Friday, 7 October 2016

Junk in my trunk

Pippin having fun on the new old trunk
Sorry about the recent silence. I always try to make October a bit special, but I moved into my new job on Monday - same company, same job title, but I'm now on Official PlayStation Magazine - and have been busy getting to grips with that (I moved in on deadline week!). In my spare time I've had a load of work from SFX and Horrorville. Busy, busy, Mim. Still, all that freelance keeps me in shoes. And, um concert tickets. I'm off to see both Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath in 2017. Is this a midlife crisis? If it is, it's bloody good fun.

It looks like Mr Robot and I are going to have a smarter, sprucer living room too by Christmas. We've been saying for a while that we'd like to get more of it sorted out – a house this old is one never-ending project – and the catalyst was finally getting the chimney swept a couple of Mondays ago. From the state of the knackered fireplace we're pretty sure a previous resident of the house burned stuff in it, even though there's no proper insert. Not knowing the state of the chimney, we've never lit a fire ourselves. From a clogged chimney catching fire to a leaky one spewing carbon monoxide into the upper rooms, fires aren't something to mess about with. We'd really feared that the chimney would need relining or repointing, but the chimney sweep said it was fine, and gave us our safety certificate, which means our plan to replace the fireplace is going ahead.

We've ordered a Victorian-style cast iron fireplace with tiled inserts – the real thing is beyond our budget, but replicas are widely available and really nice – and we've had a fitter give us a quote for installing it, which hopefully will be done at some point in the next couple of months. We had to cut down a tree in our week off, so we've got plenty of wood drying out. By the time the fireplace is in, the wood should be okay to burn. (Green wood makes horrendous amounts of smoke, and I don't fancy cleaning soot off everything.)

Once the fireplace is in, we'll tackle the living room floor: fill in the cracks, sand it, and give it a coat or three of varnish. We did the bathroom floor ourselves and I was very pleased with it, so the living room shouldn't pose any problems. Mr Robot does the sanding, and I do the varnishing.

The fireplace is not the only thing we're replacing in the living room. Our battered old fake-leather chair and footstool are completely worn out, with the 'leather' surface worn away to the fabric, and need replacing. We went to the most recent Shepton Mallet flea market as Cate's been saying how good it is for ages. We thought we'd look for a trunk (to hold all my knitting gubbins and replace the footstool) and wing chair. We didn't find a chair, but we were able to get a nicely battered old boarding school trunk, as seen in the picture above.* The Mr was concerned that the green might look odd in a room that's predominantly cream, dark red and dark wood, but I think it provides a nice counterpoint to all the red without clashing.

The firm that made the trunk, Mossman, has been in business since 1938, and still makes trunks in Britain today, which is nice. A little bit of tradition for the living room! It does indeed hold all my junk, and the cats think it's a wonderful seat/playground too. Ziggy has been particularly funny, as he's worked out that he can stand on it and put his paws on the windowsill to stare out of the window. It's entertaining watching him trying to work his way past the curtains.



*On reflection, I am VERY proud of myself for resisting the many excellent vases, tea sets, bits of jewellery and other stuff that I cheerfully could have taken home. While the fair wasn't what I'd hoped for in terms of large items of furniture – though for all I know the traders may differ at other times of year – it would be a treasure trove for anyone looking for small-to-medium items, from phones and lights to furnishing fabrics.

32 comments :

  1. That's great news about the fireplace, I bet you were thinking the worst.
    The trunk is gorgeous and it's got feline approval, must be good. Stephen stands and looks out of the window on his hind legs, too. he looks ridiculous.
    Glad the new job's going well and what a fab treat, not one but two gigs. One of my friend's is seeing Sabbath's roadie, so she's had the pleasure of a few free gigs and loved them.xxx

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    1. We were expecting it to cost a horrific amount. So pleased we can go straight ahead and get the replacement.

      I'm looking forward to the gigs, but have realised I haven't heard anything of Sabs since the 1970s and no Maiden since the mid-90s, so I probably need to catch up on some of their more recent stuff.

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  2. You sound as if you've been horrendously busy.

    Oooh, I do love a trunk and this one looks gorgeous and its green!And practical!

    How lovely you are going to have an open fire; they're so cosy. Will you also burn coal?

    The plans for your living room sound brilliant - I look forward to the posts.

    Have a great weekend.

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. I don't think we'll burn coal - we don't really have anywhere to put it, and we have an endless supply of bits of tree from the garden. It's going to be more decorative/for atmosphere than for heating, though I may well be glad of an open fire when the zombie apocalypse happens...

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  3. What a gorgeous trunk. I think that it would be the perfect foil to the red in your colour scheme and a gorgeous wooden floor. That is fabulous news about your chimney and a Victorian style fire would be so nice. A real fire is just so warm and a total treat for the senses in the winter time. We have been ogling a lot of bands of that ilk too. Sabbath are playing here and I was really surprised when Sprogzilla asked if she could go. I am going to see The Damned in November so will be channeling my inner goth for that one. Ziggy is very cute. Xx

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    1. Oooh, the Damned! Good choice. Pete's also taking me to see The Neph in London - I haven't seen them since 1990. Both excited and fearful about that one. I loved them so much, what if they're dreadful now?!

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    2. i went down to London to see The Neph at few years ago, at Shepherd's Bush Empire. The place was filled with Goths "of a certain age", including me. The band were great. Xx

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  4. Hooray, a soon-to-be working fireplace. Won't that be lovely to sit and knit beside?

    The trunk is beautiful, and looks very well made.

    Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath is the best sort of mid-life crisis (beats cosmetic surgery).

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    1. I reckon I'll be in competition with the catses for the best space in front of the fire.

      If I had the money for cosmetic surgery, I'd spend it on something else. Everything goes south anyhow, surgery won't stop that. Might as well spend the cash on good food and travels.

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  5. The trunk looks fab! Norman used to sit on or curl up beside my old one. Then my friend had it and her kids pretty much do the same to it!

    Shepton can be a bit hit and miss for furniture and I think this one was due to the weather. It had been pouring the day before and I think that put the sellers off bringing the big stuff. The summer ones and the antique fairs (not always expensive stuff) tend to be better for furniture. xx

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    1. It deffo won't be our last trip to Shepton. (Not if I have anything to do with it.) I was ogling all the wonderful jewellery in the indoor bit.

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  6. A very smart trunk, and your living room plans sound wonderful. Good luck with it all! There's nothing like a real fire in the winter months, I swear some of it is probably psychological, but well worth it x

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    1. Heh, living in the valleys, open fires must be part of your heritage. Coal or nothing!

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  7. Good luck with your new job, Mim! From your description, the fire place is going to look lovely. I love the trunk! We inherited a hug linen chest, which is in front of the window in our spare room. It's Phoebe's favourite place, for naps as well as looking out of the window, which she is doing the same way as Ziggy. Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, well well ... xxx

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    1. Cats are such nosy creatures, aren't they? I've ended up putting a towel on one end of the trunk for ours to sleep on.

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  8. Great news on the fire place and how bloody fab is that trunk??

    Very much looking forward to next week. x

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  9. The trunks veto cool can't wait to see the new living room

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    1. It's going to be so nice to get it all sorted out, that's for sure. The thought of an open fire is making me feel all Dickensian.

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  10. Jealous of your future fireplace! I definitely don't have the room in my new house, and to be honest as it's so, er, 'cosy' it would probably get far too hot with one, but I had one in my last place and I miss it! They do make for a homely feel... I'd have thought a dark green with red and cream is pretty perfect actually :)

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    1. I don't think we'll light it very often, though with all the trees we're chopping down, we'll be well stocked for wood come the zombie apocalypse.

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  11. Ooooh, very nice, both the trunk and the news about the fire place. It's so nice to be able to lit a fire when it's freezing outside, and cuddle up with a nice cup of tea and a blanket. It's getting frosty here in Lillehammer. We went to see the in-laws this weekend, they live some 4 hours further south by train, and when we returned winter was in the air.

    Glad your new job is going well, exciting days :)

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    1. Brr! I bet you get PROPER snow where you are.

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  12. Can't beat a real fire. Your interior plans sounds fab. I'm so housey, I love hearing about stuff like this, even storage solutions get me all excited. This is a very stylish one. I have one for all my old vintage clothes from my teens and twenties. I'm afraid I know next to nothing about heavy metal but hey, if it's fun, do it and do it some more I say. I'm beginning to think a mid-life crisis is actually a good thing if it makes us focus on doing what makes us happy in life. Hope the new job is going to be fab! X

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    1. My storage solution: throw things over the floor all week, pick 'em up at the weekend.

      I'm okay with the mid-life crisis. Going to a few metal gigs is in a different league to getting a toyboy and a leather miniskirt.

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  13. It's hard to beat a great old trunk. Anytime I look at one, my mind flashes to all of the possible places and people it may have come in contact with over the years. The lives it might have changed and the hands it has been passed down through. They're such an important, wonderful reminder of the pass that still serve us well to this day as storage and decor items.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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  14. We want pics of that fab new fireplace & any future furniture purchases too!

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    1. It's all still in boxes in the living room - we're struggling to find a certified fitter to put it in. I honestly don't know how there can be unemployment in my area, because getting tradespeople to do ANYTHING to the house is nigh-impossible. (And any work involving gas, electricity, fire has to be certified.)

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  15. I'm so happy for you!
    Your life will change completely with this new fireplace. Trust me, there are few things that a human body reacts to so strongly as it does to the direct fire. Fire is something we have had since the "dawn" of our species. :)
    As for the trunk.. well, remember history? Ladies have, back in time, always had the "trunk" for their "junk" - so to say. But, it was everything but JUNK. Most trunks have kept the precious possessions of it's owners, and I'm quite positive yours will do it's job perfectly.
    Tell Mr. Robot that this adorable item will absolutely fit into your living room, without doubt. And, as you can see - the cats approve of it. So, it's done. :)

    Marija

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    1. Yup, the cats have taken to it in a big way. They're staying in more now the weather is colder and damper, so I've given them a clean towel on one corner of the trunk to sleep on.

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  16. We had an open fire in our last place, it was lovely, but we suffered through a really cold winter with the wind whistling down the chimney and under doors, the fire just about took the edge off of the paralysing cold! Bob would sit with his bum on the hearth, warming himself! We also found him in the coal cauldron one day ...

    That trunk is gorgeous! We have an old military one which was his granddad's. We can't have wood or nice things in rabbit areas, unless of course we want them chibbled xxx

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    1. I did wonder if the cats would attack the trunk, but they have a scratching post in the living room and so far confine their scratches to that.

      I haven't noticed the room being colder since we got the chimney swept, but it certainly smells better! I guess it must have smelled of pigeons before.

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