Rachel Agnew, TV Presenter, Loose Woman, Cashier No 3 please, After Dinner Speaker and Columnist

Note to Self (17)

I have an admission to make - I’ve got kitchen envy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of myself for having these feelings, and I’m not one who usually succumbs to the green eyed monster. But last night I went to my friends for dinner to celebrate the completion of their new extension and I’ve not been myself since. You see, their brand new kitchen, with its shiny iron-grey cupboards, soft close drawers and solid oak folding patio doors, has brought out a jealousy in me and I don’t much like it.

When I came home I stood in my warm, homely and slightly tired kitchen and felt disappointed with it. It was a bit like watching a really beautiful romantic comedy and falling completely in love with the male lead, then realising how utterly disappointing your partner is in comparison. You know you can’t have them and you shouldn’t be jealous, but you just can’t help it!

Of course, it’s not surprising in the current property market that so many people are resorting to upgrading their home rather than moving house. This summer is taking a terrible toll on the market, with house prices dropping for the second month in a row across the country. It doesn’t bode well. Sellers can’t afford to sell at such low prices, and buyers are finding it difficult to raise the large deposits needed to secure a mortgage. How first time buyers are supposed to get themselves on the property ladder I just can’t imagine. And if by some miracle you do manage to find a property you want to buy and can afford, then you have to go through the hell of the purchasing process.

They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that moving house is second only to bereavement for the levels of anxiety and upset incurred, and I completely agree. I moved into my current flat 10 years ago, and the stress of that move was so spectacularly bad that I truly can’t imagine ever wanting to move again. I was convinced that everyone was against me and wanted to make my life and the move as painful as possible – the solicitor, surveyor, mortgage company and my personal favourite, the estate agent. It might have just been a huge dose of purchaser paranoia, but it felt like I was being ganged up on by all the big boys and girls at school, and one by one, each of them was thrusting my head down the toilet (metaphorically speaking of course).

So what would make me move again? I suppose the only reason I’d move from this flat which I really love, would be if I were to meet the next Mr Right and we decided to live together. Though to be honest he’d have to be George Clooney’s twin brother to convince me to contemplate dealing with estate agents again. (Apologies to any nice estate agents reading this – I’m sure there are some of you who are really lovely, decent people – it’s just that I’ve not met you yet.)

In the meantime, what am I going to do about my kitchen? Well, it’s in perfect working order but looks a little tatty around the edges (a bit like its owner). Sadly I can’t afford to re-model it, or buy any major new appliances. But you know what, some new cupboard door knobs, some bright new tea-towels and maybe a smattering of chrome accessories might just give it the lift it needs. Hopefully then it’ll forgive me for falling in love with the bright new shiny one I saw in Wimbledon last night, and we can continue to live together in culinary harmony.

NOTE TO SELF: Remember, even if my kitchen was brand spanking new, my cooking would be unlikely to live up to its surroundings.

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Rachel Agnew

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