Sunday, 13 May 2012

A weekend of extremes

Yesterday we threw our first dinner party for ages, and found ourselves feeling unexpectedly anxious about it.  Our guests were a guy who works in Jenny's department and his wife, and an old friend of Jenny's, who she's known through singing for decades, and his wife.

After a starter of local asparagus, we served a shoulder of pork which we'd slathered with smashed garlic and fennel seeds, then roasted on a very low light for about 10 hours, basting from time to time with olive oil and lemon juice.  That was accompanied by Tamasin Day Lewis's Greek potatoes, which you stick in a baking tray with onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and water, and roast at 200°C for an hour and a half.  Delish.  And carrots sautéed in butter with lots of garlic, and savoy cabbage to cut through the richness.  We had some nice Beaujolais with that.

Pud was mango and passionfruit brulée, accompanied by a bottle of 1997 riesling, which was rich and unctuous despite only being 9°abv.

So that went beautifully.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and we felt we'd acquitted ourselves OK, and by about 1pm today the house was back to normal.

But then the drain in the kitchen made an ominous gurgling sound as the washing machine emptied itself, and we found water flooding the kitchen, and the conservatory.  The saga here is that when we had the conservatory built, there was a man-hole cover smack in the middle of the floor, screwed down and covered with a layer of chipboard and then laminated flooring.  This always was asking for trouble!

So we moved all the plants and furniture out of the conservatory and lifted about 2/3 of the flooring in order to expose the two access points necessary to clear the blockage.  I had to borrow a friend's rods, but once I'd got my hands on them, it was the work of moments to clear the blockage.  There's a U-bend where the drain comes out from the kitchen, so the stink of the sewers doesn't get back up into the house, and this was where the blockage was.  We never throw fat down the sink, but evidently there's enough in your normal washing up for it to accumulate over time, so we're obviously going to have to take precautionary measures in future.

Once the floor has dried out, which I reckon will take a week, we'll relay the laminate, but where the small access cover is, over the U-bend, we'll cut out a patch which can just rest in place and be easily lifted.  It's against the wall, so won't be obvious.  Then I'll set myself an alarm every 6 months to chuck some foaming drain cleaner down there.  That's the real beauty of cutting out that piece of laminate - so much easier than tearing the skirtings off the wall so you can lift the whole strip.

So yes, I'm knackered!

Later:  Oh yes, I forgot.  We took the meat out of the oven on Saturday afternoon several times to baste it, resting the tray on the oven door, which pulls down.  At one stage there was an ominous creaking/cracking sound.  Later investigation proved it to be the glass inner window of the door, which had partially come away from its adhesive.

It didn't stop us from cooking the pork, fortunately, so on Sunday, when I dismantled the door and found out what was going on.  I cleaned it up and visited the Neff website, but could not find the adhesive needed to re-glue the glass back into the door.  

There was a phone number, however, and they were open on a Sunday, so I phoned.  The girl said they don't sell the glue and I'd not be able to buy any, but she could sell me a new inner door, which was astonishing, considering the oven was installed in about 1989!  So the door is on its way.  We could use the oven, though in fact I think we probably won't for the next couple of weeks.


Jennyta said...

Oh dear, what a calamity after such a lovely evening. Hope all is soon back to normal.

Rob Clack said...

Could have been worse; could have happened on Saturday when we were getting ready to feed the 5000!

ArcticFox said...

They won't sell you adhesive but they will sell you a door?? what's the world coming to.... we're a wasteful bunch aren't we? Glad it didn't affect your excellent meat cooking routine.... and yes, my parter, Dawn, also had a drain cover under her conservatory floor, but the floor was raised so there was a sort of void that would occasionally fill up with fetid water and you had to open a trap door and get into the manhole thing...... I wonder how long it took the new owners of her property to reach this conclusion.........?????

Rob Clack said...

I've prepared a Word document which describes everything we know about the property, from the history through stuff just like the fact there's a manhole cover under the conservatory floor. The intention is that we'll pass it to the buyers when we sell up, though sod's law says that at the critical moment we'll forget!

ArcticFox said...

how infinitely considerate!! I prefer to leave things like THAT as an added bonus surprise to be discovered at a later date.... like a sort of time capsule/bomb!

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