Today we have a new oven!
It's a small island miracle - we've got a new cooker. Colin the Condemner (so called because it is his job to inspect machines and condem them when they're showing signs of mortality) spoke his edict on our old cooker long ago...but as he sadly explains, condemning an item is, from the Government's point of view, no good reason for replacing it with a safer one, until it actually blows up. So somehow I'm not surprised to learn that the gas pipes were never connected up properly and that before the new cooker can be installed, they'll have to re-plumb the entire kitchen.
Never mind - I'm still just happy that we got it, a mere two years after Colin first condemned the old one. As Mel said to Colin, "A whole marriage is hanging on this cooker!" It wasn't a joke. I'd sworn - and meant it - that I'd never come to Rum if I couldn't bake and cook... when all else is letting me down and seems hopeless: make a cake! Or a venison stew with meat from the stags at Kilmory, or omelette with eggs from the chickens up on Nic and Ady's croft, or - my dreams are getting more ambitious as the oven approaches reality - a roast turkey for Christmas - also from the croft if we're lucky. We saw the turkeys yesterday...a gobbling, head-jigging mass of grey and red, poking forwards in curiosity to look at us up on the field where they've now been allowed out of their pen, now they're big enough to ward off the dreaded "hoodies" - hooded crows that will take anything small enough not to put up a fight, such as chicks, ducklings or young turkeys. Geese, turkeys and hens roam happily over the croft, and will come and follow you out of curiosity if you wander past (for those who are interested the croft has its own blog, www.croft3.co.uk).
|...and approach some more...|
|I'm getting a bit worried now|
|Trip from the kitchen to the bathroom (part 1)|
|Trip from the kitchen to the bathroom (part 2)|
I love living in a castle, I just love it. I know it's not mine, and my temporary smugness is kept in check by the heating constantly going off (especially when it rains 5 days in a row and it's bloody freezing), the electricity crashing when you use too many gadgets at once, the near-incessant rain that is coming in to some bits of the castle, the unreliable internet and my constant anxiety that I'm not doing enough and won't fit in. But at the same time, I love that I can sit by the fire and look out to sea at the same time...I love that we are helping to keep an island alive and contributing to a community and a way of life that is at once experimental and very traditional. There is no blueprint for this at all, and I am grateful to the powers that be - even if they are bad at replacing cookers - that have given us the opportunity to do this. I would even, almost, sacrifice the cooker if I had to...but don't tell them that!
|Trip from the kitchen to the bathroom...final corridor...|
P.S. I WON'T sacrifice the cooker...now installed to the sound of much clanking and warnings about Low Pressure Gas collecting around my knees if it (the gas, not the cooker) escapes (although the cooker has to be fixed to the wall with a chain in case it does escape, apparently the last one used to)...like an oily kind of loch. I have learned what a trivet is, and the bread dough we foolishly put to rise before the new cooker arrived has been rising for so long that it has turned into an alien emerging in a wobbly, threatening mass from the giant bowl we put it in and starting to spill over the edge...the cooker arrived just in time for us to rescue it and turn it into eight sedate little bread rolls (No picture of the rolls, as we ate them all).