We progress towards finishing the kitchen. There is now an island of granite to the left of the sink, which should solve the old problem of the wood rotting where it kept getting wet (plus I can put hot pans on it), and Barry has managed to fix the steel splashback so that it actually works, so we should be a great deal more hygienic. The walls are a slightly lilac shade of white, the woodwork is a very light stone colour (a version of John Fowler’s famous ‘lilac and drab’), the tiles are high-glazed ivory white, and the overall effect is a very subtle variation of shades of near white, full of light. The tiles were such a lot of bother Barry didn’t have time to finish the painting, so we’ve been doing quite a bit of it ourselves, and we have discovered the hard way that the new style waterbased woodwork paint is absolutely hideous stuff which slides off and rearranges itself — I’ve never known anything like it for sneakily going into drips the moment you turn your back. Also, the food cupboard, which is on little legs to deter mice (which it does) needs to be screwed to the wall, and till it is, I don’t think we dare load it. But we have got some plates back onto the dresser, and pictures on the wall. Slightly fewer of them — the new paintwork and tiles are so nice we’re minded to keep things a bit sparser. A lot of clutter has accumulated in the last decade, the way it does. The Edward Goreys have gone up to the Twentieth Century Room where they sit rather well between Ian Hamilton Finlay and Edward Burra, and the Serbian monastery has a spot on the upstairs back landing. I’ll be glad to get the cookbooks back where they belong. A pity it wasn’t all sorted in time for the start of term, but it is coming on.