Friday Favourites: Cold Beer & Remote Control
Ok, so I’m knackered. My muscles ache, my leg is bruised, my fingernails are filthy and my hair is inexplicable. I really need to spend half an hour standing under a steady stream of hot water. Alas, our shower does not allow for such luxuries. For a start, it takes about three hours to heat the water. You then get about five minutes at a soft trickle before the water starts to run cold. Unless you move at lightning speed you will still be covered in suds by the time the hot water runs out, leaving you to dance about the bath as you do the final rinse with cold water.
There’s such a lot going on in our “simple country life” at the moment. The bulk of the building work has been completed on the house and we now need to make key decisions on fixtures, fittings and décor. We’ve been chasing sales around Lithuania for the last few weeks to ensure we get the best value for our budget. Some of the savings have been significant – up to 50% on bathroom fixtures and 30% on tiles – so it has been worth the effort. Some of the sales are only announced on the day, though, so we’re not always as well prepared as we’d like to be. We forget to bring the measurements and end up guessing at sizes using the little paper measuring tape I got in IKEA.
I have a very clear vision of how I want certain rooms or fixtures to look. Communicating this vision, though, is a tricky business. Having spent a decade working as a software tester and several more years as a business analyst I know the value of specifying your requirements clearly in advance. I’ve had a few disappointments with the house already. The handles on the windows appear to have been fitted by someone lacking an understanding in basic physics. Insulation requirements meant we lost a precious few centimetres off our attic bathroom. These are minor details, really, but I want to make sure that everything else turns out the way I’ve imagined it.
The problem is I don’t speak Lithuanian. At least, not well enough to communicate complicated building requirements. Everything has to be communicated via Arūnas. So that Arūnas is equipped to answer questions from workmen or to challenge their alternative suggestions (my tastes are not very Lithuanian!) I need to ensure he fully understands my vision. This generally means either having to draw a picture or create a mock-up. This always ends up being a useful exercise as it forces me to think through the components in detail, ensuring they fit with other items in the room. It takes bloody ages, though.
I’m still planting vegetables in my kitchen garden. I know I’m a bit late – I’m not sure how well they will grow. I’ve never grown vegetables before so it’s all good learning to me. So far I have lots of crisp lettuce and spinach for salads and my beans are growing nicely. I’ve created a hot house of sorts in our front porch and my chilli and tomato plants are looking very healthy. I hope to have courgettes and cucumbers ready to harvest in mid July.
Between gardens and renovations and cocks I’ve hardly had a minute to myself all week. I’m well behind with my email – I’ll have to start purging some of the less interesting ones lest I miss the one telling me I won €130 million in the lottery. (It is Friday the 13th, after all!) I was planning to bring you a recipe for crispy chicken wings with a spicy mayo dip today. I did a trial run earlier in the week to finalise the cooking time. Thankfully we had a few left over or there would have been no dinner this evening – food shopping is low on the list of priorities.
So for this week’s Friday Favourites, instead of a recipe I’m going to tell you what I plan to do with the rest of my Friday evening. I’m going to grab a cold beer and the remote control and kick back with a good action flick. My beer de jour is Vilkmerges Tamsusis, a dark Lithuanian beer with rich caramel notes and an incredibly smooth finish. Lithuanian beers tend to be quite high in alcohol – I’ll probably be asleep before I’ve finished the second one.