the one that was previously fitted and there are a few more pipes/hoses back there. I’m interested to see what will be happening next…

Apart from that, work has now started in the next door part of the building, so there are no longer empty flats with bathrooms over there. Instead, a temporary shower/toilet/sink unit have been set up downstairs. Things actually worked pretty well with the bathroom next door – having to go over there was slightly annoying, but nothing I couldn’t deal with and it was always free when I needed it (there were two flats each with two bathrooms, which meant a total of four toilets and two showers available (plus two bathtubs)). Now there is one shower/toilet for everyone who is left in the building and today, on the very first day of having to use it, our upstairs neighbour went in there right as I was about to go downstairs. So tomorrow I’ll be getting up even earlier. (Jan, meanwhile, opted to get up a little earlier this morning and use the showers at his work.) Surprisingly though, the shower situation isn’t what annoys me most. The most annoying thing – apart from having to be up early on Saturday – is the dust. It’s everywhere! The dust sheets on the doors do a reasonable job of keeping most of it out, but they can’t stop it from being tracked in on our feet. And given that we have to walk through the dusty corridor no matter which room we want to enter the dust always follows. The second most annoying thing is that they’ve done something to the electricity so even though the trip switch is on there is no electricity in our bedroom. Getting ready for bed by the light of my phone torch is not my idea of fun…

Only this week and next week to get through and then we’re on holiday. We can do this! (She said, hopefully.)

April 2019

Well hello there! Can you believe we’re in May already? An entire third of the year is over! Once again, the year is speeding past and I feel like I haven’t really done anything. I should do something about that…

Today is the first Thursday of the month, which means I am linking up with Kristen for What’s New With You – although I’ve already told you about the main thing that’s new with me, namely that I’m currently living on a building site. In case you missed that, you can read all about it here and here. However, that doesn’t sum up my entire month so I shall attempt to tell you about the rest of it. This time in the form of bullet points. I’m still experimenting with how I want to do these posts.

whats new with you

  • We had a new colleague start at work, so we are now three German-English translators (my other colleague is part time though, so there are only two of us in the afternoons). He’s American, which is a novelty. Previously all our English translators have been from Britain. In fact, I think even all specifically from England. He just finished his Master’s in October so translating for actual customers is new to him, but so far he is getting on pretty well.
  • Speaking of work, after being ridiculously busy in January and February (and half of March), things died down a lot at the beginning of the month. While I don’t necessarily enjoy constant overtime having too little to do always makes me uneasy. However, last week I got a big job, which should keep me busy almost until I go on holiday in mid-May, so that’s nice.
  • Jan had choir performances on the first weekend of the month, first in Lucerne and then in Basel. Obviously I went to the Basel one, which meant I got to see the inside of another church. I’m tempted to start keeping a list! We also went to see a performance by a friend of Jan’s who sings in one of his choirs with him. It was… interesting to say the least 😉 This person tends to compose pieces that are very much experimental/unusual, but also cool.
  • We went to Zurich to see Eddie Izzard. It’s the second time I’ve seen him live and he did not disappoint. 10 out of 10, would see again.
  • We also went to the theatre this month… how very cultured! We saw Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder die Todes Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis or The Disobedience of Death), a one-act opera by Viktor Ullmann and Peter Kien, who collaborated on the project while imprisoned in Theresienstadt. They both died in Auschwitz but luckily the manuscript survived.
  • With all that going on plus construction, I didn’t read as much as in previous months, but I did manage 13 books, which isn’t bad. I also have two others that I started in April but didn’t manage to finish. I put myself on a book buying ban for April, partly because of the whole IVF thing, which is expensive, but also in an attempt to actually read some of the many books that are already on my overflowing to-read shelves. Of course, that didn’t stop the books I had previously ordered from arriving and I also picked up a few books from free bookshelves so the situation hasn’t improved in the slightest. This is the current state of said shelves:
    unread books April2019You can just about spot “I’ll Give You the Sun” on the shelf below, which is technically also unread but doesn’t fit on the to-read shelves. I may have a slight problem. Ahem.
  • Easter also fell in April, as I’m sure you all know. We couldn’t go away for various reasons, one of them being that we had to remove everything from both bathrooms, the kitchen and the balcony ready for the renovation to begin on the Tuesday after Easter. However, we did take some time out from clearing and sorting for a trip to the zoo in Zurich on the Saturday and an afternoon in Schaffhausen on the Monday. Schaffhausen has the most amazing metal creatures on the end of their drain pipes… I’m not sure whether you would call them gargoyles as such? I don’t know… see for yourself:
     

     

    And that’s about it, or at least I can’t think of anything else. I obviously didn’t do a deep clean in April because it’s slightly pointless when the entire building is a giant pile of dust and there are no bathrooms or kitchens to clean anyway. I did a reasonable job of drinking water and managed to get my five a day some days, but honestly probably less than half. I think I managed at least three most days though.

    So, that was my April. What’s new with you? Hop on over the link up to find out what everyone else in blog land has been up to lately.

Further dispatches from the building site

Hello! After publishing my last post about our current living situation I thought it might be nice to make a little series out of it to document the progress that’s being made. Given that tomorrow is a holiday and the builders will therefore not be coming, tonight seemed like a good time for another report as the state right now is what we’ll be living with on our day off work.

First I want to show you the sink I mentioned in my previous post:

construction8

Washing dishes is a pain, which is why we’ve been eating out a lot.

That pipe in the kitchen has now been enclosed, and today some cupboards appeared. Yay!

I mean, so far they have no door handles and don’t seem to be attached, but you’ve got to take what you can get.

Here are the bathrooms. Apparently they just aren’t going to bother removing the tiles in the second one. Whatever. As long as I don’t have to see them any more in all their 80s glory 😉

The corridor is absolutely full of stuff, which I’m hoping means even more progress will be made on Thursday. (It also has no electricity so excuse the terrible lighting).

So, something has definitely happened since my last post but we still have a way to go. Here’s to the next few weeks going fast!

Greetings from the building site!

Last year we were informed that our building, which was built in 1986, was going to be renovated this year. Last month, as I mentioned in this post, the windows and radiators were replaced. Then this week the main part of the work started… the replacement of the bathrooms and kitchens.

First, the builders covered our entire corridor in wooden boards topped with dust sheets. The doors also got their own special dust sheet type things, with zips to allow us to still go through them.

The doors leaning against the well belong to the bathrooms. They will eventually be getting painted and returned to their rightful places.

Our shower used to be in the left-hand corner of this room, with the toilet on the right:

construction3

The room that used to contain the bath still has one wall of tiles but has acquired some cryptic markings:

construction4

Here’s the kitchen. The big silver pipe in the corner wasn’t there yesterday… progress, I guess?

construction5

They put a “wall” between the kitchen and the dining/living area to try and keep the rooms that aren’t being renovated somewhat usable. The first photo shows it from the kitchen side, the other is from the dining room.

Note the fridge in the second photo… we are at least allowed to keep that until the new one is in.

And moving left from the fridge, here’s where we’ve put all the food and kitchen equipment we thought we might need in the next few weeks…

construction-kitchen stuff

We’ve been given a hotplate so we can attempt to cook and there’s a sink attached to the railing in the stairwell (I should have taken a photo of that for you as well) where we can theoretically wash dishes – although it’s slightly awkward. We also have a portable toilet, which is exactly as wonderful as it sounds (/sarcasm). For now, however, we  can use the shower and toilet in one of the empty buildings next door (for reference, our building is split into three separate addresses, each with its own entrance, but down in the cellar there are connected doors so we can get into the other “buildings” without actually going outside). That will change when it’s their turn to have everything ripped out in two weeks, but by then temporary showers and toilets are supposed to have been installed in our showers. I’m curious to see how that’s going to work.

So, things are a little chaotic around here and I’m pretty sure we won’t be spending much of the weekend at home. However, on the bright side, the first week is already done and we survived. Just another three and then we’ll be on holiday for a week, and by the time we come back they should be basically finished. Hurrah!

Oh, and if you were wondering, I’m not working from home while all this is going on. I’ve rented a desk in a “co-working space”, which is slightly different to what I’m used to. New experiences all round!

I hope everything is much more normal in your lives, dear readers (I type, while muttering to myself: this too shall pass).