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Michelle Gallen

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Day 84 - what hit us in November?

Photo by Philip Swinburn / Unsplash Well a load hit us...work, travel, DIY...but here's a quick summary: First week in November we were in London as a family to catch up with old friends and visit old haunts. That Saturday Mehdi said goodbye to us in Liverpool street station, and myself and the boys got the Stansted express for our flight to Dublin, while he flew on to San Francisco. I arrived in time to heat up the house a bit for our guests (my sister, her husband and 3 kids) who arrived Saturday evening for a flying - but really fun - visit. My

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When I stepped out my front door at lunchtime today I was ambushed by a burly, sunshiney window cleaner who was cleaning our next door neighbours' windows. He offered to do our windows (front and back for €25). Mehdi was pleased, shrugged and said yes. Which was a bit annoying, as I wanted to haggle on price. But now that the windows are clean I'm super pleased at just how much brighter the light is inside the house (they really were filthy...). The downside is that I can now see all the dirt on the inside windows. Last time I tried cleaning them, I ran out

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Day 49 - Approach to restoration - coming to agreement

I feel it's important to note how Mehdi and I came to agreement on how we manage a huge slow project like this without going insane. We both grew up in big old houses in the country, with big gardens, where everything needed a tonne of work done, all the time - every time my parents ticked something off a to-do list, 3 other things had been added. In Mehdi's family, his father's approach was to do everything he could himself. While this approach can be cost efficient and means you're sure of your finish (for better or worse...), it has huge drawbacks, particularly if -

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Day 48 - chimneys, flues and fires - money up in smoke

From a design and heritage point of view, we’re lucky that the original fireplaces are all in place in the house – all 6 of them. And there’s a dirty old blocked up flue in the kitchen where the old range used to be. From a heating and efficiency point of view, we’re unlucky that we have 7 large holes in our house. Fireplaces have flues that ventilate rooms – but with that ventilation, you also lose heat straight up the chimney. Around 60-80% of your heating goes straight up an open flue. Sorting your fireplaces out can help you save 15-25% on heating bills.

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Day 47 - packing leads to unpacking

Or not, as our case might be. When moving house, I've always go through the same sequence of thoughts: 1 Committed to a move date This is the worst part of moving! We have so much stuff! Way too much stuff! How will we ever pack up and shift all this stuff? I'm sure it'll all get better once I buy some boxes. Time to drink a small gin. 2 After purchasing boxes/hired movers stage 1 OMG I must freecycle/recycle/donate/jettison anything we don't use! This really is the worst bit of moving. But it'll get easier once I've sorted everything. Consider drinking

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