Friday, February 29, 2008

It’s not quite March 1st

As usual I’ve been somewhat tardy in keeping this blog, this diary, this stream of consciousness up to date in any meaningful way. Last autumn I ended an entry with these words:

I have the Snowshoe to finish/finesse, a sailing kit to build for the Prospector, the rear garden to clear prior to my next Big Project.. the building of the shed/summerhouse/guest accommodation/ office.

Well guess what?

True to form none of these things have come to pass. Yet for once I have an excuse!

In early January I awoke to a horrible sulphurous smell which seemed to be coming from the fireplace. I could’nt track this until I brushed my hand across the chimney plate. Wow, was it hot. With care and a pair of ovengloves I managed to remove the cast iron chimney piece from the woodburner and had a look inside the stone chimney. There was a large burning mass of something horrible. I hooked it out into an iron bucket and dumped it outside where it continued to smoulder and burn for hours.

I concluded that this was tar and particulates condensing in the chimney and burning up. I was lucky not to have a full scale chimney fire. Cleaning it to a full day and I’m not 100% happy. So it looks like I’m going to have to spend a few hundred on lining the chimney. However doing without heat through the coldest winter months is’nt an option either. So for now it’s going to be small fires and a closer look come summer.

If that was’nt enough hassle, the toilet blocked, and I had to have the septic tank pumped out. The kindly farmer who owned the field refused to allow the tanker to go in, so a smaller towed unit was required, which, perversely, cost a lot more. Said tanker arrived and was refused access. I was at home , recovering from a dose of the V&D bought on by eating some seafood, and so had to help the tanker guy run 70 odd foot of large bore pipe over and around my neighbours back garden, rather than the 15 it would have taken. In the process we discovered that the garden decking bearers were no longer doing their job, so all these will need replacing…………

Basically, all within a week of each other I have amassed a bill, both potential and actual of around a £1K, which has effectively ended my plans for the shed, at least for now.

I was so fed up that I decided that the only recourse was to indulge in a ‘ROADTRIP!’ before Easter, but even this was to turn into a nightmare of angst and recrimination, and it has’nt even happened yet!

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