No sooner had we said au revoir to Carrie and the boys, Clare arrived for a short break. It was great to see her and fab to see her in such fine health and with real hair!! We eased her in gently getting her to help clean out the old radiators and take off the valves and stoppers. Easier said then done as they were stuck on solid after 100 years of use and painting. It took 3 of us to get them off, but we managed and only broke one valve which is great as they are things of beauty engraved with the producers stamp from Toulouse.
Emmanuelle came back on Monday and he has been super busy installing the chauffage system. The atelier looks a bit like a mad scientists room now with all his pipes, dials etc!! On Tuesday the chaudière (wood burner) came. That was a palaver as the lorry couldn’t get down our driveway and the thing weighs 900 tonnes. So Chris had to drive it down on his trailer and then we had to push it into place. Now that all sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it might have been if the thing wasn’t on a wooden crate! Said crate had to be removed as having a gasification sitting on a flammable material is a bit of a no no, something to do with it burning the house down apparently!! So we had to get a 900 tonnes machine off of the wooden crate and into place. How to do? Well luckily Pierre had come to hep and he is a very resourceful chappy so after an hour of rigging together a pulley system which would allow 3 of us to hold the weight whilst Emmanuelle whisked the wooden crate away and pushed it into place. Whilst also ensuring that we, or the beams, didn’t collapse under the weight!! Understandably I do not have too many photos of this but it is now in place never to be moved again!
Chris, Clare and I also put all the radiators in place as although we do not have the time or means to plumb them all in before Emmanuelle leaves next week he needs to know where they will be and we need to know that we have enough. They look great in the rooms as they add character, they’ll look even better when we paint them and plumb them in! So most of this week has been spent planning and buying plumbing equipment. Tomorrow Pierre is going to work with us and we hope to plumb in the radiators in the room we are sleeping in and the temporary kitchen/bathroom so that we can at least be warm in these rooms this winter. It will also enable us to add other rooms to the system as and when we are able. We are also changing over the hot water system which involves replumbing the temporary bathroom and kitchen and getting rid of the old boiler that we have been using and connecting to our new system.
This whole system, along with the insulation, is where the bulk of our money has gone. It is not a thing of beauty, the insulation you cannot see and the chaudière is industrial looking and lives in the atelier along with the whopping big water tank. However we are hoping that it will pay off and we will be toasty warm in winter for very little cost and cool as cucumbers in the summer! Chris has been absorbed in pipes, valves, circuits and kw for so long now that I think he has probably forgotten how to build anything out of wood!!
It’ll be a relief when it is done and I am excited to see the solar panels going on, knowing that all that lovely sunshine is not only making my tomatoes big and juicy but giving me hot water for my shower!