Ebay Addiction…

The week has mainly be spent doing evening trips up the scaffolding to check on chimney progress. This image shows the old chimney with it’s worrying right lean, and the rebuilt version, straight and crowned with the pot we bought a couple of weeks ago.
I wonder what the chimney pot’s last view was like? It’s stuck with this one now.

20140629-172941-62981291.jpg The main chimney has been a nightmare for the builders to get back up complete with decorative brickwork, but they perservered and after a few false starts it’s up all but the last couple of courses.

20140629-173120-63080621.jpg We’ve had several compliments on our chimneys this week from passers by, people are obviously taking more notice of our project than I thought! After buying the chimney pot, and one or two other bits, We are it seems addicted to Ebay and possibly in need of therapy. Here is what we bought this week…

20140629-165436-60876462.jpg An antique toilet door lock, yes, we’ll soon be charging visitors to ‘spend a penny’, these renovations won’t pay for themselves you know! Our scheme will not commence until the cloakroom has been decorated, it’s a bit much charging in it’s current state. We also collected the bench we bought last weekend…

20140629-164059-60059592.jpg We collected it from a lovely couple who had bought it from an antique shop about 20 years ago, they were glad to know it would be going to a new home, which as they put it, would look after it for the next person. It will sit at the top of our stairs for a while, folk can sit on it while they wait for the bathroom, there won’t be a charge for the upstairs convenience. Inside the house Dennis has been cracking on with the plastering and we’ve been round the kitchen with a mist coat, it’s really starting to look different. This shows the alcove that used to be the vestibule at the top of the hall and is now the cubby at the bottom of the kitchen…

20140629-182030-66030695.jpgIt’s since had a wall knocked down, a window put in, plaster taken off, damp proofing put in, plaster putting back on and the mirror (that funnily enough I got from Ebay) hanging. We also got this huge champagne cork side table / stool type thing (which was not from Ebay, but would have been had A friend not appeared with it – thanks Lizzie!) Finally for this week, we enjoyed our first crop of home grown potatoes and finally got a doorbell, thanks Dad!

The Great Brick Hunt…

I didn’t do my usual weekend blog last week, as…well, we didn’t do any work! Saturday was a road trip to Stoke to pick up the chimney pot we bought on Ebay the previous week, on the way we stopped at five, yes five, reclamation yards. I couldn’t believe there were so many in such a small area while Googling, and felt sure at least one or two would be goners, but no, I can confirm, all open for business. I wondered if the industrial downturn contributed to the area becoming a bit of a reclamation hotbed, it saddened me to see all the disused potteries, once home to master craftsmen whose wares were transported all over the world, but now unloved, left to decay…much like the glass cones in our home town.20140620-222713-80833895.jpgI regret not buying these glazed bricks from the first yard, they would have been a nice feature in the garden somewhere, but alas, I stayed focused on my mission…Find bricks for chimney rebuild!

The other three yards failed to inspire and we got bored of looking at bricks and decided the builder could put the dodgy ones out of view. I almost had my fill of looking at antiques, but then we arrived at Les Oakes, they don’t have a website, but you’ll find them on Facebook.

20140620-224130-81690590.jpg This is a gem of a place, a little like reclamation-Narnia. The collection is housed in several surreal barns, built fairly recently but bejewelled with stunning period windows, plaques, pediments…and anything else of interest the builders could lay their hands on. Their stock includes an amazing collection of, well, everything really! A lot of it is in the dark, and dusty, but that’s how it should be, there’s an air of special things lurking there. We left with a chair, awestruck.

20140621-204119-74479653.jpg The chair is intended to be one of our dining chairs, it may or may not make it into the final line up, but we’ll certainly be back at Les Oakes yard, frequently to pick up some of their fabulous furniture. Last stop, we collected the pot. Back at the ranch, some flowers have managed to raise their heads above the dreaded weeds. I love these poppies…

And I’m pretty damn smug about this rambling rose, how very British summertime! It’s laden with beautifully scented buds and is magical in the evening with the fairy lights twinkling away.

I’ll leave you with a couple of views from atop the scaffolding, our wobbly roof, and even wobblier chimney, a little more about these next time.



Rain Stops Play…

What a week! It’s been a non-stop but fun few days. Starting on Thursday evening I took a cookery glass learning to make Dosa at the Loaf Community Bakery & Cookery School. It was great fun and I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to make the five dishes which we learned at home… One day. There was also the opportunity to purchase some of their ridiculously good bread, the sourdough is amazing and I’ll be on another class soon to learn how to make that!
Friday evening was tidy up and prep night. Boo. But we had the Dosas for dinner. Yay!
Saturday morning was set to see the arrival of Dennis the plasterer and the scaffold guys, the rain and wind were so bad the scaffold got pushed back until Sunday. One out of three ain’t bad, and Dennis got the lounge finished and rough coated the hall. It’s good to see the back of those holes! 20140610-194014-70814820.jpgRonnie filled holes in the kitchen ceiling. My dad painted the cloakroom. I peeled paint off the library ceilng rose, it needs a little more attention, but it’s difficult to know when to stop given that we’ll eventually be admiring it from eight feet below, rather than eight inches below, atop the ladder. The difference is quite dramatic, who’d have thought such detail lay below the gloop?

20140610-195657-71817991.jpgI also peeled paint off the stools we bought at the flea market, then waxed the seats (I may have used a tiny bit off wood dye to give the new wood a little, erm, heritage!) I’m really pleased with the results, a nice little bargain!

The scaffold guys arrived on Sunday morning and spent the whole day erecting the scaffold up to the chimneys. These pictures show it from the side and front elevations.


I planned to climb up to have a good look around, but was only brave enough to go onto the first staging. Ronnie clambered up and descended looking a worried man, not because of the dizzy heights, but because of the state of the roof. There are holes and dodgy slates everywhere. The ridge tiles are all in place, so that’s one positive.

20140610-200224-72144756.jpg The builder is due to start tomorrow rebuilding both chimneys. He’ll be taking them down, cleaning off the bricks and rebuilding, hopefully straighter! Once that’s done we have to climb up the scaffolding and drop down chimney liners, and ‘pop’ this crowning glory (yet another Ebay purchase) on the top, eek!


The sun has got his hat on…

The sun has been out this weekend, and so have we, we may, therefore be slightly behind schedule. Oh well! We went on a drive into the countryside to see what we might find, and this is what we found…

20140518-115853-43133021.jpg This little Victorian cupboard, he needs a bit of a make-over but will be useful.

20140518-120247-43367258.jpg These potential kitchen floor tiles, not the anticipated slate, but they have scope, samples ordered so we’ll review when they arrive.

20140518-121117-43877358.jpg This plate, which I later realised I was drawn to as my Grandma had a matching jardiniere and this dinky kitchen weight, which I have no use for what so ever. We also had the nice man from the local wood reclamation shop come round to price up renovating our front door and fireplaces, we’ll be booking him in shortly.

20140518-122448-44688845.jpg Guys have also been round to quote on rebuilding the chimneys, I’m adamant that the front one should be rebuilt as it currently is, complete with brick patterns.

20140518-122447-44687893.jpg The back one (which makes me feel a little sick whenever I look at it) is easier. We had planned to leave these until we do the roof and loft conversion to save on scaffolding costs, but doing the chimneys now means we can drop liners down and take the library and lounge fireplaces to conclusion which will be super. Finally I’ve had a profitable week selling some old furniture on Ebay, creating some space and adding to my dining table fund! As much as we’d love to spend the rest of the afternoon lazing in the sun, we need to get hallway prepped for plasterers to quote. No rest for the renovater!