This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Here I am …dog sitting in the new “drop dead gorgeous” farmhouse which my son and daughter in law have been refurbishing for the last year. They have every new techie gadget known to man and have left me – someone who hates technology with a vengeance – to look after their very much loved mastiff dog and the estate.
I should explain it is a very pretty farmhouse with paddocks, a swimming pool, barns and stables. I am staying in the house alone. Well, of course the dog is with me. She is very sweet, very slobbery and a bit of a wuzz. To be honest I’m a bit of wuzz too. I’m slightly nervous of staying in the house all on my own. Not because I think I am vulnerable. No, I’m far more worried about how I’m going to manage with all the state of the art technology which has just been installed.
Mindful of how hopeless I am at making things work (OG – Other Granny – always has to open the safe when we are travelling), I asked her if she would spend the first night with me whilst I got the hang of everything. My DIL (daughter in law) was very sweet and talked me through every eventuality and I took copious notes. But gadgets have habit of changing their persona with me. As soon as their owners walk out of the door, they go wrong.
Anyway I packed for four days and, armed with my trusty iPad, I arrived at the house. I managed to get in. First hurdle over.
Time for a cup of tea. The English always have a cup of tea after nerve wracking moments. It calms the nerves and somehow makes you more able to face the future. No kettle. Of course. Minimalist kitchens don’t have kettles – you have a Quooker. No, it’s not me suddenly developing a speech impediment – a Quooker is a tap. And in case you didn’t know it belches out boiling water at any hour of the day or night. Mugs? None to be found. You don’t keep mugs in cupboards any more, you have TWO dishwashers and the contents of the clean one become your cupboard, thus saving you time and money and the expense of more cupboards. Having found a clean mug in the clean dishwasher, I turned the Quooker on to make a cup of tea.
Meanwhile I went looking for drinking water. None. Apparently you can’t drink from the cold water cos it’s softened. Ah ha, yes I remember DIL told me to get drinking water from the fridge which will have proper UNsoftened water. I can see all the buttons winking at me. All you have to do is push the button and iced water will come out. Famous last words! I push the button. Diddly squat comes out. Undaunted I think “Well if I can’t have water, I’ll have ice. That will cool my tea down.” NO ice. Oh for God’s sake what is it with these high tech kitchens? All I want is a cup of tea. I’m not going to let this beat me.
The fridge water container must be empty. So I go off In search of another clean mug so I can fill what looks like a container in the back of the fridge door. Unfortunately as fast as I pour the water in the top, it pours out of the bottom. I now have a flooded kitchen floor, no ice and no cold water. But guess what? By the time I cleared up, my tea was the right temperature! (I never did find out how to make ice.)
Next I looked at the cellarama – estate agent speak for a vast fridge stocked ONLY with wine. My idea of heaven. Mind you, if it was stocked with wine and Ben and Jerrys, that would be PARADISE. I was tempted to get a bottle out. Botheration… the wine looked so posh, every bottle had a cork so I knew I would never be able to work the wine opener. Love those screw tops – why don’t the posh vineyards use them? Wine isn’t only for people who have strong wrists. There is nothing that puts me in a more foul humour than a cork that won’t come out. (Here’s a smart way to overcome the problem: click here)
I scrabbled for my £5.99 Tesco’s best which I had brought with me and poured myself a large glass. Now to cook supper. I have a choice – induction hob, Aga or microwave. The microwave wins hands down .
Next week I move in with my other DIL for the birth of their new baby! Yippee.