Ava keeps on improving her little balcony garden bit by bit. We bought some old shelves from the second-hand market the other day, which are now decorated and filled with displays of her plants, flowers and ornaments. It's a tiny balcony, also used for drying clothes and storing ma-in-law's piles of rubbish (which she periodically sells to the rubbish collector for trivial amounts). But even so, I'd say it's looking rather pretty these days.
Jiajiaa's been moaning about the state of our sofa suite for a year or two now and recently found a possible solution online with a company who can provide dyes which can be painted onto leather. So we've spent the last two days cleaning the seat, two-seater and sofa, applying 3 layers of dye and finally a layer of varnish. They have now been transformed from dirty white to light grey (ie I can't tell the difference), but the wife is happy and that's the main thing. I'm a little worried that over time, increasingly large specks of white from underneath will reappear and we'll end up having to buy a new suite (it is a decade old). Maybe that was Ava's plan all along?
After a busy long weekend, I found time today to put our new shoe shelves together. I've never been much good at D.I.Y. so I went slowly (and having assembly instructions in Chinese doesn't lend itself to fast work, anyway!). The first cupboard took an hour, while the second and third took half an hour each. They felt pretty solid by the end - fingers crossed. Jiajia claims her task is tougher - choosing her favourite 70 pairs of shoes to store inside! Her other 50 pairs will have to go in plastic storage boxes elsewhere. I made sure I bagged a shelf for my six pairs first before letting her loose!
I need to be quicker with my camera. Only yesterday I managed to miss potentially classic photos of an electric scooter carrying another electric scooter on its luggage rack, a truck full of water buffalo bumping its way down my road, and a restaurant specialising in frog hotpot.
Instead, I've had to make do with this shop's unique signs, wishing us a Merry Christmas (in late April) and declaring themselves to be closed at "pm9: 00-am9: 00"!? This was the shop where Jiajia and I finally decided to buy our new wardrobes ...until we went back to one further shop and plumped for theirs instead. After visiting five furniture stores, we've finally settled for the very first wardrobes we saw, some two months ago. Isn't that always the way?
Fun and games last night in the Zhu household as a truckload of furniture arrived - yes, Jiajia's been buying stuff again! Having trailed around multiple furniture shops in Kunming, Jiajia spotted what she really wanted while in Shenzhen, bought it on the spot and arranged for it to be shipped to Kunming. She got a heavily discounted price, of course, and it is good quality stuff. Matching crockery too! The delivery man and I managed to lug it all up two flights of steps and into the flat (inflicting minor damage ...oops!) and then we unpacked and assembled it all.
The old table was then removed (with me smashing the glass top in the process ...it was heavy!). But the bedroom table was too large and heavy to get up the staircase. We are going to try and get some local workers to lift it over the balcony rail with ropes! Now that doesn't sound dangerous, does it?
Jiajia and I spent an hour today (it seemed longer) at Kunming's fake Ikea store! We were looking for wardrobes for when I move into Ava's flat later in the year. Ava was very methodical - measuring the height, width and depth of all the likely contenders and ensuring the colour schemes coordinated well. My role was just to open the doors and check the storage space! Prices were at western levels but the quality seemed quite good and they deliver and fit them. So now we're saving our pennies!
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