Bits of last week were horribly unpleasant. Not as unpleasant as 6 hours on the English Channel in a Force 10 gale, but pretty nasty.
We have been getting rid of our central heating. It’s oil fired, and though it’s in pretty good nick, the radiators are too small for our rooms, and who wants a noisy, smelly boiler in their living room, especially one that caused one visitor to ask why we kept our washing machine in the corner of the room?
So it had to go. We had a keep-fit session that involved our manoeuvring a hundred kilos of boiler out into the garage, while before that, Mal had been curled up in impossible positions on the floor cutting away all the copper piping, then chopping it into lengths suitable to fling out of an upstairs window into the yard below.
The boiler dismissed, we had a large chimney to block off. That was my job (unskilled, you see). Head stuck up the bottom part of the chimney: it fitted rather well, like an oversized sombrero, and with little room to move. I tried to manoeuvre wads of lining and insulating material into place. Every time I touched the chimney, about a pound of gritty, oily soot fell down, covering my head (which I’d not thought to cover), sliding down my collar to coat my skin beneath my clothes, and the clothes too of course. I inhaled soot, chewed soot, was hailed on by small chunks of masonry. What kept me feeling even slightly fortunate was the fact that I wasn’t a skinny little 18th century child chimney sweep who’d actually have to climb up that chimney, and others like it, day after day.
Anyway, the pipes are done, most of the radiators are out, and that space in the living room is liberated. And, despite the dustsheets, dirty. Just now, the tame joiner (Malcolm) is shelving it out as a bookcase and log store. If you think that sounds fairly easy, you still haven’t registered that there are no 90-degree angles in this house, no straight runs of wall, and spirit levels don’t know what to make of our floor.