Mandy, of The Complete Cookbook, asked about the furniture in the background of my photograph in yesterday’s post.

Our house was built in 1942 and inhabited by the same family until we bought it four years ago. The kitchen was too vile to describe and I had it completely gutted. A local carpenter built all my (freestanding) furniture to my specifications, using reclaimed oregon pine floorboards from demolished local houses.

It’s not a state-of-the-art kitchen, but it is true to the historical period of the house and it is the room where I am happiest.

Thinking about the original owners, I am reminded of a previously blogged about encounter …

When you live in the same house for 62 years, it is inevitable that mail will continue to arrive long after you move away, despite the best efforts to let everyone have your new address.

So it was with Mrs. S when Mr. S died and she sold this house and moved away to live with her daughter. When mail arrived here for Mrs. S, most of it was clearly junk mail and I simply threw it away, but one day there was what appeared to be a personal letter and I felt that I should try to get it to her. None of the neighbours had a contact number for her, or knew where the daughter lives; they’d never been on visiting terms with the S family.

S is an unusual surname; I found only three listings in the directory. The third one I dialed proved successful and a maid answered and asked me to hold while she fetched ‘Granny’. After a long wait, I almost dropped the receiver when an abrasive voice shouted loudly in my ear.


Oh, hello Mrs. S. My name is Cindy Taylor and we bought your old house.


I’m calling from your old house in Parkview. Are you Ida S? I’ve tried all the phone book listings for S.




Oh dear, I have some mail …


No Mrs. S, I said MAIL.


Are you sure?


I open it and it is a letter of solicitation for funds for a Jewish Orphanage, I tell her.


I will Mrs. S, thank you so much for your time.


Horrible, rude old thing


58 Comments Add yours

  1. tee hee! snort! funny ms. S.

    (other than laughing, i’m ogling your fine taste, reclaimed wood! and furniture.)

    1. theonlycin says:

      I can laugh recalling it, but was quite cross at the time 😉

  2. What a riot, Cin! It sort of reminds me of a call that came to my Mom just days after my Dad died. She handed the phone to me when she heard what they wanted, because she didn’t really feel like talking to whoever it was. When i got on the line and they asked for my Dad, I said he’s not here at the moment, but I would give him the message, and their telephone number. I closed with saying, that if he returns the call, make sure he doesn’t try and reverse the phone charges, because the bill would cost an arm and a leg, but if they get a letter from him, save the stamps – they should be worth a fortune!

    1. theonlycin says:

      ROTFLMAO, Paula, you’re too funny 🙂

  3. deepercolors says:

    Some days it just doesn’t pay to be nice. :-\

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, if I think back to what I could have said … :-/

  4. eeek. She’s probably pretty deaf, and her marbles may be rolling around looking for places to rest.

    Your kitchen is a lovely room

    I see EAT is now on the wall, I must pop in for some merlot and to bring you the money I owe you (and the work I spoke about)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Come for supper after work, I have a new recipe and need a taster 🙂

  5. adeeyoyo says:

    Poor Mrs S is as deaf as a doorpost, but at least you found her.

    Love Oregon pine!

  6. Griet says:

    Bawhahaha! thank you for the Friday morning laugh – even made Hubby smile (Grumpy) – Next time I visit JHB I want a cup of coffee in your kitchen.
    Happy Friday

    1. theonlycin says:

      For sure, Griet, I’ll cook supper for you too 🙂

  7. Cindy, thank you for the mention – it clearly helps being inquisitive. 😉
    Thank you too for sharing more of your beautiful kitchen. It’s easy to see why you are the happiest there.
    As for Mrs S – oh dear!
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m glad you asked about it, Mandy 🙂 xxx

  8. nrhatch says:

    I love your kitchen.

    Not surprising that its the happiest room in your house with all the tantalizing aromas and tastes wafting through it.

    When I get old, I shall probably be just like Mrs. S ~ hard of hearing, short tempered, and a bit muddle minded. 😎

    1. theonlycin says:

      Me too, probably 😉

  9. Madmom says:

    Eek! I’m already a Mrs S in the making – I’m getting grumpy in my old age!
    Love your kitchen.
    I have a huge bookcase made from oregon pine doors – beautiful.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Madmom, I love any natural wood 🙂

  10. Supa says:

    I remember the post about Mrs S 🙂 You kitchen is lovely, wish I could re-do mine.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Mrs S was very orthodox in her religion, I’ve been told, but her old kitchen was horribly dirty, I had to replace it.

  11. leigh says:

    YELLOW? pink….

    1. theonlycin says:

      Lemon cardigan today 😀

  12. granny1947 says:

    Stunning kitchen,my friend…so YOU!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, my friendy, hopefully you’ll sit in it some day.

  13. What charmingly delightful furniture! And the idea of giving old floorboards another chance at life; wonderful!

    I LOVE the story about Mrs S. How Hilarious!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Pesto Princess 😀

  14. That feels like home!!! I love it.
    I think we all get rude and groggy when we get old. Shame. I bet you never called again after that. Haha.

    1. theonlycin says:

      No, I never called again and since then I have opened any mail that arrives for her … maybe someone will send her lots and lots of money *wink*

  15. Your kitchen is gorgeous! I love the cabinet with all the books.

    As for the phone conversation, I am inspired to blog about something similar 🙂

    Have a super weekend! xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      LMAO, read your post 😉

  16. Owwhhh, I want cupboards like that where you can see all your favourite dishes.
    Too funny…. Mrs S sounds a scream….. good on you for tracking her down though…, shame she was a dud – horrible rude thing 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I quite regret not having all the cupboards open, including my grocery one, so much better to see everything at a glance 🙂

  17. James says:

    Hilarious. I too get mail for a lot of the tenants in my house that have since moved on. Unlike solicitations, this mail is usually important stuff like exam results, DMV notices, tax returns and bank statements. Why my former neighbours fail to inform important departments such as these of their new address is beyond my reckoning.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I also fail to understand it.

  18. bandsmoke says:

    Great story (miserable tart though) ;-)and a stunning kitchen, I’m dreaming of free standing units – maybe when I grow up 🙂 Hope you’re having a fab day, still boiling in KZN 😦

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s bloody hot here too :O Enjoy your weekend.

  19. Tes says:

    Wow your kitchen is really lovely…I love that it is filled with history and memory 🙂
    When my sister and I moved to an apartment where we study in bangkok 10 years ago… on the first day, we got a phone call asking for the previous owner… apparently the girl wanted to break up with the man who used to live there… it’s miserably funny 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh that is funny, Tes. He evidently also wanted to break up with the girl if he moved away without telling her. LOL!

  20. SuziCate says:

    This is hilarious!

  21. slpmartin says:

    Ah such a good story to go with my morning coffee. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hope the smile last the day 🙂

  22. Tokeloshe says:

    You have a beautiful space!

    Great story 😉

  23. bb(adair) says:

    Love your kitchen.It is the most important room in the house.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I agree, adair 🙂

  24. Your kitchen is a masterpiece! I love the shelves for your pots and pans!

    The phone conversation is too funny! Your fundraising! She was indeed a rude old thing, and not too confused to throw in an insult dressed as a blessing, it seems. You were kind to make the call. Blessings to you, Cindy…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bless you too, Carol, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. xxx

  25. Colleen says:

    When I look upon the beauty that is thine kitchen I am rendered speechless….and a little green tinge appears around the gills.. Excellent post. Love that story of old Mrs S… 🙂 Love you xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Come to my kitchen and cook with me, Colly, wouldn’t that be fun?

  26. I love your beautiful kitchen 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, Kate, I’m very fortunate 😀

  27. Tandy says:

    for sure Ida was confused! cannot wait to spend time in the kitchen 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Me too, not long now 😀

  28. What a gorgeous kitchen you have, Cindy. Love it. And that’s a hilarious story about Ida S, she sounds like a treat.
    Love the new look blog – sorry for not being around much lately.
    Sunshine xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Why so scarce, Sunshine? xxx

  29. Jamie Dedes says:

    Ha! I guess we have to give the elderly some space for the crochets.

    Lovely kitchen. Well done.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m sure I’ll be a real grumper as I age 😀

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