New batch of logs

I got access to some logs for firewood recently. Unfortunately, they’ve been sitting outside in a field. For 2 years.

In Scotland.

I’ll split them, and see if they dry out enough.



Interestingly, the wood inside the rotten part is under 20% moisture.



Coffee Tastes Great from the Stovetop

Coffee from a cafetière / French press has long been my favourite, but I thought I’d try the old Bialetti stovetop coffee maker again. I’ve finally been converted. The espresso it makes is surprisingly good.

Bialetti Moka Express

Last few times I had used it (years ago) the coffee tasted burnt – that was probably because I heated it up on too high a heat (according to the manufacturer). Recently the results have been better. I just add hot water for an americano type coffee (and a splash of milk).

Draught proofing the back door

Wind comes through the back porch (door, roof, walls, window — project for another day), makes its way through the back-door, and blows open the kitchen door. Time for a little draught-proofing.

Draft-proofing back door

Draft-proofing back door

Brushes on the base of the door and seal round the outside of the 3 other edges should do it.

Nope, also found wind blowing behind the catches on the door frame… so a little brown frame sealant on the outside is also required. Job’s a good’un.

Log Store Required

log-storeI’m building a log store with the plan to season my own wood – for next year.

I’ve bought a stack of un-cut logs which I’ll cut and split, plus we have a number of branches which need cut and stacked. I’ll fill this in no time.


Rotten Roof Joists

When the rain falls hard, we see water come through a light fitting near the back door. It happens where a single-storey pitched roof meets the side wall of the main house.

We knew the lead needed some attention and I had a fear there was rot to deal with too. Thankfully my brother has a bit of experience with slates and lead work. With a couple of days of good weather he did a good job.

Slates and sarking removed exposing a problem joist:

Rotten joists

New 4x2s screwed into place.

replaced roof joists

New sarking boards down. New lead going on:

New roof lead

Fireplace – Tiling the Hearth

First time tiling… and I’ve got a very visible part of the room to practice on!

We really liked these tiles from Fired Earth – “Umbria Sandstone” – they’re porcelain but manufactured to look like natural stone. This is perfect for our hearth, as we have very rustic rough exposed stone to blend into an otherwise cleaner-cut room.

First problem — they’re too thick to cut with a normal “score and press” tile-cutter, so I purchased a cheapo circular saw type wet-cutter. Second problem, the irregular edge that looks so good on these make it more difficult to line up and measure. Other than that, everything went swimmingly.





Blocked Drain

drain opened upThis drain is one of at least 3 round the house that have needed unblocking. Technique used was to drill a bunch of 10mm holes in the clay pipe to make one larger opening, then I used drain rods to clear the blockage.


Record of Events

A friend who recently helped unblock a drain suggested keeping a record of all the things that have been fixed or changed round this place. That – I think – is the new purpose of this blog.


Lining the Chimney

Lining the chimney for the stove is a good idea.

Chimney Liner

Rather than trusting that the 100+ year old mortar is still making a good seal, a new steel chimney liner gives peace of mind. It also gives the flue a nice regular shape to help the smoke and heat rise freely.

We bought 8m of 316 grade steel liner (150mm diameter). A roofer carted it up to the top of the chimney for me, and I helped pull it down from inside the room. We’ll leave it like this until the fire is fitted.