Friday, 22 April 2011

Burst Pipes No More, Progress Being Made in Frugaldom!

The Plumber Called Today.

It's been just over a week since we got the keys to the cottage, so the major clear-up is now in full swing. It's very lucky we have the stream running through the bottom of the garden, as that's where the water has been coming from for the toilet - not only was there no running water, there was no cistern. But that all changed today.

We have running water!

The plumber arrived this morning and by lunchtime he had fixed four of the burst pipes and had the cold water running.

We've managed to salvage the toilet cistern casing and it now houses replacement parts that have transformed it into a useable loo! The sink, toilet and shower unit are now all perfectly fine, so these have all been scrubbed and will be kept - moneysving right away, as we thought wthey would need to be replaced.

The bathroom wall tiling has come up almost like new and, although the lino still has to be lifted to dry out the floor properly, I washed that, too, so I could take photos for the progress album. The kitchen sink has scrubbed up really well, so that won't need replacing, either. Yeah! More money-saving.

Next up was checking the heating. There are three radiators running off a back boiler behind an open fire in the livingroom. This will also heat our hot water, although we're planning on having an immersion heater fitted, too, for when it's too warm to light the fire.

There was a small burst at the header tank, so that has now been fixed, plus a burst pipe in the hall beneath the radiator; then the water was turned on to fill the system...

Cleaned up good as new
There were many glugs and numerous hisses and clunks as the water forced all the air out of the pipes, then promptly started spraying from all three radiator valves at the same time! I'm delighted to say, however, that as soon as these were all closed off, the water stayed within the system; all obvious leaks there seem to be fixed. The radiators will also be kept, as they seem to be perfectly serviceable. The bathroom one scrubbed up really well and looks fairly new. Let's just hope that the back boiler is in good working order once we get the fire going. At least we know the chimney is now swept and ready to go.

Next it was the turn of the hot water system. This took a bit of time to fill up, but we now have water running when we turn on the hot taps. There are two valves with leaks in this system, but the plumber ran out of time to fix them today: I'd to turn the water back off and drain the hot water tank until he can get back to us next week. It was enough time, though, to get out and check the outside tap, which worked without a problem - so I watered all my plants in the garden.

The pump for the heating isn't working, so that needs to be stripped to see if it can be repaired. We may need a new pump, so I'll be searching online for best prices and being prepared for the worst.

This will become the gym
As always, I managed to get outside into the garden for a bit of clearing. Son was with me this morning, so he removed the huge, broken window from the outbuilding. He then removed the old workbench and made great progress with some clearing. I reckon he got about a fifth of the floor uncovered.


We have found dozens of sheets of glass and old windows about the property. Conveniently, we should be able to fit four smaller ones into the space where the massive pane of glass was removed. Many of the others will be used for cold frames down the south facing dry stone wall, as there's really gopd soil there and plenty of sunshine.

Next door neighbour gave me two little courgette plants, so I took advantage of son's helpful mood and got him to help me build the first frugal cold frame to house those. They look quite happy in their new home, which is 4' long and built from rubble that we found lying around the garden. (We have loads of rubble, broken glass, remnants of past bonfires and general rubbish lying about the garden, but that will gradually get cleared as the microholding takes shape.

The first of the veg beds - potatoes
The chitted potatoes I had were getting to the overly-chitted stage so, once again, son's lifting power was put to good use as soon as he'd extracted the wooden sleeper from beyond the outbuilding. It's now the front edge for my potato bed. It's taking hours to clear a patch and get to decent soil, as there are rocks, gravel and broken glass all through it, but a bit of digging, sifting, separating out the glass shards and relocating rubble, I managed to get my first row of potatoes planted! I've still got another four square meters of potato patch to prepare, but I'll do it bit by bit, so the potatoes are planted a few days apart.

Back door view
Front door view
It was such a glorious day again that both the front and back doors of the house were able to be left wide open. I love the views from both the back and front of the house. I can't wait to get the garden done - the orchard planted, the fruit bushes in, the pond dug and the hens & ducks moved.

We'll be able to dine in summer with the back door open and a vuew of the garden. Photo on the left shows the view from the back door, photo on the right is the view from our front door. From the front door, if we're sitting out there, we can see the sea and then more hills on the horizon. The one mile walk to the beach will be handy for keeping fit, that's for sure! It's a very exciting prospect to be moving to such a great place and, as followrs of the frugaldom lifestyle, I am sure we will be very happy there for many years to come.

Fruit bushes awaiting planting
All in all, I am loving having this cottage. It needs so much done both indoors and out that it's like a fulltime job at the moment, but it will all be worth it, especially once the microholding is in full swing. This is going to be a great summer, come rain, hail or shine.

Salad leaves
Speaking of rain, it has just started, so that will save me watering the lawn here and should encourage the new seed to bed in and germinate. It will also help water everything that's been sown at the new garden. I'm totally amazed at how quickly the salad leaves are growing - I only sowed the seeds four days ago and look at them already! Speedy veg seeds, indeed.


  1. It's all starting to look very good, lots of hard work obviously, but well worth it.

    Well done on all the progress up to now.

    Sue xx

  2. Thanks, Sue. It's just all 'easy stuff' that can be done with time + effort, if it was all costing by the hour, we'd never afford it! LOL

    So far, about 4 hours have been spent on professional electrical & plumbing work plus £20 to the chimney sweep, so the actual financial costs are still being kept to a minimum. Not so sure how that will go after all the holidays when the tradesmen start putting in more hours, but the budget is prepared for shock. LOL

  3. Great progress so far. And very encouraging that some potential costs have been saved all ready. Long may that last!
    The views look amazing and how great to have this weather now to help dry the inside out.

  4. This is so exciting!

    I can understand why you love those views and now I find you're a mile from the sea. Wow!

    You really do deserve this, you've done so much to support others (like me in my strange way)to live a frugal life.

    More great posts please!

    (when you get the time-esp of eating outside and those beautiful sunsets)

    Sft x

  5. Have enjoyed following the progress! I think you have a diamond in the rough and so pleased you are not the kind of person (as so many are now) who would totally gut the house and put in every mod con under the sun! I love older houses and their character!
    Continue to enjoy!

  6. I do and on't envy your move!Envy it for the location, don't envy it for all the work to be done! Still, that in itself can be very rewarding, especially when you are able to salvage stuff that's already there.
    Good luck to you, I wish you well. (I do enjoy watching other peoples' dreams develop!).

    Sandie xx

  7. Who needs a gym for a workout - when you have a house needing as much work as that? LOL

    'Twill keep you fit - but hopefully it will all come good in the end and you certainly have a nice setting for it...



  8. The gym is more to avoid the need for one's son filling up the house up weight benches and other such stuff. When he gets his own place, the 'gym' will be converted into a garden room/art studio with built-in 'refreshments area'. LOL


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