So what did today have in stall for me.
Well work beckoned and it was up at the crack of 6:22am for an hour’s drive to work starting at 7:20ish.
A pretty tough day at work and a very late lunch at 2:30 due to some pesky automatic doors and I managed to spend my lunchtime productively getting a spare set of keys cut for the fire fitters who’d be fitting my Dunsley Yorkshire the next day.
Got home a little later than usual and it was straight on with the warm work clothes.
An hour of my life wasted – again – on the phone to Sky regarding my sloooow internet connection. Still the engineer on the other end of the line was really friendly and he knew his stuff. He did almost get to the line of “well you may have a slow line but we only agreed to deliver speeds upwards of 0.5Mb/sec.” which had been thrust down my throat by a previous rather rude customer support lady. Anyway I spent 58 minutes on the phone, plugging my laptop directly into the line, switching off all internet enabled devices and I will later have to run some tests in the wee hours of the morning and post them over. Really though I think the conclusion will be “well you may have a slow line but we only agreed to deliver speeds upwards of 0.5Mb/sec” when a test we did showed 0.78Mb/sec I’m paying for a 8Mb/sec line (best you can get out here in the sticks) this is a bit ridiculous. There was good news though in that fiber (fibre?) is on its way within the next year, wahee I won’t have to watch plumbing videos on YouTube in staccato.
Anyway the real dirty job of the evening beckoned and it was up there in unpleasantness with the tree cutting – by the way A. Gardner dropped me a text to tell me he was finishing off the last tree later in the week, wahee again, I knew he was a good lad – This unpleasantness being what to do with the lovely fireplace that was going to be removed tomorrow.
Now I know that most of you will not agree with ripping out an original feature, but it is in the way of progress, me needing to install a burner and all. I have tried to sell it, I have posted numerous emails to fire reclamation centres but the two that replied simply said “not interested”. The fire too wasn’t original and strikes me as being fitted in the fifties. So all in all it had to go, grand old thing it is… bit ugly though.
Leaving the task to the fitters tomorrow and all I would have been left with would probably have been a pile of rubble so I decided to undertake the onerous task of seeing if I could remove it myself.
I read up on it and found that there would probably be four metal studs fixing to the wall. Using a metal detector I located their whereabouts and with a small cold chisel in hand and a 4lb lug hammer I set to the task.
Now remember yesterday when I said my back was aching, well a late night hot bath had cured it a little but I was still in a lot of pain just breathing so wielding a lug hammer and trying to manhandle a fifty ton fireplace was not a way of spending an evening after a long difficult day at work.
Still I found the lugs and found too that the fixings were inaccessible, the one screw head I could get to just spun in its fixing so that was no good too.
Now remember I’m a man alone and perhaps you might forgive me but I then laid down a bed of old duvets and a couple of bolsters for the fireplace to softly snuggle into when the timber moment arrived, I then set to the fireplace with a set of pry bars and a crowbar. Well I set to it with a crowbar as the pry bars didn’t budge it. Losing a bit of patience, feeling my back giving up and noticing the late hour of the day I just levered it off the wall, tiles split hither and thither and a huge thump later it sprung from the wall and flattened the duvets and left one bolster in a rather erect salute.
No wonder no-one wants these things, they weigh an absolute ton, the tiles mask a huge slab of concrete and it is unearthly heavy.
I think with a cutting wheel to free the lugs, a bit more patience, a less achy back, another couple of hours, the hindsight of crowbarring onto the concrete only (get the bar right into the middle of the concrete) and I might have been able to salvage it, well most of it anyway.
All in all I think I broke around ten tiles, the base had broken lose unevenly and that was that, what to do with the poor sad old thing.
My immediate reaction was to chip off all the unbroken tiles breaking some in the process, to also save the middle bit that a fire fitter had told me might be valuable, breaking one bit of this in the process. As for the fascia tiles and the hearth, well unless I had a fork lift truck there was no getting at them.
Tomorrow the fire fitters will either thank me for saving them work or scold me as they could have done a better job. Whatever though I’ll ask them to try to salvage as much in the way of tiles as and if they can, if they can turn it over that is.
My plan now is to use the salvaged tiles somewhere else in the house, maybe tiling the entrance lobby floor, a mosaic or something for the garden. I feel I owe it to the grand old thing in that it still has a part in the house.
Knackered now, Sky testing yet to do then bed.