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A Door Handle

This door handle is an allegory of the evolution of living quality at the barracks.

When I moved in, the Barracks kitchen had a hob for cooking on. It took a while to find out how to turn it on, and even longer to get used to turning it off, but it was good for cooking. At the end of the first year, I made 20-something jars of tomatoes for the winter.

In the second year, I had my first volunteers. We started cooking in here more frequently.

Water was brought in by jerry can, and waste water was carried, stinking, outside and thrown over the potatoes.

Mice found the kitchen and we had to keep the door closed. There was no handle, and an elaborate slide-and-slam manoeuvre was developed to close it. Opening the door involved finding something appropriate to stick in the hole. It was probably on the floor somewhere.

In the dark.

Half way through the second year, I bought a small oven. This changed everything, and made it considerably easier to cook for 8 to 10 people. Also drying fruit and tomatoes became an option. The volunteers who came before this time never experienced baked goods. Now we enjoy bread, cinnamon rolls and other doughy delights daily.

During the winter of the second year, I fixed the plumbing so that you could pour waste water down the drain. Washing up, and clothes washing, are now still somewhat restricted by the amount of water available, but no-one coming after this time has had to empty brown water after cleaning the dishes. Mopping is now also possible, due to the unblocking of the sluice in the floor.

This year, I have added more coking utensils, we made dishcloths, and this week, we have added a real door handle.

It both opens and closes the door, it works from both sides and it helps to keep the mices out.


And I think I am finally ready to fix the running water.

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1 Comment

Alice Morwen
Alice Morwen
Aug 09, 2021

Phew! I still remember being stuck in that kitchen for half an hour shouting for someone anyone to rescue me until I rescued myself with a pair of scissors!

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