While this is by no means as major a piece of work as the loft conversion was, it's not insignificant, either.
In truth, the kitchen does need a severe makeover. The plaster on the walls and ceiling is cracked, the cupboards have been on their last legs for years, someone needs to get the lino up and check the boards. And so on.
So at some point very very soon, one of our signature gangs of Polish lads will be descending on the flat. The kitchen will literally be stripped back to the floorboards and the brickwork. The lath-and-plaster wall between the kitchen and the bathroom probably needs to be tied to the outside wall and/or have a new joist put underneath. There will be new plastering, new units, a new cooker. The existing doorway will be sealed up, partly with a stud wall and partly with glass bricks, and a new doorway will be made (I'm still rather confused why we have to do this, but apparently it'll all work out fine.)
Two and a half weeks, we're told, and we'll have a new kitchen. The (still sadly-LJless) OJM quibbles with me about this; based on her experiences having her kitchen remodelled, she thinks it'll take more like seven weeks. But her kitchen is the size of the UN Building, while ours is crowded if Bogna and I and all the cats are there at the same time.
The Polish lads, while they're here, will also be tiling the porch at the top of our front steps and the path down to the gate, and they'll be trying to do something about propping up the shower tray upstairs. The head honcho, Krszysz, came to have a look at the conversion work a couple of months ago, and described it as `a tragedy.'
I'm actually going to miss the old kitchen. It was impossible to keep the damn thing clean - particularly after we got the cats and discovered that cat hair and grease have much the same affinity as oxygen and hydrogen, except what you get isn't water but a furry coating resistant to all known forms of cleaning short of napalm - but I've been cooking in there for seventeen or eighteen years and I knew where everything was and could put my hand on the salt or the potatoes or the herbs with my eyes shut. Now I'm going to have to learn it all over again.
One thing I'm really going to miss is the cooker, which was old and battered and had the numbers worn off most of the knobs but which did sterling service and never let us down. I wanted to keep it, but in the Brave New World of Bogna's new kitchen, there is no place for it.
I'm not sure when this is all going to take place. We spent much of last weekend moving stuff out of the kitchen in preparation, and we may have it for one more weekend, but I'm certainly down to my last few days in my kitchen.
edit Bogna just rang. Work starts tomorrow. Which means we face a mad last-minute scramble to finish clearing the kitchen tonight. Which is not unusual.