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Terraces, the birds’ eye view

 

Whilst we’ve been having a jolly time swinging around on ladders to take unaccustomed shots of the garden, there has been a serious purpose to the scaffolding.

 
 

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Over the last year or so the chimney has started to take on a list. The brickwork had clearly seen better days. But once we were able to climb up onto the roof the full scale of the problem was revealed.

 
 

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It was actually possible to wiggle the pot about and lift some of the concrete coping straight off.

 

Fires are obviously a serious risk when your roof is made of straw and the chimney should be rigorously maintained. I’ve also written before about the problems posed by wood burners in a thatched house. So to determine the way forward on both fronts we had a chimney specialist around to have a look. As it turns out the type of wood burner we have is less hazardous than some. It can be used with the doors open and thus produces less heat, more akin to an open fire. The other significant thing in our favour is the structure of the chimney. It is stone, rather than brickwork, which passes up through the thatch making heat transference much less likely. And with the stack positioned on the outside wall of the cottage there’s plenty of adjacent airflow to keep it cool.

The upper part of the chimney, however, most definitely did need work.

 
 

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New brickwork arises from the stone base of the stack

 
 

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It’s a shame about the stainless steel cowl but it has to be there to prevent sparks from the fire erupting from the top of the chimney and landing on the roof. The grill acts as a bird guard too. Without doubt you’ll already have spotted the biggest difference between old and new. We’ve sprouted an extra pot! There is a second flue in the stack for a (sealed off) fireplace in the bedroom. By rights it should have been ventilated when the chimney was last rebuilt.

So, a safe working fireplace and no shortage of wood to burn. Just in time for the cooler nights!

 

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Of course all that picture taking and time spent up on the scaffolding “talking to the builders” gave Mike ample opportunity to keep tabs on the gardener. And the progress she was making..

 
 

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She does need to get a wriggle on too.

This is the area immediately beyond the section of Precipitous Bank you normally see. A nice crop of willow herb growing in there Mrs.. seeding away for England. The strip along the front edge of the bank has been cleared in anticipation of the NEXT job to be done on the house. It’s a proper hive of activity here I can tell you.

 
 

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Errr… must have been a coffee break?

 

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