KITCHEN 1900s-style & KIKA KAT.

KITCHEN – The heart of Albie’s home after his adoption in 1925 by George and Dot Smith was the kitchen. Meals were cooked and eaten there, baths taken in front of the range, clothes dried on a wooden airer raised and lowered from the ceiling on a pulley system.

Here is an excerpt from my novel Helter-Skelter that describes it through the eyes of a girl who is used to the many rooms of her own family’s farmhouse.
Bessie’s eyes refused to meet his – they were darting wildly round the small kitchen. Apart from the even smaller scullery beyond the other door, this was clearly the only living-room. With a table in front of the window, a range along one wall and a dresser against another, there was scarcely enough space for an ancient armchair and the rocker in which Missus Smith now sat, nervously pleating her apron. The whole house would fit into the scullery back home.

Dot Smith had an old range - the above picture I found online is very close to my mental image of her kitchen - but it is possible that Bessie’s well-off mother had one of the newer models, like this one advertised in a 100 year-old cookery book I bought at a jumble sale. Apparently “The Linings can be removed by any servant, cleaned and replaced without trouble”. I don't have a servant, and to clean my oven I have to get down on my knees - does anyone know where I can get one one of these?


In December 2000, three days before Christmas, we woke up to find Kika and her four kittens on our terrace. I told the full story of their arrival in last year’s A-Z blog so I won’t repeat it here. (You can pop into my archives and have a look if you're interested). 
Suffice it to say that we re-homed the kittens but Kika stayed. The OH, who professes to hate cats, spoils her rotten. He says it’s because her eyes are blue like his – they also go red if they catch the light at night (no comment!)
Kika waits on the swimming-pool wall when we go out and welcomes us home with a spectacular display of somersaults.  She’s getting on a bit now – sometimes she misjudges a leap through the railing and bangs her head (we hear the clang). She’s knocked a tooth out doing it, so she’s not as pretty as she was, but it hasn't spoiled her appetite.

She feigns not to notice the birds that hop about the garden looking for the combings of her hair we throw out and with which they line their nests. I'm sure the birds know she can't be bothered to chase them.

But – she panics if the door is shut while she’s inside the apartment, she still has mad moments when she races from one end of the terrace to the other after a bougainvillea flower, and she refuses to drink clean water, preferring the mucky brown stuff in the bottom of the plant pots – there’s still a bit of wildness left in her.


  1. Your kitty sounds like quite the character - which I think we can say about a lot or all cats! My cats are both nutters too, particularly one who is a bit psycho (but only when playing. hehe).

    That old-style kitchen looks really freaky! Kind of reminds me of Alice in Wonderland or something. Maybe Hansel and Gretel.

  2. The kitchen reminds me of my great-aunt's kitchen :-)

    Visiting from the A-Z Challenge Paula Martin - Romance Author

  3. Another clever post - I do love how you're revealing and teasing us with your novel.

    Your cat's very lucky to have you!

  4. That kitchen is just like my gran's in her cottage on the edge of Delamere Forest. There's no "bake for half an hour on gas mark 6" with those. It's recognise the coal or logs you are using at the time and adjust accordingly. I still can't get wimberry pies quite like Gran's.

  5. That kitchen sounds very warm and homely... although I'm glad I don't have to use it! I love my washing machine and fridge too much :-)

  6. I love Kika. She's got real character!

  7. I realise it's a gas cooker, Bill, but it is still advertised as a "range". Perhaps the company were afraid to use such a new-fangled word as stove or cooker.
    I remember my father filling up the range in our vicarage, and the heat that overwhelmed us in the summer if we wanted it lit for baths.

  8. Interesting perspective on times long since disappeared and what a crazy cat.

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  10. Hi, my friend... just blog hopping early on Saturday morning(going back to bed in a few minutes) and happened onto yours. I enjoyed both parts of the post. The kitchen table has always (up until recently) been the central gathering place for families; where we get together for meals, conversations, problem solving, doing homework, etc. When I was a girl, we had the kind of cook stove you built a fire in, and had a reservoir for holding water, and a warming box on top above the stove eyes. Ah, those were the days. Nothing like the biscuits we cooked in that old oven. Come by and visit me, if you have the time. I really enjoyed your post, and pics of the cat, too. Best regards to you, Ruby

  11. I love the look of the 1900s.


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