In which we discover we have a pink fireplace

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There’s currently a large hole in the side of our new house. And, as I’ve discovered, there’s nothing quite like missing a chunk of your external wall to cause you some stress, especially with the recent appalling weather we’ve been having. (We’re even more thankful now that that both our current and new house are 70m above sea level.) The reason we have this is also due to this bad weather: my parents came down last weekend to help us demolish an old coalhouse that’s attached to the kitchen, and help us brick up the subsequent hole we made, but the 30mph winds and torrential rain the West Country is currently enjoying meant we couldn’t finish it off before we lost the light on Sunday night. Cue a week of daily trips to the house to make sure the makeshift plastic and wood frame is keeping out the (still coming down in sheets) rain and no-one has discovered the walls are breachable. Luckily Dad is coming back tonight to help us finish it off, so please keep your fingers crossed that the weather is good enough this weekend for the mortar to set!

We also found out that our dining room fireplace is pink.

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What this photo doesn’t show is the absolutely massive soot shower that happened ten minutes later when I cautiously unscrewed the wooden top panel. You know that scene in the final Harry Potter film with the Peruvian instant darkness powder? Yeah, just like that. I was picking soot out of my hair and nails for the next two days, despite copious amounts of scrubbing in the shower.

After a couple of weeks which have been a bit frustratingly slow, we’ve managed to pick the pace up a bit and now have the balcony on order, planning permission lodged, plumbers and sparks lined up, all the wallpaper stripped and the garden cut back so it looks less like a jungle. Considering we only got the keys on 23rd December, we’ve made a lot of progress. And when things have got stressful (and when you’re doing a major renovation project, this is inevitable, even without factoring in the worst winter storms in years), I just close my eyes and imagine I’m sitting on our balcony, sipping wine and watching the sun set.

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