December 15th, 2009

Preparing for Winter Veil

Winter is my favourite season, by far. Yes, summer is “warm”, but there’s nothing as great as being outside in a crisp winter’s day before coming home and sitting by the fire.

My childhood is filled with memories like these. It was pretty routine, especially in the winter, to take the dogs out with my Dad for a several miles hike before coming home, chopping up logs and burning them in the huge fireplace our countryside cottage had. When we ran out of logs, we’d take his 1930’s era truck to the local wood processing plant and fill it up with logs.

Unfortunately, when it was time for me to go to university, change happened. Our countryside house was sold as my mother and I moved to Knebworth in Hertfordshire, so I could go to Uni and she could retire and move to the French Alps. Since The South is about a million times more expensive than the middle of nowhere in Derbyshire, we downsized from a four bedroom cottage with roughly shitloads of land to a two bedroom terrace with roughly sod all. In July 2005 I moved out of my mother’s house and bought my own, but it was still too small to have a fireplace (another two bedroom terrace).

In July 2007, I moved again. My shortlist of houses only had two contenders — one with a kickass fireplace and another with a kickass garage. At the time, the need for a garage was more pressing, and the house with the kickass garage was, in many ways, better than the fireplace house.

It wasn’t long after moving in that I actually noticed the house had a chimney sticking out of the roof. It turns out that this house did have a fireplace, but a previous owner removed it and platerboarded the hole over. Result!

Thinking With My Heart

Using a fireplace to heat your home is towards the bottom on the efficiency list, but that’s not the point. It’s about ambience — sitting with your bowl of soup by the fire after a cold winter’s day outside, the dog baking himself dry after a day of muddy glee.

So, today, we had a fireplace fitted. I’ll be burning wood and coal, thank you very much, rather than having a rubbish gas or electric fire.

Since you need somewhere dry to store logs, last week I bought and build a little shed. The damn thing took me all day to build, mainly due to lack of skill and the proper tools.

Log Shed
(View on Flickr)

This is what the chimney breast looked like this morning:

Before the Fireplace
(View on Flickr)

Now it looks like this:

Living Room
(View on Flickr)

Unfortunately, I can’t use it for a couple of days while the cement dries, but at the weekend this baby’ll be heating my living room all weekend.

Please take a moment to note the awesome Christmas Tree in the corner. Since I don’t actually believe in God at all and use Christmas to spend time with my friends and family, the tree is topped by a more appropriate symbol of my religion — a character from World of Warcraft:

Atop the Christmas Tree
(View on Flickr)