Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I am full of admiration, and feel most blessed indeed, to have a husband like Andy. And shall I tell you why? He tolerates my whims, that's why, with humour and love and sometimes a pat on the head if I look in danger of becoming particularly over-excited.

I experienced a whim at the end of last week. It is a regular occurrence, this whiminess, when I find myself on a school holiday. I've done all the housework, caught up with my reading pile, filled the garden waste wheelie bin so we get our annual fee's worth of collections, and got the household accounts up to date just to check that we are still fiscal-safe. And then I start feeling a bit restless. My whim-alert alarm starts a-buzzing. I start looking around for something 'whimmy' to catch my attention.

And so it was that at just after 5 p.m last Thursday evening, I was browsing wood burning stoves on the interwebbly. And at 5.20 p.m I entered an on-line dialogue with a wood burning stove fitter-man vis a vis possibilities and costs and sizes etc etc...

At 5.25 p.m I was taking photos of the existing fireplace and the chimney, to e- mail him so he could assess the situation. It was too dark outside to do real- time pictures of the chimney stack, so I took a photo of the photo of the outside of the house from the estate agent details we had last year when we were trying to sell the house. At this point I told myself we were still supposed to be thinking about moving house and therefore I should not be thinking about getting a wood-burning stove. But by now I was in whimmy overdrive. The blinkers of whim were clamped tight to the side of my head, and pointing me firmly in the direction of a warm and toasty real fire Winter experience. 

At 5.35p.m, Andy walked through the door from work.

'Had a good day?' said he.
'Yes,' said I. 'A man is coming out on Monday to do a site survey for our wood-burning stove.'
'Jolly good,' said he, with ne'er bat of an eyelid in sight.

Now, I don't mean to be impulsive. In fact, I rarely am. I once went out to buy a wheelbarrow and came home with a car, and I once chatted up a man on the Internet and within ten days we had decided to get married. He was in Liverpool, I was in Kent. We hadn't yet met, but these were minor details and we are still together 12 years later, so that whim worked, didn't it?

And on Monday the fitter-man arrived and did some important sounding umming and aahhing. He said, 'Are you planning on re-decorating the room once the burner fitted?' which I interpreted as, 'Do we have to put down dust sheets and keep our grubby hands off the walls whilst we are doing this job?' 
'No,' said I. 'It was only done a couple of years ago.'
He only frowned a little, which I interpreted as, 'Darn it.'

And on Tuesday he and a fellow fitter-man arrived and hacked a big hole in our chimney breast. He has directed us to visit a granite dealer to choose a piece of granite for the new hearth, which sounds like a jolly middle class thing to do, and also to go and view and stamp our approval on the multi-fuel stove he has recommended for us.

I am very impressed with the emergence of the original chimney space. I am impressed with its size given it has looked so teeny-weeny until now, covered as it was with a wood mantelpiece and pretend fascia courtesy of B and Q. I am impressed and just a little in love with its homely rusticity which even now I can see adorned with evergreens at Christmas-time.
I am not so impressed with the enormous draft whistling down the new big hole, nor with the fact the cats find the new big hole an exciting place in which to adventure and keep emerging covered in brick dust which they share most generously with the furniture and carpet, and smelling vaguely of soot which they share most generously with me. 

I am slightly on edge that an enormous pigeon could come a-plummeting downwards and onto the carpet at any moment, sending the cats into a frenzy.

This is what it looks like at the moment, our hole in the wall.

Me and my whims...sigh...


rusty duck said...

Impressive hole.
Are you going to put the mantelpiece back, or leave it unadorned?

Olly said...

Ooh Denise, we really are twins at heart ... my woodburner is one of my 'best things', not only does it heat your house for free (or for very little), it brings the room to life. What model have you chosen? I had mine lit this afternoon as I was working at home today and it just cheers the room up (and the cats love it). I look forward to the follow-up pictures! And yes, Andy does indeed sound like a treasure.

Countryside Tales said...

Now then, we have one of these things too and we love them, so I'd say it is a good and useful whim. :-)

Denise said...

You see! I knew you girlies would understand! We are going to leave it unadorned, Jessica, only because the mantelpiece doo-dah that was removed suffered somewhat in the removal and is now a non-mantelpiece.

Olly, the fitter-man has suggested a Hunter Kestrel. Apparently, it is a 'good little stove', it has a wide 'picture window' and he can get a good deal for us from us supplier. And I am very much looking forward to going 'Nyah, nyah, nyah, na na!' to EDF when the winter heating bill comes in!

CT, it was an odd urge. I grew up in houses with open fires, and I miss them. The message was definitely 'Get a woodburner for this Winter.' I think it will keep me very cheerful!

Countryside Tales said...

There's nothing like a real fire :-)

Vera said...

Join the club Denise! You will love watching the dancing flames of the fire, very ambient. And are you going to put a pot of something on top of it? My daughter is also having a wood burning stove installed in her new house in Ashford!