83. the one with the fire

in my absence since my last post(s), i’ve just been doing a lot of mind-blogging.
i want to write stuff – but i haven’t had time or i’ve been too tired ‘n headachey to sit here – so i “write” in my head while i’m doing busy work, and i frequently look at things and imagine that i’d take pictures (if i had my camera to hand) and write about that stuff too.

it’s been a busy few months. especially inside of my brain.

but now i’ve reached a point where i feel like i can’t start 2014 properly until i’ve tidied up from 2013. so here:

(***and so that i can elicit maximum sympathy, it’s important for you to remember that all of these things were going on at the same time)

1. i was determined to stop sewing-work on november 1st so i’d have plenty of leisurely time to complete all of the other things i had to do… but as soon as i’d packed my machines away, i had loads of new ideas.
and with so many other things to avoid…
calm 01

… i kept working & didn’t hang up my sewing hands until december 18th.

2. one of my very BFFs was in the UK for a couple of months so we wanted to squeeze in as much time together as we could *tick*
tea, chat, reminisces, films, late nights, lolz, wine, pub meals, belper’s winter food fair, more pub… *tick tick tick*

3. i seem to have contracted (crazy/senile/deaf/needy)collie-induced insomnia <– i feel qualified to make that medical diagnosis having watched seasons 1 – 8 of House, MD in 6 short weeks.
after enduring months & months of 2-hour bursts of sleeps i’m awfully tired and not always in the sunniest of moods (haha).
we’re still best pals though – she’s absolutely my favourite person ever :)
christmas collie

4. diy stuff. the main event. the end-of-year thing i’d been avoiding most.

old woodburner

after looking at this dusty, rusty monstrosity for 5+ years we could finally afford to replace it.

i’ve been tripping over that stupid hearth & looking at its stupid, ugly (badly fitted) broken tiles EVERY DAY.
hoovering up falling soot & Bits from the badly fitted fitted flue EVERY WEEK.
wet dusting each dimpled surface and stupid claw foot (erm.. LESS OFTEN) to keep the dust allergy at bay.
scowling at the maroon lead-painted patchwork of… of…? i don’t even know what the fuck was going on at the back.
and spiders! so many spiders in all of the rough and the holes.
old flue

the whole fireular area has been offending my eyes daily for the last 5 years AND WE COULDNT EVEN USE THE FIRE.

smashing things up is always really good fun for the first 3 or 4 hours
fire 2

but then there’s awkward bits and hurty wrists and hammer-smashed knuckles and terrified collie and so much dust and then clean up. and then more clean up. and then getting everything bagged up & outside. and practising pathetic-face so the man delivering the skip takes pity on you…

after the old fire was out,
no fire

we spent daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaays brick cleanering & scrubbering (the original brickwork was in a very bad state so it was very much an exercise in turd-polishin’).

and then more dust (old hearth 1 – sds drill 0)

and then more days cleaning & scrubbering and filling holes and repointing brickwork until we were ready for the professionals…

new flue

who were awesome; hard working and tidy, and good humoured about stepping in anakin’s little “gifts”
new fire
(if you look closely you can probably still see dog shit under his boots)

finally they were all done :)
and here she is, all $leek and gorg£ou$, ready for her maiden fire, ready for
holly woodburner

5. christmas

shame about the rest of the room (work in progress)
self pity saturday


24 thoughts on “83. the one with the fire

  1. Ooooooo, loving your new fire. Looks like Anakin does too as she is on guard nearby. Think we probably had an old coal fired range thingy in our living room once. Sadly it has been replaced by a teeny tiny victorianish bedroom fireplace. Looks a bit weird. Nice but weird. Not sure what to do about it. Wood burner would be lovely but would stick out too far so we might have to keep the weird one.

    • Can’t guarantee unfortunately but I predict that if you can be bothered to take the bedroom fireplace out, you may well find a much larger chimney, blocked up, down scaled fire place recess. We had similar in our old house and husband bashed out 31 (yes – thirty-one!) barrow loads of rubble. But you just never know…
      I’ve very much missed your blogs…welcome back *holds out open arms*….

      • i’ve missed you being here, G.*emotional cuddle*

        hey, i think Patch should have a little exploratory poke about and see what’s behind there. we’ve often (“often” because we’ve done it so many bloody times :/) found big old arched chimney thingys behind little gas fires. go on! PLUS 1 on the ginormous diy jobs for you :D

    • Hey Patch, you can get woodburners that are “built-in”… they sit inside the fireplace opening, instead of standing in front of the wall. Don’t know if that will help, but thought I’d mention it (how do I know? because we’ve just put in a multi-fuel stove, so I was doing lots of research…). Anyway, if Weird stops being Nice, then you may have other options. :-)

  2. Also weirdly, there is no chimney breast. Ok, will add it to the bottom of the huge and ever growing list of DIY things what need doing. Note that said bottom of list….. Which we may never get to ;)

  3. Looove the new woodburner! And the fireplace. Hope you manage to finish that other-wall-stuff fairly soon. Good that you’ve got it done before really coooold weather.
    We are so pleased with our stove and we’re learning (the hard way) how to light it, get it to stay alight and about the right fuel etc. Problems with our “seasoned” logs – they may not be as seasoned as they should be. Bought coal, but it wasn’t really the right kind… Have had to clean the glass twice, because of tarry covering – which of course means the tar is also in the body of the burner and possibly also the flue (!)… But we are learning. I hope you have had some good “woodburner lessons” from your fitters and will have more success than we’ve had so far!

    I know what you mean about “all of the other things” that have to be done. My “to do list” is ever lengthening… it’s difficult to sort out which urgent or important job to do first… The Boy seems to suffer most from my being over-busy and that really sucks. I want to do lots of stuff, but I’m so tired out and struggling to keep up. He has his mock GCSE’s this month, so I’m determined he’ll have support from me as much as possible, even if it means his Grandma has to accept “short hours” from me sometimes. Hopefully, it’ll be less hard for a while now, as we’ve pretty much finished the building project. Still, there are 2 tax returns to complete before the end of the month… I think those had better be at the top of the Urgent list!

    Wishing you a great 2014, with less stress than last year and plenty of success with your work and home-fixing-up projects. XXX

    • this time last year, we had no ceiling / insulation downstairs, and no fire – what a difference this winter! :)

      we’re using the ‘certainly wood’ logs at the moment – they’re very burny! – but will go back to ‘free’ wood as soon as we get sorted. we tend to empty the crap drawer & clean the glass on a monday, and just have fires at the weekend, but it does need doing a lot :/
      our guy did say about getting the chimney swept regularly because of crap build up in the flue… think we’ll probably do it once before winter and once after in the Future. do you have a carbon monoxide thingy???

      and thankyou for good 2014 wishes! the same to you – i hope your business continues to grow, and that you manage to get the mythical work/life balance right! xxx

      • Yes we have a CO monitor – it was included with the flue pipes as its part of building regs now.
        How often do you need to get the chimney swept? I was going to ask the sweep to come in spring/ early summer – should he come sooner?
        Thanks for the good wishes; I’m not sure about ‘work/life balance’ – I think it’s my Life/Life Balance that I need to sort out! X

      • also in building regs… do you have a 5cm ventilation hole in a wall per every 1kw of oomph over 5kw of output of your fire? (or something) (what a load of rubbish!)
        The Man said chimney sweeping depends on how often you use your fire… but then we got distracted by a conversation about putting unemployed under25s up the chimney as victorian style children sweeps and it all got a bit silly…

  4. My parents have a wood burner & are constantly having to turn then remove my 10 & 9 year old German Shorthaired Pointer girls from in front of it when they start to smoulder. They just love it & try to push each other out the way to get closest to it. I bet a certain crazy collie loves it!!

    • haha! i can imagine they keep your folks VERY busy!

      crazy collie is faaaar more interested in the great big piles of “sticks” in the log store – took us longer than it should’ve done to work out why we kept finding them out on the hearth! x

  5. (ppssssst – how can Patch have a chimney behind/under a shower? How can that be? Me no understandy…..)
    (aaaaannnd – you know that photo, up there || – stupid laptop has no up arrow symbols – duh – with bashed wall plaster behind the sofa? I thought, very stupidly, that that was the hole you discovered the fireplace recess behind. Not just a wall with bashed plaster.)
    (I rest my case. I am a lost cause.)

    • we have WIERD houses!
      due to not wanting the listed-building-police to see, i’ve had to keep some photos secret…. so although you thought wrong in that ^ case, you should see some of the ‘recesses’ we’ve uncovered!
      hmmm. i wonder if there’s a way of sneaky secret-blogging for one…

  6. I do love reading your posts, they make our house sound and look finished in a magazine presentable kind of way – ha ha (it’s so not!). I’m dreaming of getting our fire done since I my 3 year begging has worked and I’m now allowed a log burner, at the moment, we just fitted (loosely and not in a way that we can use it) an old fire surround my sister didn’t want. It looks quite pretty but I would like to actually light a fire once in a while! Good luck with the rest of the room, it’ll all be great when it’s done. Bethxx

    • i always feel like we’re living the same lives (well, house ‘n business -wise) but in parallel universes.
      and you’re the calm, orderly, sophisticated, clean, organised one.
      tcho! fancy styling your hair on christmas day – i didn’t even bra up that month ;)

      • no, I definitely rock the bag lady look most days, but my family always dressed up for christmas day (new outfits and all) so I did….I was the only one! I must admit, my only tick is I hate being in my pj’s long in the mornings, I like to get dressed quickly, but it rarely (never) involves hair or make-up. you are right on the parallel universe, except I have an ageing cat (16) who leaves vomit piles instead of A’s little ‘gifts’. xx

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