A first in possibly eight years or more… a fire and warmth seeps back into 2 Hillside. It feels magnificent and takes me back to my childhood, looking mesmerized into the dancing flames.

Only recently have we felt a real chill in the house. The thick walls and facing the sun all day has kept the house feeling remarkably temperate considering the time it has been empty.

The fire is also a significant milestone. A big attraction, a mystery of the house when we first bought it back in July was: what was behind the wall? The old fireplace and chimney — plus original bread oven — was soon exposed by Big David. Then carefully re-built.

Julian and Carolyn of Stroud Stove Services put on two reclaimed chimney pots and pulled through a fully-lagged new flue and plumbed in our new cast-iron wood burner. (The reason we chose Julian and Carolyn was they upfront quoted for the full top-notch 904-grade flue, jacket lagged, as standard and not the cheaper 316 and no insulation… and were still competitive).

Julian also carefully cut the top plate to mould to the twists and turns of the old brick-work. That’s taking pride in your work.

I watched fascinated as Julian and Carolyn stretched out the silver tube of the flue across the lounge floor and clipped into place the snug jacket along its length… but then I forgot to take the photograph!