So slowly the year is slipping into another winter: I have seen that not only in leaves falling from tall trees lining the suburb where I live, but also in the food that I have been cooking: stews, tagines, and last night, a soupy fish stew, fragrant with tomato and vermouth and saffron, the leftovers which we will have tonight, my boyfriend and I, in deep bowls with brown and wild rice, in front of the fireplace in this new lounge. Last night I figured out how to light it: it is gas driven, but once lit, looks like an open wood fire which has burned down to almost coals with some flames flicking upwards. I am sitting here writing, an early Sunday evening by myself by the fire, waiting for my lover to come back after spending time playing his sax with a trombonist friend where he’s gone for a blow: that’s the parlance! In the second bedroom his son is still sleeping, after having a late afternoon liedown: I haven’t woken him, because I know that he had in the last two nights not slept a lot: he is a fledgling filmmaker and had a shoot right through a night..

My boyfriend has been staying over at my place, because, wait for it: his KITCHEN is being renovated!! (and his bedroom is stacked up with kitchenware). About a year ago he had started talking about maybe redoing his very basic kitchen in a sixties apartment, the original duco’d steel sliding doors on the units driving him and later me too, crazy as  they regularly, stubbornly stuck after years of use, and the lack of working surface forcing a veritable musical chair game of shuffling appliances whenever I cooked there. I think that was the real catalyst: I think each time I cooked there, I really struggled. I would arrive there with an ancient basket of my gran’s laden with ingredients, or three Woolworths carrybags full, and then had to cram all of that on top of a small space…

Two weeks ago he announced that he was going to take the step: and within a week had a basic design, after having a look at some neighbours’ apartments which have the same layout as his place, and Tuesday past, after helping him choose the oven and hob of his new stove to be built into a granite top, I walked up the stairs to the deep pounding of sledgehammers, and walked in on a shell of a kitchen, rubble already ankle deep, and all the old fittings ripped out. Within a day the old door was built up and the new entrance open to the dining room finished, and on Tuesday the new units are being assembled and fitted. By the end of next week, he who I love will have a new kitchen and I will cook the first meal in there for us! He also decided to have the old carpets ripped up and the parquet underneath sanded and varnished: a total transformation, which both of us cannot wait to see… so black granite and cherry wood, stainless steel hob and oven, sleek stainless steel handles, dark slate colour floor tiles, mosaic splash-backs… we are so having a party there as soon as all is done!

I feel quite proprietary already: but in fact I have been very much part of the decisions around what goes where…. He has said jokingly that he is doing the kitchen for  me, so that I can have a nice cooking space when I’m there.

I have always had a fantasy of creating the perfect kitchen for myself, but in none of the three houses which I have over the last almost thirty years shared with men, had I gotten to the point where that happened: I did not stay long enough I guess!! So being part of this renovation, which will literally transform the apartment, has been somewhat emotional for me: my ideas and preferences being considered, my suggestions appreciated; a little foretaste of how it may be in future should we live together, and redo a kitchen together… we both have a love for beautiful spaces and an idea that we would like our fantasy kitchen to be the hub of the house, and now, with this renovation, we have, to our delight, found that we have yet another area of compatibility…

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