Sunday, 7 December 2008

New fire fitted

Photos to follow.
In France a fire that fits into a fire place so the main body is in the chimney itself is called an Insert, that's what we had, but this meant the only heat that came into the room was from the front, we felt that we lost most of our heat up the chimney and with wood at €200 a cord (1m x 1m x 3m of stacked wood) heating our commune was expensive. I was fortunate therefore to get my hands on a Supra hearth fire for €70, now remember that when we lived in England changing a plug was major DIY we had fitted our insert incorrectly. Paul decided to employ someone to fit the new (second hand) one for us.
Paul spoke to the man who fitted our Velux windows and cleaned our chimney, a reliable punctual person, agreed a price and arranged a date with him,
The work went like this, arrived on time, and accepted his first glass of rosé, he then started to pull the old insert out, thus began my education in a selection of new French words, "Merdé" ( I knew that one), "Putain" the sleeve running the full length of the chimney had started to slide down, if it hadn't been for the Chapeau (hat, the cover on the top of the sleeve) it would have slid down to the floor, now it was wedged on the back off the fire, first blood, he had to hold the sleeve up while Paul pulled out the insert and went in search of a breeze block to hold the pipe in place. OK sleeve supported on block he can let go of sleeve and put on a plaster, off he went to his van, he came back with a clamp, the type we should have fitted in the first place and ducked into the chimney, not ducking enough, more swearing but at least no blood, more swearing as he realised the only clamp he had was the wrong size, back to the van he "adapted" the clamp to fit, I think if had concentrated on the job in hand and less on increasing my vocabulary he wouldn't have hit his thumb with the hammer, still that's a new word, not sure when I will ever use that one though. I had bought up the geese from the bottom field to lock them up, this coincided with him coming through the gate, the geese attacked. 2nd glass of Rosé to settle his nerves, and back into the chimney, you would have thought he would have remembered how low to duck, but still no blood, this is the man who cleaned the chimney, he moved something, more swear words out he came covered in dust, rubbing his eyes, he had bought his goggles, maybe he should have worn them. OK clamp in place, sleeve locked in place, shame it wasn't the right place, he had misunderstood, when we said we wanted to change the fires he assumed in the same place, no, forward a bit, the fact that we had asked him to block off the chimney (except for a hole for the sleeve to go through had, unlike the chimney place its self, gone over his head. He examined the pieces he had bought and decided a large Pastis was in order, a look at the clock revealed that "it was the hour" and Pastis was served all round, "the hour" by the way is when you need to justify drinking the Pastis, it doesn't actually have to be "the hour" any hour will do, but seems to work well as a system. Alan (did I mention his name? Sorry, yes Alan), looked horrified as I poured lemonade it my Pastis, well I like it they way.
About time I added a new paragraph, the reducing sleeves added because the hole in the old fire was larger than the new, pink plasterboard, fire resistant blocking the fire place up and Alan made a pipe out of flexible material (cutting a deep gash in his finger), the type we should have used up the chimney, and made a hole in the board and slid the new fire in to test drive, grab some wood, and, ah, the old fire took 50cm lengths, the size I have plenty of, the new fire 36cm. Pastis time, light the Kerosene heater, and relax. The bill, 4 hours of swearing, adapting, swearing, injuring and more swearing, all the reducers and a promise to pay next week €140 + alcohol, bargain.