The light in my kitchen is a little strange. I haven’t figured out if this is because of the paint or just because it faces the udvar (courtyard). Mind you, I’m on the top floor so you would imagine that I’d get all the light there was to get, but no. It doesn’t matter though; even if the overhead light is on a lot of the time, it’s still a lovely space.

I have had a fixation with having a blue kitchen ever since I started collecting Denby pottery in 1992. For two years, I bought pieces whenever I had the money. I got it as presents and as ‘thank yous’ for favours done. It stayed in a tea-chest at home from 1994 to 2008 when it finally arrived in Budapest. It’s only now that it’s in daily use that I’ve realised how hard it is to get replacement pieces as Denby discontinue their patterns after a couple of years. It’s a bit like finding a spare part for an old car – you need to wait until someone junks theirs so that you can feed off the pickings!

When I left Valdez, CV gave me the most wonderful wall-hanging that she had outlined in stitch. It must have taken ages. It’s in blues and it needed a home.


And I had that wonderful Jon Van Zyle print to hang. That started me thinking: maybe my kitchen should reflect something of how I remember Alaska . So I went for the barren look: ice grey/blue walls; floor tiles that pick out the sparse browny colour of the tundra; lots of blank wall space; a blue marble counter top reflecting the deep blue summer sky (LV thought I was mad buying this as it was the most expensive one in the place, but it was just the right colour and needs must); and plain white units (there are some things Ikea does right!). A number of people have commented on how empty my walls are, so the effect is there.

I struggled somewhat with the appliances though and it took some time find a table and chairs that would blend in the black oven and the dulled stainless steel fridge. But perseverance pays! I found both at Domus, and what a day that was. I mimed my way through the purchase, arranged delivery, paid the bill and even got a VAT receipt, all the time swearing to myself that I’d learn Hungarian. Still, it was only last October….

It took time, too, to find a plant stand for that gorgeous piece of Cool Mountain pottery from Youghal in Co. Cork; one that would look like it was an extension of the floor tile. But again, perseverance paid off. Another find in the BAV on Jaszai Mári tér. Not one normally blessed with such patience, I’ve watched AMcC wait until she finds exactly what she wants and some of that patience must have rubbed off; or perhaps it is the effect she creates by getting exactly the right piece that sold me on biding my time.


On my travels to NE Hungary recently, I came across some exquisite cross stitch work. I love the detail. Having watched a couple of women actually doing it, I realised how time-intensive it is. Funny, until SJ explained it to me not long ago, I has horrified at the cost of some of the lace and embroidery work in the shops in Budapest. But when you divide that end sum by the number of hours it must have taken to do, what you come up with falls far short of the minimum wage. Photographers charge hundreds for their photos; artists charge thousands for their paintings and yet each napkin, tablecloth, runner, is an original work of art, painstakingly created by hand. Ok, so the patterns may not differ too much, but each one is hand stitched. I have a whole new respect for the threaded arts; such patience is priceless.

The one thing that I’m missing is a narrow, black wrought iron book-case to put at the end of the kitchen units…one that will house my cookbooks. I carry the measurements in my bag, and one of these days, it’ll find me!

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