Black Hole

Fireplace Wm


Finally, we have a dining room that isn’t full of boxes.

It could be an impressive fireplace, were it not for the black. And, according to our predecessor, there’s a coat of polyurethane sealant on top of that too. It’s all coming off. I hope.

The first job, now I can get to it, a damn good clean. So, this morning, “Tally-Ho!” and in with the vacuum. Its bag is now bursting with hundreds of dead woodlice, spiders, flies and webs. It was a mission worthy of Indiana Jones. Just no archaeological gem lurking enticingly at the back. The stonework is crumbly in places. Even so, I suspect we will end up having to blast it, along with the beams. But I shall have a go at some poultice paint stripping first. A long and painstaking task for bad weather days.

In the longer term though, there’s a much bigger job. The heating boiler resides in the cupboard on the right hand side. When it was installed, 27 years ago, a hole was created in the side of the chimney breast through which passes the flue. The original opening above the hearth has therefore, sadly, been sealed up. But the boiler is well past its sell by date. When it finally packs up its replacement, funds permitting, will be an external one. The whole shooting match goes outside. With luck the alterations to the chimney breast will prove to be reversible. And we’ll get a lovely big cupboard back too.