Daily Archives: 16 March 2017

Middle class home improvements, woodburner style

I have started running out of things to do to my house (apart from a very expensive loft conversion). I have replaced the bathroom, the kitchen, fitted new windows, redone both the front and back gardens, fitted solar panels (and a charger for my EV), and had wood flooring put down in the two main downstairs room. The carpets are in decent nick and replacing all of the internal doors seems a pain. I even managed to get the front of the house repainted after a chance encounter.

After spending a lovely afternoon in front of a friend’s woodburner at New Year’s, I struck upon installing one myself as my next middle class home improvement. When I say ‘installing one myself’ I obviously mean getting a professional in to do it. Several local friends have had this done and I took their recommendation of the delightful Andy Griffiths (who has a Cavalier king Charles spaniel, the best kind of dog).

Andy came round and emailed through a quote the same day he did his initial (free) inspection, and I booked him in to first remove the old (and to my eyes hideous) gas fire, and then to install a lovely new woodburner.

He arrived nice and promptly at 08:00 on rip-out day and was done by 12:00, leaving me with some parts to hawk on gumtree/ebay and a few bags of rubble to take down the tip (as I had a car rather than a van, so could go in as a residential user).

The ‘fireplace’ had gone from

to

over the course of just 4 hours.

Andy was back a couple of weeks later for the installation. This started with chopping out a few more bricks to be able put in the fireboard, then dropping the flue liner down the chimney, attaching the proper top (and actually sticking the chimney pot down – apparently it was just balanced up there), fitting the hearth and finally hooking up the woodburner. Once again he was very efficient and after setting the first fire to show us how it all worked (and check that it did) he was gone by 16:30, leaving this:

Some fixing up work was left for me which I did over the next couple of days, generating clouds of dust as I sanded back various fillers.

Before finally finishing up with some coats of paint for the walls and coats of wax polish for the oak beam. All finished just in time for Spring.

Week 14, day 4 – speedwork intervals

It was back to marathon training with a vengeance this morning, and back to the railway path for 4 reps of 5 minutes at as fast as I could go. There was still a bit of fatigue in the legs and in the upper back (from driving my arms at the weekend to keep my pace up), but I gave it everything I had, even into the headwind on the way back.

This is the same session I had just over a week ago, so I’m able to do a direct comparison of the two sessions (even though they were run at opposite ends of the railway path). Somewhat surprisingly, particularly after the weekend’s efforts, this session was faster. Whereas last week I managed an average pace of 4:06, 4:06, 4:09 and 4:04 min/km for the reps, this time I managed 4:06, 4:07, 4:06 and 3:58 min/km. I’m not sure where that last one came from as I was all in at that stage. I’ll take the improvement though.