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The end of the line is actually within our grasp now. No, no dying involved, no last wishes, no final farewells.

It’s at last the kitchen. Paint. Cupboards. Oven. Sink. Refridgerator that doesn’t conk out with no warning.

Never mind the ubiquitous plaster dust, the ruined kettle from so many cups of tea. Never mind the tears — tears — from the children at yet another microwave meal. Yes, we have had only a microwave — no sink, no hob, no oven — for 4 weeks. We are all fretful, and now begin to feel our lack of 5-a-day. Our moods are all over the place. Our hair(s) have lost condition. Seriously!

This was all my idea, as R hastens to remind me. He’s right. Almost a year ago exactly, I decided this was it. We’d been thinking about it for 4 years, but no physical solution could be reached. Suddenly the physical solution presented: block up a door, knock through another, change the entrance…It grew like bread rising, a little package in a warm place.

We punched it down for six months. Followed it by 3 months’ work just for starters. I have to be frank: I had no idea of the upheaval, the disruption.

But my eye’s on the ball. I daren’t take it off. Otherwise I might decide to sell up. I look to Tiffany in Grand Designs as my role model. I imagine the time when we can actually all stand in the kitchen at once, when we can all cook, all talk, all taste. It’s really that simple; that’s all I want.

It all arrives next week. Tuesday. Today at Sainsbury’s I could not even bring myself to buy another meal in a horrible brown pot. We are eating at friends’ for the next two days.

I’ve never been able to figure: does something become positively unbearable just as it ends — or was it that way all along?


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.