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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Drama in the kitchen.

Saturday morning: 9.02am.

This was a perfectly normal Saturday morning. I had had a couple of cups of tea and some toast made from a loaf of bread that I made yesterday. Hmmm, fresh made bread – yummy! I’d enjoyed making the bread in my kitchen on Friday afternoon and in the evening the house smelt wonderfully yeasty and cosy. Job well done. On Friday night I washed up the bowl and the wooden bread board and put the wooden bread board on a small radiator in the kitchen to dry. See picture for re-enactment. The board was at a slight angle against the wall – a position it has been in many times before. Under it was a tea towel.

Back to Saturday morning. The post had come very early, bringing with it some free vouchers for coffees as promised by Caffè Nero. I was a very happy bunny. Today was going to be a good day. I made myself another cup of tea and toddled around the house in my dressing gown.

“So, what’s the drama?” I hear you cry. Did some pasta boil over on the stove? Did sausages explode in the frying pan? Did Gordon Ramsey suddenly appear at my kitchen door swearing like a trooper? No. I picked up a tea towel. That’s it. I picked up a tea towel. The one hanging on the radiator. This simple act then had me, prone on the kitchen floor for the next two hours, sweating and cursing.

On the removal of the tea towel the bread board lifted slightly away from it’s angle of safety and suddenly slipped down the back of the radiator, landing with a heavy thud on the skirting board. Small amounts of white paint sprinkled on to the kitchen floor. It was semi stuck.

I tried to ease it out of the side of the radiator only to be thwarted by wall brackets. I tried pushing it up from below with my hand. It moved a few inches but it needed to go twice its length to poke out of the top of the radiator. Then it fell over on its side. I muttered a small curse and considered my next move.

A consideration: ”Why not leave it alone and the next time a plumber comes ask him to take off the radiator and release the bread board?” Hang on, that could be more than a year’s time and to call a plumber out would cost a fortune. Saying that, there was no way I was touching the plumbing or unscrewing valves and brackets. DIY is not my forte. Visions of a flooded kitchen came into my over heating mind. I muttered another small curse and planned again.

Right, what could I use to push the board upwards to a position that would allow it to stay in place while I got my creaky bones up off the floor and then pull the board to safety? First of all; there was a small issue to consider. Behind the radiator was loose wallpaper that would tear if the bread board was caught up in its dried paper folds. I was getting annoyed now. And sweating. Luckily the radiator itself was cold.

Another half hour was spent manoeuvring some thinner cutting boards under the thicker edge of the bread board to raise the board up higher. I pushed and pushed and heard the sound of dry wallpaper tearing. I let go for a second and the whole balancing act came crashing down – on my thumb. BASTARD! It hurt like hell and I rose quickly to my feet and immersed it under ice-cold water now flowing from the kitchen tap. My thumb throbbed with dull pain.

I was beginning to get hot and teary and a tad pissed off at the ridiculous situation but it was not going to beat me! Inspiration then struck and I thought that a wooden spatula would be tall enough and slim enough to push the board skywards. I gave that a go and it slipped half way. The board fell down again and I whacked my thumb for a second time on the metal underside of the radiator. I got up abruptly, violently grabbed a thin cutting board from the kitchen top and slammed it down on the kitchen floor with an almighty thwack. Simultaneously, a keening wounded animal growl escaped from my mouth. I cursed the second I’d picked up that tea towel and to think, the day had started so well!

After a few tetchy minutes of stomping around my front room in a hissy fit I calmed down and thought of another cunning plan. Try this, I thought: blunt ended butchers hook tied to some thin garden rope and hooked under the board. Hoist up the board from above. That made sense. That would work. Surely? Did it buggery! The whole sorry escapade did nothing more than annoy me even further as well as tear a big chunk of kitchen wallpaper to shreds. Have you ever wanted to kick a radiator from the wall? I was very tempted and consider, dear reader, that all this strop and bad temper, caused by frustration, I add, was most unlike the gentle soul that I really am.
I was tenser than a cheese wire and before I exploded I sought refuge in a nice warm soak in the bath followed by a lie down on my bed.

Now, in a mentally calmer place to judge things, I had a revelation that could well be the solution. Here was my vision. All I had to do was power up the battery powered drill that I hadn’t used in five years; drill a hole in the wooden board; thread some tough string through the hole and pull the board out of its entrapment. I got dressed and set the drill to charge. Two hours later I slipped in a drill bit and gave the drill trigger a manly squeeze. It worked! I was smiling and optimistic.

With an air of determination I got to drilling a hole in a corner of the wooden board. I was so confident that this would work that I took the following photos. I had pre-set the string and it did take a bit of teasing to get it through the hole but I was pleased as Punch when I saw it re-appear (with the aid of a serrated steak knife jiggled in the tiny amount of space behind the board) dangling below the board. I tied a firm knot and got out my oven gloves so as not to cut my hands on the string as I pulled the wooden board upwards. The wallpaper crumpled and tore a bit more but, at last, I could see the board peaking over the top rim of the radiator. With a final pull I had it in my arms and lovingly cradled the ‘almost lost’ chopping board like a disaster movie survivor at the end of the film.

It is now Sunday morning as I write this for your amusement. My thumb is tender to touch and a lovely yellow and bruised blue colour. A small price to pay to make you all smile. Have a good Sunday and don’t do any DIY.

Now, where’s that tea towel?


dyanna said...

I like your blog.I'm waiting for your new posts.

Janette Jones said...

Oh Phil, you don't half make me chuckle! This is nearly as good as my friend Wendy, trying to push her washing machine in a fitted section of her kitchen and decided that if she wore her wellies it would help her get it in the cupboard better! Hope your thumb heals up soon!

Phil Lowe said...

Thankyou dyanna, I expect there will be two or three more posts next week. You could always work backwards through the 120 already written. :0)

Janette Jones: ta chuck - always good to make a lady smile. Your friend Wendy's story sounds funny. My ex wife said that men always have to make grunting and puffing sounds and swear under their breath whilst doing DIY to make the woman believe that a real effort is being made. I think it was DIY she was refering to

Gail's Man said...

Is your real name Frank Spencer? Gail did a similar thing with a picture recently. I think I used two rulers one each side & lifted it out. Slow work. I'm sure there are thousands of things stuck behind radiators in the UK. We could go into a retrieval business together!

Phil Lowe said...

Gail'sMan: So I'm not the only one then? As for your business proposal I think we should call ourselves The Rescuers: you bring the string, I'll bring the drill and know how. £20 per item rescued I reckon.

Emily said...

Hi Phil
Thanks for your comment!
I always go to the BBC Good Food Show but this year I am on my hols. Are you going? Are you going to Taste of Birmingham?

French Fancy said...

Aw, I shouldn't have laughed at your misfortune but you do write about it so well. The thing is that I could picture almost every stage of the saga - I thought it was going to end up as a flooded kitchen story - shame it was a sore thumb story

French Fancy said...

ps. I also love making bread. It is a very calming activity - it's all the kneading I think

Cheryl said...

Did you make it to Caffe Nero? How was it?

Phil Lowe said...

French Fancy: glad that my writing makes you laugh - judging from your previous remarks and the 1-8 thoughts descriptions that you wrote we seem to be on the same daft wave length. I don't make bread as often as I should and I have enjoyed slicing and eating my own creation.

Emily: I will check out when the Taste of Birmingham is on and where and let you know.

Cheryl: Yes I have been back a couple of times. I have ten coffee vouchers and I have used up three of them. We have five branches in and around the city and I would like to share the vouchers with someone before I get too coffee'd out.

Athina said...

Hi Phil, my comment is quit late as I've been visiting Timbuktu the past week.:)

The post made me laugh and I liked the following funny words:

almighty thwack

manly squeeze

hissy fit

the almost lost chopping board lovingly cradled in your arms

Reading your account of your kitchen drama was like watching it live. Better yet, why not make a short film about it. I think it will be a hit. :)

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

Hehe. Phils kitchen adventures.
Our superhero rescues lost items from behind radiators. I think that given the current quality of TV that we have a series here that we could run with.
Great reading Phil, but what's new?

Jo Belfield said...

After that, I am amazed you actually stuck it on the radiator again to take a photo.....