I tweeted, yesterday, that I need a wheelie-friendly flat, and I also need to be able to cook when I can, because being able to do so, even if only occasionally,** means a hell of a hell of a lot to me, and I can’t reconcile the two. Bugger!***
**Because the ability to do almost everything else in my life that I enjoyed has been taken from me by illness.
***Though, it being Twitter, I was rather more succinct.
But, having given the matter some thought, I might have a solution to the cooking problem,. especially the prep. What I need is a small, but robust, table, at which I can do my food prep while seated, either in my manual chair, or my computer chair – my biggest physical problem, after walking, is standing, and most of that is done in the kitchen. Also in the bathroom, but having tried peeing sitting down it does have a major drawback – I have to stand up again, and that hurts more than standing! Seriously, though, I do need a seat in there – at the basin.
NB: Before anyone suggests Social Services, they’re a joke.
I’ve tried a perching stool in the kitchen, but it was useless, positioning me too far away from the worktop. The problem is much the same in the bathroom.
Before I go any further, the usual, tedious, DWP disclaimer – cooking is something I can do only occasionally, and what I’m about to propose is not going to change that by so much as a scintilla. OK, snoops?
So, a small table, with a holster (or magnetic strip), on the side for my knives (no point in constantly to-ing and fro-ing to the kitchen, it’ll defeat the object), is what I need, positioned in the living room (I have the space as the place where it would go is currently occupied by a folding table with my laptop on it). The work surface will be a large, high-density polypropylene chopping board, set on a non-slip base.
It’ll also put me closer to the fridge, which is in the living room as there’s no room in the king-size bed sized kitchen.
I have enough knives that critical ones are duplicated – like a lot of good, amateur, cooks, the search for the perfect knife is always ongoing. I’m tempted by ceramic knives, but while they are exceptionally sharp, and hold their edge well, drop them (something I do a lot), on a hard floor, and you pick them up with the Hoover.** A shame, because I’d love a ceramic Santoku knife (my chefs’ knife is superbly sharp, and holds its edge well, but my damn Santoku loses its edge very quickly). I suppose I could spring for a quality Santoku – I bought a cheap one just to test the water.
A good steel Santoku is anywhere from £60-ish to around £100, a ceramic-bladed one can be had for about £65 – a lot for something I wouldn’t have for very long! On the other hand, sharpening the one I’ve got costs nothing. It needs re-grinding, though – something I can do myself, but it takes quite a while.
A little rearrangement of my existing setup will give me room to use my manual chair too, something I’ve been putting off for far too long. I’d like to be able to use my powerchair, but while it’s doable, the risk of reversing into something expensive – I’m surrounded by electronics and my TV is vulnerable – is too high. Frankly, though, given how unsuitable this flat is for wheels, I’m getter focusing on reducing the amount of time I spend on my feet in other ways.
Thing is, I do have a suitable table, sans casters, but hey, nothing’s perfect. Trouble is, a large part of the aforementioned electronics are on that table – PC base unit, scanner, router, cordless phone, a whole bunch of external hard drives, plus a hard drive dock, and my UPS unit (no, not the courier company – the Uninterruptible Power Supply – my electrical supply is hinky). Bottom line – it’s staying where it is.
It does, though, give me the dimensions I need to source something I know will suit, height being the most critical.
Height really is critical, at around71cm, but I can’t get close to it. 75cm is as close as I can get and appears to be standard. Doesn’t sound a big difference, but it’s the difference between working comfortably while seated in my chair and, well, not. Something a couple of centimetres lower would be OK, but not higher.
I suppose that I could swap a new table for the one holding my PC and all the other stuff, but it’s a major hassle and one I’d prefer to avoid – no point in squandering energy now to save energy down the line. Last weekend would have been a good time for that, as I had to replace my PC, but the idea hadn’t occurred to me at that point.
So, right now, I’m at an impasse. If I still had a car, I could tour second-hand shops – that’s where I got the one I have now – but doing that with a powerchair is pointless, so for the time being the idea is on hold while I scour the Web for something suitable.
Watch this space…
In fact, I’ve just found something suitable – and cheap – at John Lewis. At 73cm high I can live with that, but it’s 70cm square – right on the limit of what’s feasible, and would need some rearranging of my existing furniture, but unless I can find something smaller, I’m going with this.
Finally, for those who don’t know what a Spoonie is, check out The Spoon Theory.