There's been blog silence for a while.....we've been conserving energy.
Our eagerly anticipated boiler refit - provisionally scheduled to last 1-2 weeks took on the epic qualities of Ben Hur, actually taking 40 days from the day the plug was pulled on Module One until we were finally functioning with full, leak-free central heating and hot water. Divine retribution for our lazy failure to find something easier to give up for Lent?
Although I take a certain pride in being a frost-hardened northerner, I have to admit, the last couple of months have been the most challenging of our time here. However, a handful of interesting life lessons have emerged: 1) cake ingredients will not blend properly if the kitchen is too cold...no matter how much welly you put into mixing them; 2) batteries for the TV remote control go on strike below 3 degrees; and 3) a baked potato is the ONLY food that can ever properly warm you through.
The cold alone, I think we could have managed reasonably well, once our routine of kettle-filling relays, freezing corridor dashes, and fan heater chess kicked in; but the plumbing works themselves were riddled with so many set-backs, delays, mishaps, strokes of bad luck, and worst of all, uncertainties, that we were completely frazzled by the end (and often in the middle). Our heating engineer - a very competent plumber and a great bloke who rode the waves with us, told me that we had become legendary at the local Plumbase.
"Do you think we're going to be featured in 'Plumber's World' as 'Job of the Month'?", I quipped.
"'Plumber's Nightmare' more like", he replied with a wry laugh.
But as I learned from my days as a clinical psychologist, no-one really wants to be the complex case study.
Anyway - here it is.......*
Though time felt as if it stood still during the 'Boilergate' hibernation, there is photographic evidence that restoration life continued on a reasonably positive footing.
We were glad to see our roofer, Antony, back to sort out the source of one of our leaks. The roof line of Briarcourt is one of the features that gives the building real interest, but the zigzag of gables relies on lead valley covers to prevent the water coming in. Unfortunately, lead is one of those materials that is prone to splitting over time and this is the second set of lead repairs Antony's come in to make for us. Anyway, job done and we're largely watertight again.
With spring upon us, we begin to tackle a few more jobs in the garden. Dunc and I work within our designated departments: Power Tools & Lopping, and Planting & Dreaming.
And....we take the first step along the way to getting the mural in the morning room restored. More about this and some exciting Edgar Wood news......
* While I am in the boiler room taking this photo, I make the mistake of looking at the pressure gauge - the needle shows that there's currently less than 1 bar of pressure in the system. Now, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, but I'm sure someone mentioned 1 bar as a lower cut-off point for things working properly......