Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Frugal Renovations in Full Swing...

We Have a New Front Door!

This being a Listed Building of almost 200 years old, we need planning permission before we can change anything, so the frugal way of getting around this is to replace like with like and reuse wherever possible.

You can imagine the joiner's bemused expression when I asked him to make us a brand new, wooden door after removing all the salvageable pieces from the old one to keep costs down. Thankfully, he agreed! (Thank you, Mr. R.)

A trip into the nearby village resulted in my returning to see the joiner's van parked in the street, his workbench and a gaping hole at the front of the house where the old door had been. Everything was ripped out back to bare stone walls.

Nearby, stood a brand new door, awaiting it's frugal fate. Not only had this new door to be transformed into one identical to the old one, I had even asked the joiner to salvage the glass from the middle and from the top fan lights.

The glass was carefully removed and then my friend the brillo pad helped me scrub all the old paint stains and putty until the panes were cleaned up and looking as close to new as old, frosted glass can look.

While this was being done, the joiner was busy attacking the new solid door with his saw, removing enough of it to fit in the old panel of glass. Meanwhile, he had made up the new door frame to fit - an odd size, as one might expect for our quirky little cottage.

The sun shone all day and before long, the new frame and door were in place, exact same handles, same lock and same glass as the old one. The new wood has received a coat of sealer and the letterbox didn't arrive in time to be fitted, so literally no bills can come through the door this week!

I invested in a small tin of undercoat and the same in non-drip gloss. Kindly gentleman at the store gave me a discount and threw in some free sandpaper to help with the frugal budget - people in rural communities are so helpful and supportive of one another, constantly demonstrating a mutual respect that I know I would miss if I had ever to venture into the big city.

Tomorrow, I'm half expecting the local plumber to arrive and attempt to resuscitate the old double radiator in the hall. I say 'half expect', as that's the way these things work about here. It's very much a 'take me as you find me, I'll be there when I arrive' kind of a place. Anyhow, all going well, this radiator will be heating  the main hall this winter, powered by a new pump on the hot water system attached to the backboiler behind the coal fire. Hoping against all odds that this can be saved and fixed, as it could prove sufficient to heat up the stairs, too. I'll let you know how it all goes.

To conclude tonight's blog post, I would like to add a few lines in memory of the miner who lost his life in yesterday's tragic accident at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire. People seldom think much about how our fuel is generated, from where it originates or how it is produced. It simply arrives for our convenience, whether it be electricity, fossil fuel or even logs. But for this family, burning coal will forever remind us.

Yesterday, Tuesday 27th September, 2011, my children lost an uncle. More tragically, their cousins lost their father. My heart goes out to Brenda and all the family involved. Be strong, support one another and may Gerry rest in peace. He will never be forgotten.

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