Work in progress

This is a slightly surreal Hogmany. I am more-or-less confined to my bedroom, while down stairs in the living room the work of demolition proceeds.

The fireplace is now all-but empty. Work yesterday by my neighbour revealed the extent of damage to the back wall when the back boiler was put in, and that the pot chimney lining is fixed with cement. I have been working on indoctrinating him with stories of the Evils of Cement in Limestone Mortared Buildings, so we jointly shake out heads over this – and in addition it is gripping on so firmly that it is hard to get enough out to make the view from the front appropriately aesthetic. I have condemned the modern, nasty and clumsy in filling of the damage to the back wall, and we will discover more about the existing stone back (a wire brush job) in order to recreate it as well as we can. I have also vetoed a whole new back wall. I have so few authentic features left here I really do not want to lose any of them.

Work on taking out the modern plaster-board wall by the fire so far reveals a nice stone wall behind it. I am considering leaving it as stone – the bottom reaches will be bookcase-lined anyhow. I do know stone is totally inauthentic, but despite that it is appealing. And plasterboard is not authentic anyhow. The only down side will be my need to point out in Eyoreish tones to every visitor just HOW inauthentic it is. I will give blog readers a free pass so they do not need to undergo this expereince. The password is SVBWG or Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group.

But it IS odd to see Hogmany devoted to the creation of an ever-growing pile of rubble, and I cherish the hope (I fear a vain one) that next Hogmany I will be found sitting calmly in a immaculate house, tidy and clean in every part, with a Christmas tree sparkling and a crib set glowing, and family arriving with exclamations of delight at the general ambience. Past experience suggests it is more likely to be a day of rubber gloves and frantic activity … but we can always dream.

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