Day 9 - uncovering our last fireplace

We are still bouncing between our apartment and the house. So after a day's work we raced off to get the boys, then arrived at the house with some hot food to eat. We still don't have a table or chairs so we are picnicking on the floor. No one has complained so far. After food, the boys zoned out on screens because they'd figured out we have Internet. It suited me though, as we'd only a short while in the house before having to shift everyone back over to the apartment for bedtime.

Because the old non-compliant gas fire had been removed earlier in the day by our gas engineer, I was now free to see what was going on behind the black surround.

Hidden Fireplace

Things started off optimistically - I discovered the surround seemed to be held in place by black masking tape. I peeled it off and tried to pull the surround off.

Sticky Tape

But that's when I noticed it was not screwed but firmly attached to the fireplace with these little popper things that I've previously only noticed on jeans or coats. I tried things to see if there was a trick I could use to 'pop' them back out, but it appears not. In the end I simply had to work hard, wiggling them around and pulling until each 'peg' popped out, releasing the metal surround.

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I got a technique in the end, and eventually pulled the surround off to reveal the fireplace.

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I love this fireplace too - it reminds Mehdi of Manze's pie shop in Deptford, where we occasionally enjoyed great pie and chips washed down by a mug of steaming tea (we're not normally tea drinkers, but did what was required after the proprieter fixed Mehdi with a death stare when he asked if they'd any espresso).

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I've swept up the dust but left the cobwebs - we've planned a Halloween party for around 30 kids the weekend before Halloween. I'm sure authentic cobwebs will distract our guests from the lack of:

  • safe drinking water (we haven't blogged about the lead pipes yet)
  • kitchen (no appliances, so no home made food)
  • seating
  • tables
  • general comfort...

But I'm taking today as another small DIY win, squeezed in between work and the bedtime routine, another baby step towards getting this house back in shape.

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