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.
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).
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.
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.
I’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.
Our central heating circulating pump was old. And tired. Time for a new one to help get heat upstairs.
The single glazed sash windows in the two front rooms let in a lot of noise and drafts… they either needed serviced, or replaced. But we didn’t want to replace the lovely wood frames etc. with pvc; it would be too much loss of character.
Double glazed, timber sash units were expensive, but the casements were all sound, so that saved us some £££s.
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:
New 4x2s screwed into place.
New sarking boards down. New lead going on:
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.
This 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.
Having read various estimates on how long to leave concrete before tiling on top, I decided to just forget about it for a couple of weeks.
Now that it’s had plenty time, I can finally remove the frame
Built this frame (hopefully to the right size) to pour concrete into….
Thanks to DPM for mixing and pouring….
Why do my doors not close properly? Some door posts are missing the metal catch, some handle mechanisms are losing their spring, some doors are sagging and not lining up. Tonight I took the handle and mechnism out the kitchen door because the spring is a bit lazy (understandable – it could be over 100 years old).
Didn’t manage to get into the unit to see what could be serviced – I’ll try again when I have more time. Some Brasso for the face-plate at least, so it’s not been a complete waste of time.
One of our priorities is getting a more heat into this building. The central heating works, but until we draft proof the doors, windows floors and roof, a lot of it will escape. Enter a wood burning stove – more on that project later. For now, I’m planning the hearth – concrete raised around 60mm above the floor then tiled.
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 for the stove is a good idea.
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.
We plan to install a wood burning (actually multi-fuel) stove. The first stage was taking out the old Victorian open fire surround.
Slightly sad to remove an original feature, but [Read more…]