Fireplace 2 and the Non Appearing Gas Man: Wk 5 – Day Five

‘Tis a week of double discoveries….today I found yet another fireplace but this time in the snug.

The snug currently houses a fireplace with a cream painted surround, its interior boarded over. Naively I, again, expected to find only a hole behind it and had asked the foreman to reinstate the cast iron one salvaged from the bedroom within the space ( you might remember me saying we removed it thinking it was a repro and replaced it with a bank of Swedish chipboard. Eco conscious? I hear you ask. Ethical? Sympathetic? We hold our hands up and our heads down in shame…) However it transpires that the panel was once again concealing not a hole but a fireplace, admittedly in need of slightly more tlc than the previous finding. The tiles have been painted and we are not sure what the cream surround is made of …even the builders’ expertise couldn’t identify it though we suspect it may be concrete. The eco paint stripper made light work of the tile paint which masked green, yellow and white tiles beneath so, despite the origins of the surround remaining unknown, it looks like it could be promising.

Today I also started the clean up job on the lounge fireplace. There’s a wooden frame at the front which needs to be removed more carefully than my enthusiasm mixed with lack of expertise will allow. There is also a never ending pile of soot (thankfully containing no dead pigeons), some of which I wore on my face to O’s nursery. The Victorian tiles cleaned up beautifully…they look dark in pictures but there’s a jewel like teal and a mustard yellow colour within them which looks lovely in the light. And S fancies there may be more tiles to find underneath the fake hearth so this weekend may bring more discoveries.

Talking of which, the Non Appearing Gas Man appeared today, albeit briefly. Apparently, to move the gas meter the gas mains pipe also needs to go with it. He can’t do that. The National Grid need to do it. He explained in some ackronymic (a word?) detail about how such and such meters can be moved away from such and such mains pipes in kitchens but not under staircases and he can’t move the mains as the gas needs to be turned off. Blah blah blah. It went to the place in my head where plumbing information goes so eventually I asked a simple question which required a one word answer.
“Can you move this meter from here to here today?”
“Fine, we’ll box it in. Thank you”
If I’m honest I’m not sure why we didn’t think of that before and save ourselves the hassle of engaging with company employees who eat through their to-do list by a) not turning up at all or b) going as far as the front door and then hopping back in the car claiming no one was in or c) turning up and making up some reason why the job can’t be done. Box on clipboard then ticked off, job put back on the list with the admin team, appointment rebooked for a month later, home for tea by 5pm, no change of clothes needed.

I spent the rest of the day straightening the lounge back up and doing a touch of housewifery such as taming the washing pile, hoovering up trails of wallpaper and dusting….though that job really is pretty futile…in order to make the space a little more pleasant for the weekend. I also gathered a few quotes for alternative worktops and have discovered that our material of choice is actually coming in cheaper that the alternatives. When S returned home I put a proposal to him.
“You may, as Finance Director, Chief Negotiator and Head Eco Warrior, not see the following logic quite as I do” said the Creative Director and Chief Wallpaper Stripper, “but how’s about this.”
We were sat astride O, happily tucking into his tea and watching us wide-eyed.
“Will it cost money?” He asked
“Yes.” I answered.
“Son, whichever argument you go for, we will go with.” S said somewhat trustingly as O peered adoringly back, “So you just say the word. Mammy or me”.
I took a deep breath.
“So, we have three fireplaces but only two possible fire places. To address our guilt we were going to try and reinstate the bedroom fireplace….but there’s one already there.”

“It’s pretty extravagant to tear it out to replace with the other” S agreed

“So…..lets sell it and use the money to buy the eco friendly worktop we wanted”.

A pause. A sigh.

“Yeah, sod it”

And with that twisted logic we agreed.

Once O was tucked up in bed I headed to a friend’s for a chinwag and a bout more advice. Today I have been wrestling with a decision regarding the positioning of the TV within the snug. It sounds insignificant but I need to tell the electrician where the socket needs to go early next week. It had previously held the status of ‘decision decided’ ….but as we have reconfigured the size of the window in order to reuse the old pane of glass the elevations have changed thus losing me my planned TV spot. My friend, an arts education and access (in terms of disability in its broadest term.. not restricted only to doorways although sometimes the two things do interlink) specialist, didn’t just allow me to talk it through with her. We theatrically re-enacted it. Her lounge obligingly played the part of the snug with her curtain taking on the coveted role of Doorway to Extension. A bookcase more or less stood in for Doorway to Hallway and a radiator understudied Radiators role. No-one turned up to play the Fireplace. I hear there’s some kind of debutante party for emerging fireplaces happening elsewhere.

The scene set, I walked around the space describing what we wanted to fit in ….a library wall, a toy cupboard and a workstation….and establishing clearly that S had absolutely and utterly vetoed a TV above the fireplace (whichever one of them it ends up being). It’s a big ask for a room, rarely are they so multi-talented, but my friend, in her role as Furniture Director, knew instinctively where it had to go. Genius. That’s a few hours of obsessing saved and much fun had to boot. Bring on the weekend.




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