The final Mitford Girl died today aged 94. She was the youngest of the famous sisters who made a name for themselves through the artistocratic world of the 1940’s.
Deborah Mitford is well known for saving Chatsworth House (which we visited the first time we came to Britain) by making it into a very successful tourist site. I heard an interview with her from a few years ago on Radio 4 today. She sounded like quite an amazing character. She was possibly one of the last people alive to have taken tea with Hitler and danced with JFK.
Meanwhile, here in Farnham, I finished cleaning up the front room.
What a load of rubbish there was…well, not all rubbish. Boxes of screws, left over bathroom tiles, unused silicone tubes, aluminium strips…the list goes on. It can all be used on another job, I’m sure. Unless I’m going to build an extension, there’s not a lot I can do with it, ignoring the fact that there’s nowhere to store it all. I’m not going to mention the gallons of leftover paint.
I had a brilliant idea while moving the excess laminate around. I thought I’d try to get rid of it on Freecycle. I measured it and uploaded the information onto the site. I had a reply in about ten minutes. The guy is coming round to pick it up tomorrow. Far better than just throwing it away.
The reason it’s taken so long is because everything needed to come out before going back in neatly and organised. Still, it was all completed by the end of the day and looked a lot better.
The other big job was to make my Christmas cake. As I creamed my butter and sugar, I wondered how they used to manage before the invention of electric mixers. Delia claims that this is the most important part of the cake making process so it’s important to get it nice and creamy. It took ages with my hand mixer so it must have been horrific with just a spoon.
Preparation took 90 minutes and then it was time to pop it into the oven for four hours. That’s four hours of delicious Christmas cake smell flooding through the house. By the time it finished, I wanted to eat it. Mind you, because I was the only one here, I did get to lick the bowl. Always a bonus.
I managed to resist and, after it had finally cooled down, I wrapped it in greaseproof and locked it away in a cake tin. I will now ‘feed’ it some brandy every week until it’s time to marzipan and ice it.
Annoyingly, early in the day, I put a coat of spring sage on the manifold door. While the painting was easy enough, it became annoying when I realised the paint was oil based when I tried to clean the brush under the tap. I checked the tin. It was going to take 16 hours before I could recoat. I then went on the search for our bottle of white spirit.
Now, I knew where I’d left it because I’d used it to get rid of gloss drips off the floor upstairs. It wasn’t where I’d left it. In fact, it wasn’t anywhere in the house. The only thing I can think is that Rich the Painter took it to clean his brushes. This is incredibly annoying given the amount of useless stuff they left. Typical that the only thing they took away was something I actually needed.
By the time I’d given up looking for white spirit, someone at the end of the road thought it would be the perfect time to burn some rubbish. The light morning breeze decided it would be an excellent idea to deposit black ash all over the wet manifold door. So, I not only had to wait for the door to dry but I would then have to sand it and paint it again. And then wait another 16 hours.
I had a bit more luck removing the final bits of masking tape from the Chutney window and then cleaning off the paint which the masking tape didn’t mask. It looked much better once I’d finished.
Most importantly, I ordered the new dining table which, hopefully, will arrive next week. Time to start having dinner parties with more than four people.