I love a kitchen table; just the words 'kitchen table' make me feel cosy and safe. As a child, sitting at the kitchen table drawing, doing homework or best of all, reading, whilst dinner is being prepared, has to be one of the most comforting feelings in the world. If, like me, you were a bookworm as a child, you will well remember that delightful sensation of cooking smells, familiar voices, and the ebb and flow of family life swirling around you, as you focussed on the page in front of you, simulataneously enjoying the security of your familiar environment whilst living is the world of your chosen book, with its perils, excitement or sadness (I can't be the only person who cried at the tragic death of Beth in Little Women one second, then tucked into a hearty dinner at the kitchen table before the tears were dry).
When we moved into our current house, I loved the fact that the kitchen was big enough to house a good sized table and our boys have grown up eating, playing, celebrating, and squabbling at our now very shabby kitchen table.
Our kitchen table is in fact two tables pushed together; when we reconfigured our dining room into the Boys Room, the dining table (one of those that unfolds from a square into a rectangle) was abutted on to our kitchen table, temporarily, until we decided what to do with it. Three years later it is still there, and we are all used to it now. Such is family life.
Yesterday Derek and the boys were all out, and being alone in the house for most of the day I thought it would be fun to follow a Day in the Life of my kitchen table.
8a.m. Wave off D and boys, tidy away breakfast plates and mug. Dump huge bag of underwear and 'non-ironables' on the kitchen table and sort out. Deliver to underwear drawers of respective family members.
9a.m. Time for a quick cup of tea before taking Meg out for her walk. Since everyone else is out having a nice time, I decide on the unusual measure of sitting down at the kitchen table (rather than drinking my tea on the hop as I usually do). Look through a couple of quilting books and sigh over photographs of unatainably beautiful quilts.
11a.m Home from walking Meg; perfect day for it: sunny, windy and chilly. Feel hungry for breakfast when I get back. Enjoy setting my place at the kitchen table but really need to hurry up. Still to go to the shops for this evening's dinner to feed the hungry hordes on their return, and I really want some uninterrupted quilting time this afternoon.
1.30pm Back from shops, dump bags on kitchen table. Time to put this little lot away, then onto more creative endeavours.
2 p.m. Trim up my current quilt project ready for binding. Much as I love my kitchen table, at times like this I wish I had a cutting table, though even if I did there's nowhere to put it. Straighten up from kitchen table, ease out crick in lumbar spine. Take quilt through to sewing machine, stitch down binding to front, leave hand stitching for later.
3.30p.m. Cut some more 4 1/2" squares for my next quilt at the kitchen table. Very excited about this project (from this book)as it is the first time I will have followed instructions and not just made the quilt up as I go along. When all squares are cut, neatly assemble them in to piles on my small cutting mat ready to carry through to my room to lay out and arrange on the big bed.
4.30 p.m. Need to start dinner prep and I have decided on a 'proper' Sunday dinner for my returning heroes, who have spent the day in adventurous pursuits in lovely St Andrew's. Roast chicken, roast beef, roast potatoes, gravy, and lots of veg, followed by plum and apple crumble and custard. Work out timings, get ovens on and start cooking. Once everything is in the oven, and the apples and plums are stewing with a tiny amount of water, and a generous sprinkle of sugar, I make the cumble topping (200g plain flour, 100g butter, 100g sugar, tiny pinch salt rubbed together, so easy, so delicious)
8p.m. Dinner is over; everyone enjoyed it. The boys are getting on well just now, so lots of laughter and chat at the kitchen table this evening (as in every family, meal times are not always harmonious, but we take the rough with the smooth, and persevere in making family mealtimes a priority). This evening we chat in some detail about our plans for next year's holiday, which we are all very excited about.
Just the dishes to clear away. Another day in the life of our kitchen table is almost over, then tomorrow it will start all over again.