Return to the Office

I’ve been back working in the office after a little break. Things are starting to come together, although there’s a bit of work left to do.

This project is the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve had to fit plasterboard, patch plaster, strip wallpaper, test wiring, paint, cut and prepare wood for shelving. I considered moving a radiator too, but that was going to be even more hassle. Working around the stair bulkhead has been one of the greatest challenges from a design perspective and even the practicalities of clambering around the damn thing to paint has made this rather time consuming.

The room following the base coat of white on the right hand side

We decided on green for the feature wall on the right hand side, which is also going to be the instrument wall (giving homes to the many stringed instruments floating around the house at present.) The paint came from the Crown decorating centre in Plymouth and given how expensive getting it mixed was, I decided to put down a base coat on top of the old pink paint and ominous greeting from the distant past. (Remember Heather?) I typically use a brush to cut in the edges and roller for the bulk of the painting. Using a brush for the whole thing is quite time consuming and requires more skill, although probably uses less paint.

The colour is Gothic Revival 12, which you might be forgiven for thinking is a high octane Japanese-RPG.

The second coat before it’s dry

The next step was to start thinking about shelving. I bought the timber months ago now, and if you remember the saga of the track saw all the way back in February, you’ll know this has been a long time coming. This is the second saw (Festool TS55, and third saw overall), as I sold the first one for spares after a traumatic repair experience. I hadn’t even trimmed the splinter guard on the rails that guide the saw. In retrospect there was no way I was going to be doing any major work that close to my FRCPath Part 2 exam but I had successfully deluded myself into believing that I needed one as soon as possible.

After setting the saw up for the first time, it’s an absolute dream. It’s super easy to use and cuts beautifully. I managed to break down a plywood sheet into the first tier of shelving in a few minutes. Being able to operate it in such a small room is also a bonus, although I do have two 1.4m sections of track so it can cut the biggest sheet goods.

The current plan is to cut the shelving, sand, then give the wood a coat of Osmo Wood Wax Finish to maintain a natural look, and pair nicely with the plain black shelf brackets. To minimise the chance of the shelves failing under the weight of many books, we’re going to be using heavy duty brackets.

The other item on the to-do list is wired network access as the Network Attached Storage (NAS) is currently occupying space on a bookshelf and making unnecessary noise. The aerial socket has been removed from the room, which is a shame as I had planned to replace the coaxial cable there with ethernet cable. There is, however, some trunking in the corner of the room bringing coaxial cable to the upstairs bedroom which we no longer use, so I intend to repurpose it for the network cable.

A Kentish Delicacy

Following a discussion with a friend of ours who started life in Kent, I set out to try Gypsy Tart, a classic Kentish dessert. I hadn’t made anything like it before, and was intrigued by the simple concept. A pie crust, filled with a mixture of evaporated milk and brown sugar, and baked in the oven. The end result is a sweet (incredibly sweet) mousse on a shortcrust base. On its own I could take it or leave it, but with a dollop of whipped cream it works rather well.

I used a recipe from Sainsbury’s although the proportions were way off. Their recipe would comfortably make two 23cm tarts, not just the one as described. In fact, I did just that to avoid wasting the excess ingredients. I swear some of these recipes are completely untested, and probably copied verbatim from elsewhere.

It comes with a slice of cantaloupe…

We managed to get out to try the Early Bird in Mutley for brunch. It was nice, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, and being such a busy location it wasn’t the most relaxing of experiences. The Little Kitchen across the road was a different story though. Plenty of room, with comfortable seats and a nice atmosphere. The lemon drizzle cake I had was pretty great too. If you’re looking for a nice alternative to the “must go” brunch spot, then check out The Little Kitchen.

Lemon drizzle layer cake at The Little Kitchen

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