house – day 129 – the kitchen comes to life

Fiona’s got a dental appointment today so I’m on my own again today. Before I set off , I ordered a couple of blinds for the bedrooms, we’ll need them very soon now.

The electricians were already at the house when I arrived. They haven’t been for a while and naturally had quite a lot of questions, what goes where, etc. I asked for an additional double socket in the space under the stairs and suggested we put a socket in place for the under cabinet lights in the kitchen, rather than hardwire them. We’re not ready to install the strip lights yet, until we’ve got the Benchmarx issue resolved.

Pretty soon we had lights upstairs (for the first time since early March) and operating appliances in the kitchen. We’re not quite ready to cook yet, but it feels like progress.

I got on with installing more latches in doors, but I didn’t have much time for this as I had a lot of questions to answer throughout the day.

The plumbers arrived in the afternoon, to finish off their installation work. As we’ve already got walls painted in a few key places, they’ve been able to re-install seven of the twelve central heating radiators. The remaining five are easy enough to put back up and we’ll replace them as we get rooms decorated. They can’t test the heating system yet, as it needs wiring up and the electricians have a question about the tank thermostat. The plumbers were the last to leave today. There’s only the central heating system to commission, once it’s been completely wired up so the next visit should be pretty short.

Before they left, I checked with the plumbers that the gas was off completely (it is). I thought it was about time I removed the old gas fire and fireplace. I’m pleased I removed it, it was a potentially lethal installation, with only the thin gas pipe holding the gas fire in position. No screws to the wall, nothing else supporting it and it’s not supposed to be a free-standing fire. I reckon it hadn’t been fixed in place because, whoever installed it did not have the wherewithal to screw it into the marble fireback. The fire surround turned out to be made of MDF and was just slotted into place behind the reconstituted marble back, which itself was only held to the wall by two screws. It took no effort to lever it from the wall, so even if the gas fire had been fixed to the fireback, it would not have been much more secure. No wonder gas explosions in people’s homes are not uncommon, if this was the standard of work once. The wall behind the fireplace wasn’t quite as bad as thought it might be, the original fireclay fireback is still in place. It will probably have to be removed too. Once I’d lifted the reconstitute marble hearth I discovered the original hearth, in cream ceramic tiles., Once I’ve got these up, I should be able to lay a new hearth on the concrete, using the tiles I salvaged from the pantry.

I left the fire and surround in the skip and the heavy pieces of marble leaning against the skip. I bet they don’t stay there for long. I didn’t stay late today, hay fever was really bad, the drive home was horrendous, I don’t think the Navara’s pollen filter is working – great.

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