Monday, 11 January 2010

GOOD OLD COUNTRY COMFORT IN MY BONES



Firstly, demolish drystone wall to accommodate aerial platform.

Secondly, send young polish plumber, stanislav, to probable death, uncapping chimney.

Take picture of garden.

Fire up old Rayburn bought for fifty-pee.

Finally, relax in the knowledge that this old thing, moreso even than money, represents the display, at least, of middle class values and entry to the demi-monde of country living. Pray for me.
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10 comments:

lilith said...

Fantastic. Rayburn jealousy. This week I was fantasising about putting a shed in the yard and putting a wood burner in that...

call me ishmael said...

I have been wood burning for years, I have some big fuck off saws and I generate loads of off-cuts from various projects but each bit of stored-up sunshine that I release always seems like a miracle, and if it's anything good, like hundred year old pitch pine - sometimes the bits are just too small to be re-used - then the fragrance is stunning. Do go for the shed project, feeding a wood stove, with a drink or a joint at hand, is as elemental and ancient as we poor Ruined can manage in our bankrupt, digitised pseudo-reality.

Anonymous said...

You should let your readers know pitch pine came from Oregon many church pews are made from the stuff doesn't rot because of the oil content. Sure fire way of telling it is the genuine articke is to scrape a bit with a knife and smell. only one smell like it in the world.

Dick the Prick said...

50p????? Fantastic. My best chum has been stranded in his house for about a week now having bought at the top of one of the Derbyshire dales and generally being 'in the middle of fucking nowhere' and apparently he's been building a shed a la Fritzl to prevent accidently murdering his wife & 2 girls. I fear for their sanity - mind you, I did question her at length on the eve of her marriage as to 'wtf are you doing girl?'.

mongoose said...

Mr Ishmael, we smashed out an old back-boiler and stove at a friend of mine's last autumn and she had a wood burner put in in November. As you say, joint in one hand, Kew Gold in the other... Snowball fight later?

I hope you put the wall back.

call me ishmael said...

No walls to be put back, mr mongoose, I just exposed the original, 1797, inglenook which would have housed a mighty range, I think what I removed, plasterboard and blockboard, dated only from the 1970s.

As to pitch pine, it is true that a lot originated in Oregon but it is not unique to that state and, if anything, the Oregon stuff is inferior to others, certainly in colour and figuring, being paler and lacking the characteristic red Tiger-stripe; any pitch pine, nevertheless, can be described as the hardest of technically soft woods and where lesser timbers - softer and lighter pines and deal - were used domestically in the nursery and the kitchen, pitch pine's strength and durability saw it used, as well as for paneled doors, in more institutional settings - schools, the army, factories and as you say, extensively in later churches and kirks; the further North one travels, the less ornate the joinery, carving and embossing of the pew, the grimmer, generally, the visual, architectural landscape becomes.

Nineteenth century institutional pieces of pitch pine have survived very well, indeed, and many, bookcases, cupboards, tables, particularly, are, stripped of their original paint or varnish and wax polished are now proudly in private homes.

It is maybe because of it's beautiful figuring and immense utility that burning a bit of pitch pine seems such a sacramental, sacrificial activity, as you say, there is no smell like it.

Even so, forsakiung timber snobbery, there is nothing like a wood fire, indoors or out, they should be available on prescription.

mongoose said...

The dry-stone wall outside, ye savage, ye. Or is some poor Estonian out there in the darkness even now toiling away on the minimum wage?

call me ishmael said...

Oh, that, sorry, no, gonna build a gate in the space to allow future access both ways - plant, dogs and such and the channel to the soakaway in the field runs under that section of what was once wall. Too fucking hard, drystonewalling, especially in these temperatures so I was glad to find a reason to avoid it.

woman on a raft said...

Like Lilith, I am jealous. To find a Rayburn for 50p is only a peg down from finding a Saxon treasure trove in the shed and being allowed to keep it.

I am impressed at the cool of smuggling a giant wood-burning stove in from a jumble sale and when faced with the inevitable "And where do you think you are going to put that?" to meekly reply "I thought I'd keep it in the Inglenook. Here's one I found earlier".

call me ishmael said...

Not quite so easy. It has been a big, big job, Mrs WOAR, re-making the entire kitchen, changing all the plumbing and wiring, building and hanging cupboards and so on. I would much rather have found the Saxon gold than the Rayburn. And if I did I wouldn't tell anybody.