I realise that I have not shared some of the fun bits of this project, in particular such items as designing our dream kitchen; giving Tom the dog his own wash station in the utility room; and choosing items such as flooring, tiling, taps etc. So this is the first of a number of instalments on the design aspects of the project.
Working with Debbie I have spent a lot of time on the interior design aspects of the project. We have been discussing kitchens and bathrooms with Porcelanosa a Spanish company that started off in tile manufacturing and then expanded into kitchens, bathrooms and other home decor aspects. After one of our visits to their showroom in Southhampton they were so interested in our project that they invited us on an all expenses paid visit to their headquarters in Spain so that we could see the full range of their products. https://www.porcelanosa.com/uk/
The visit to Porcelanosa was a bit of a logistical challenge as at that time I was not very mobile. I was provided with a wheel chair to navigate through the the airport and realised how invisible you are in that situation. To an extent this is due to the fact you are out of the eye-line of people who are standing so they literally do talk over your head. However I also realised how unnerving it is to navigate through crowds at knee height, particularly when they are all rushing in different directions with large trolleys and suitcases. In the end I had to resort to using my walking stick as a flag and a pointer to let people know I was there in order to stop them crashing into me or tripping over me.
The Porcelanosa site is outside of the town of Villarreal in Valencia. As you drive from the airport you suddenly see ahead in the dry, dusty landscape a huge sign saying PORCELANOSA behind which there is a series of pristine white buildings emerging from the arid ground – all identical in size and shape. The aesthetic is bold, stark and dramatic. The PORCELANOSA GROUP is made up of eight different companies. They each had a separate factory and showroom, only distinguishable by the signs as you get close to them. Each showroom is the size of a large B&Q centre, so you get to see virtually every product in every range – and most as part of large displays so you can see and feel how different products will look in situ.
We spent 2 days looking around the Porcelanosa empire and to be honest by the end were overwhelmed by the vast array of products and the strikingly beautiful simplicity of a lot of the items.
However the absolute highlight of the visit was the food! Porcelanosa have two separate in-house restaurants which served food of an exceptional standard, the quality and service would not have been out of place in a Michelin starred restaurant. Lunch was a simple three course affair, followed by coffee and accompanied by some excellent wines. For dinner we were escorted into the town of Villarreal to discover typical Valencian cuisine. This was less subtle than the fine dining in the factories but had a rustic charm and honesty that made it a perfect balance of the sophistication of the former. I did however struggle with the quantities and very heavy meat bias the first night – the second evening I was able to secure more vegetables and fish in smaller volumes which was all together more digestible.
I came away with lots of ideas – in particular a real sense of the “feeling of light” that I want to achieve in the main downstairs areas and since have found some Porcelanosa products that will help me to deliver these. Debbie and I hope to be able to finalise some of these ideas in the coming week and then I should be able to share some of them on this blog for comments and advice.
Turning now to My Left Foot. I finally got the MRI scan results back on Thursday. When the accident first happened the para medics and doctors were amazed that I did not break any bones in my leg/foot, particularly given that the left foot was fully braced down on the clutch when the impact happened at over 90 miles per hour. However the MRI scan revealed that in fact there was a fracture but it was inside one of the major bones in the foot, the Talus, this connects the ankle to the Tibular and Fibular. The fracture was internal so could not be picked up by x-ray and has resulted in gross structural disturbance along the posterior part of this bone. There is persisting bone oedema (bruising) which can take up to 2 years to clear depending on the severity of the bruising.
We are waiting to see if continued physio will help with managing this injury and enable me to recover full ankle flexibility. If it doesn’t the next step will be injections under x-ray and if that too fails then possibly (worse case scenario) an operation. However they say that if the other interventions do not work then an operation is not likely to be successful and I will have to adapt to a permanent injury in the ankle…. Not great news but I am walking more, being careful not to jar the foot and as long as I can walk in the country life’s not so bad. And at least the enforced wheel chair outing gave me some experience should I ever need it for using a mobility scooter in the future – as long as it has 4-wheel drive and a very loud horn!!