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.



This weeks news…

This week has been a mixed bag, most notably the electrician has been and finally connected the extractor and hob! Hurrah! The bad news is that it failed to occur to us that our pans wouldn’t work with an induction hob…fail!

20140510-211914.jpg We had intended to spend the afternoon getting the last teeny-tiny bits of wallpaper off in the hall in readiness for the plasterers to start, unfortunately about another ton of plaster came off, depressing…we thought we were past that stage. The silver lining was that we found the old servants bell system! “Ding Ding, might you come and clean the plaster up please?!”

20140510-212554.jpg We (I) have also sorted out the Kitchen fittings, so everything now has it’s place…

20140510-213135.jpg Ikea drawer fitting, the baking drawer.

Another Ikea fitting, cleaning drawer.

20140510-213310.jpg Ikea drawer fitting and genius lid rack, admittedly less useful now I’ve had to throw out all of the pans, minor hitch. The freshly painted pantry now holds most of our provisions, storage solutions include Ikea mini shelves, tin rack (Ebay, from USA), can holder (for essential Diet Coke storage) and lots and lots of coffee jars with blackboard labels (Ebay again, this time from China!). This is the how it was a couple of weeks ago…

20140511-105541.jpg And now…

20140510-213810.jpg Last but not least, we hung the back-of-door spice rack, simple yet useful.

20140510-214043.jpg We had a few hours skulking round some local rec yards, one had some garden pieces when we are ready for them, and reasonably priced floor tiles to replace the few lost ones in the hall.


20140510-221334.jpg We found this little fireplace, it’s on the ‘maybe’ list for the guest bedroom.

20140510-231025.jpg Next week should hopefully see the plasterer appointed and we may finally make a decision on floor tiles.