Monday, June 5, 2017

What I'm Looking Forward to in England #1 - A Draining Board

As part of my American husband's visa application, we had to have accommodation set up at the time he applied rather than at the time of our arrival. (That is to say, it had to be all organized rather than actually be rented/bought, although try getting someone to rent you something three months off.) So we have already been to our new house and had a good look round.

It's a nice townhouse in a community full of international families which will be a great landing point for us, and particularly for the Boy (now 14, and taller than me). Most of the rooms are a good size and the kitchen has a large fridge, which brought a sigh of relief. For me however, it was the draining board that's built into the sink unit. Oh yes! While the Ball & Chain was checking out the size of the closets and looking in vain for the air conditioning thermostat, I remained entranced, staring out of the kitchen window, and running my hand lovingly along that oh-so-missed stainless steel work of art. It's the little things.

It's very unusual in the US to have a draining board at all. In my old house I had Corian counter tops installed almost purely because they can carve a draining board and sink all out of the same piece of material. Seamless drainage! If you find a built-in draining board in the USA at all, it'll look something like this, rather than the one that comes with the sink unit itself. 

Or this, which was a bit like mine. 

 For the most part in the US, when installing kitchens, the workers install the counter top, cut a big hole where the sink is going, and drop the sink unit into the hole. The sink unit, however, usually involves a minimum of two sinks and that's it. No draining board. There's not a lot of hand-washing that goes on, to be honest, but when it does it's purgatory for those of us brought up with proper draining boards.

Often, people will hand wash and rinse items, place a towel of some sort on the counter top then lie the wet pots or dishes on top. If, like for me, that's just plain irritating, you can purchase something like this -
Actually, that's a fairly posh one. Mine looks more like this -
And because they're not the prettiest of things, and take up room, they are supposed to be stored away under the sink when not in use. You think that ever happens?

So yes, my built in draining board will be one of those things that most people take for granted, but not me. At least for a while. 
Aaaah! 


13 comments:

  1. I'm in the UK right now and enjoying draining boards.
    I wish I could say I am also enjoying airing cupboards. But they seem to be in short supply these days.

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    1. Although one of my friends has recently installed a drying cupboard. The water heater isn't in there but the shelves are all heated so your clothes dry anyway! Sounds fab.

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  2. Built in drain board! I grew up with one but lost all memory of it when I moved to the US. You just reminded me!

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    1. I know right? A sad loss. You can buy them in the USA but they are extortionate.

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  3. Isn't it funny what we take for granted over here - however, I couldn't imagine life without my draining board!!

    PS - just noticed your new header - in a way it makes me a little sad because I've always known you as "Expat Mum" but very excited that we might actually meet at some point again!!

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    1. I think I can stay "Expat Mum" because I'm also going to be an expat American (citizen). Believe me, the re-entry is going to be strange. And yes to a meet-up somewhere. Deffo.

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  4. I have lived in the UK for over 30 years. Never gave a thought to how lucky I am to have a built in draining board! It is truly the little things that bring joy!

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  5. What?! This is a real thing? Now I want one.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck in the USA. I just googled them and they're in the very high hundreds for some reason.

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  6. Our first house (in the USA) was built in 1908 and still maintained its original cast-iron enamelled kitchen sink - complete with built-in draining board - but our other US houses (built in the *ahem* modern era and in different states) didn't have them. I have always had either a plastic or metal dish drainer that lives on the counter next to the sink - and I never put it away under the sink either - nor did anyone else I knew. I did have one college roommate, who hailed from Syracuse and was an advocate of the 'tea towel next to the sink' method - but she was most definitely the exception. So maybe it's a regional thing in the USA. On a related note I would like to know whether in your years in the USA you have used a 'washing-up bowl'? So many of my British friends have these - sort of a squarish Rubbermaid-type tub that fits in the sink and that they do their washing up in - instead of using the sink itself as the container. After the dishes are done, the 'bowl' (which I believe many North Americans would refer to as a 'tub' but I could be wrong) is rinsed out and drained itself (either upside down in the sink or on the draining board.) The manager of the Oxfam shop where I volunteer is Italian, and she and I have discussed this as another one of those quirky English things - but I don't know how prevalent it really is...care to shed some light?

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    1. I agree. It's a bit odd. I never had a bowl, except for one house where the sink was enormous.

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  7. Enjoy your draining board!

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The more the merrier....

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