A clean chimney, a clean bicycle, and other joys of the season

Autumn leaves like little stars on the pavement

Autumn leaves like little stars on the pavement

Here’s a roundup of some of the things shaping our lives at the moment, now we’re into our second month of being a one-salary/one-homemaker household.

Home maintenance
Based at home, Brian has been tackling some of our longstanding home issues, and uncovering new ones that we hadn’t previously been aware of. Among a big list of jobs, the main activities have been felling a big willow tree and dealing with all the material, and making a start on all the roof repairs: lifting the tiles, preserving the wood, putting in new felt and then putting some new guttering up temporarily while we focus on another job before we come back to the roof.

We have some damp issues due to the concrete around the house which is laid too high and in some places is sloping toward the house. This all needs smashing up, removing and some other solution put in place – we are not sure what!

Today we also did our annual chimney sweep. We took all our belongings out of the room, covered the furniture with sheets (and one over the fireplace with a hole in, after this photo was taken)…

Our living room ready for chimney sweeping

Our living room ready for chimney sweeping

…and two hours later everything was swept, clean, put back in place and we were enjoying our liveliest fire of the year.

We like trying to spot faces and other shapes in the flames...

We like trying to spot faces and other shapes in the flames…

Helpful habits
One of the ongoing niggles Lucy has had over recent years is over bicycle maintenance – how often, how much, how to do it and how to motivate yourself to do it! The solution seems to be this: spend about 20 minutes every Saturday removing crud and grit, checking that the moving parts sound and look ok, oiling everything and pumping the tyres – whether or not it seems to need doing. Just do this every week. Then no problems will go unnoticed, and it’s always clean. It certainly seems to be working, and the bicycle ran really well last week!

The bicycle after it's weekly clean

The bicycle after it’s weekly clean

We can still do whatever fun things we want!
What’s becoming clearer is that there doesn’t have to be any limit on fun now our income is reduced. Most of the things we enjoy doing are free anyway – for example, we like reading library books about home design and interiors, discussing what we like and dislike about the styles, but this doesn’t make us want to actually go out and buy anything.

New books from the library

New books from the library

There’s also ways to make other occasions more affordable. This week Lucy took a day off to go on a family daytrip to a museum in another town, travelling by train – the museum itself was free entry (and the lunch ended up being a treat, but that was unexpected!).

At this time of year we are also starting to feel quite festive, not in a commercialised way, but because we can’t resist the cosiness and sparkle of the Christmas build-up. We’re feeling ready for the season: two Christmas cakes have been made and are being fed with brandy (one more still to make), Lucy has bought some good value (and low-chemical) sparkly nail varnish, and we love nothing more than snuggling up to watch a Christmas film, the more sentimental the better, because they are all about the best in people – and its nice to have a season where that is celebrated! (Click here for a post from the Positively Present blog which captures the messages of Christmas films. It’s not only us that love them!)

Thanks everyone for reading and subscribing. Enjoy the rest of this November!

2 thoughts on “A clean chimney, a clean bicycle, and other joys of the season

  1. Look up a French drain! this should help greatly, not too hard to achieve, of course concrete retains water so a nightmare near house walls. You may get away with breaking up part of the path near the house, we always seem to have damp problems, currently living near the sea in a Victorian house lovely but problematic. Hope this helps I think a French drain is quite achievable to do yourself or between you. Rosie (a follower of your blog and lifestyle very inspiring).

    • Hi Rosie, thank you so much for suggesting this. We’ve had a look at videos on youtube and it’s a big help to see how these things work. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comments 🙂

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