Preparing for Spring
I'll try to keep this brief, as it's supposed to be a quick update prior to the end of the month, but so many things have been happening recently!
First of all, the stove has, at long last, been fitted! Yeah! The job was completed on Sunday and 'Wilbur' has been blazing gently to settle him in for the past day, being lit again first thing this morning. The difference is utterly amazing!
As expected, the stove/logburner installation project was done on a budget. The new hearth takes the form of two stone slabs traded for locally with friends who are having the remains of an old fireplace in exchange. The fireproof backplate is an offcut of sheet steel sprayed black with stove paint. In all, I think the entire works, including having the old chimney opened up, repaired and fully lined, cost approximately £600.
The plasterwork all needs reinstated, but I can live with it like that until spring. We've already moved the couch into the room and are slowly emptying the livingroom in preparation for having the fireplace in there rebuilt. But better still, the stove top kettle has been used for the past 2 days, meaning we haven't had to switch on the electric kettle! Brilliant! Everything is drying out nicely and it means there's a warm room in the house to return to after a cold, wet walk. I like that part the best! We're also well prepared for power cuts now.
The budget is doing well, despite everything! All the major spends during the first month of the year take their toll - annual telephone line rental for one thing - and that certainly isn't helped when you lose your regular source of income, which I did at New Year. As of 1st February, I'll no longer have a source of regular, guaranteed earned income, it will be based on whatever, whenever, as I'll no longer be committing myself to contracts. But that's another story.
February, as you may all know from previous years, is my major effort to shift the excess 'flab' gained over winter. Shortest month of the year, so minimising the food intake doesn't seem so bad when it's for just 28 days. It gets me back on par for the spring and, of course, this year's BIG fitness challenge, to climb Ben Nevis.
I do quite a bit of walking, so that's nothing new, but I've never climbed a 'proper' mountain, unless you count the Merrick . My 'relearning to ride a bike' is sporadic, depending on how slippery the roads are, but winter probably wasn't the best time of year to lose the car. On that subject, the household has now been without a car for two full months and we've worked my way up to 20 miles of cycling, which is almost enough to get me to the Co-op and back. It's certainly enough to get me to the post office or village store, so that's all that counts for now.