Wednesday, 7 October 2015

SSSSHhhhhhh..... the Rayburn Project might be happening!!!

Just to say, very quietly, that all the parts for the plumbing in of the wood burning Rayburn stove have all been purchased.

Just to say, and whispering this to you...... if all goes well we might be having heating this winter. Yes. Heating. Seven years without any heating. How will I cope with not feeling frozzled with cold. And what shall I do with all my thermal underthings!

Ah, but let us not presume that the Rayburn will be working this winter, and just to say, for now....that the radiators are now fixed to the walls (two in the music room, two in the half barn), that an expedition down to the local DIY depot seems to have provided most of the parts needed to get the water from the Rayburn to them. We have discounted plumbing the Rayburn into the hot water system because 1) We could not find anyone local to us who could do the work. 2)  If we have found someone then they would have probably been too expensive for our budget. 3) We realised that to have hot water and radiators running off the Rayburn at the same time would probably have meant having to run the Rayburn at full burn for a lot of the time.

But, hey! Wow! The Rayburn Project might just be on the move!

As for me, I seem to be ten steps behind myself at the moment. The hallway is now finished, apart from being painted, so I can move freely between the back and front kitchens. But no, I seem not to be able to 'move freely'. not because there is anything wrong with me other than the normal aches and pains signalling the approach of winter, but I don't seem to be able to concentrate on any one thing for longer that five minutes. It will pass. I am probably distracted because of the Rayburn Project work going on around me, plus I have been sorting out my catalogue of photographs which I have been accumulating since 2008, which is when we first came to France, so lots of memories of the past few years have been coming to the surface of my mind.

Oh, and perhaps the fact that we have been invited to a rehearsal of an French / English Irish band  tomorrow night is also distracting me and making me feel mildly panicky. Two of the band members are due to leave next year, so they need to find more musicians. Wow! They are a good band. Crikey but I feel nervous. Lester has played in Irish bands for years, so it is nothing new for him, but me.... strooth....anyway, I shall be taking my piano accordion along, and then it is up to the band members as to whether or not I am good enough. I am not fussed either way, but I would like Lester to play in a band again as I think it would do him good and give him something to do other than cope with running a smallholding.

I shall do my best. I started playing the accordion just before my 67th birthday, and at age 68 I think it is an achievement to have even thought about learning to play a new instrument ( I have been a pianist for years) let alone manage to keep up with Lester when he rollicking his way through the Irish jigs, reels, polkas, and anything else he has a mind to play. But I still can't help feeling nervous about playing with eight other people! At least when playing with Lester I can yell at him to slow down!

Otherwise, everything else is ticking along, apart from anything to do with me in the kitchens. The milk in the fridge is needing my attention....there should be enough to make a soft cheese if I get to it before it clabbers (when the milk separates into curds and whey), but if I don't then the dogs and pigs will thoroughly  enjoy slurping up the mixture. Porridge for breakfast tomorrow because there is no bread for toast because I have not made any. All canning projects are at stop, and have been for several days now, ever since work started on the hallway. But I have started sewing again, and am in the middle of making a winter skirt for myself, and I am getting the photos sorted out, and tomorrow I shall walk from the front kitchen to the back kitchen determined to get the food production line going again.

Or perhaps this effort will have to wait until Friday because I am sure that the thought of attending the rehearsal with the band in the evening will distract me so much that I shall drift about from here to there and back again without actually getting anything done!

Off to have a practice on the accordion, so bye for now.



Dawn McHugh said...

Thats great news, I will keep everything crossed for you with the Rayburn and audition :-)

Vera said...

DAWN, oh bless you....

Frugal Queen said...

I'm following and have read back through, good luck, we've just bought a house without any heating in Brittany so really interested in everything you're doing x

rusty duck said...

Oh good luck Vera and a big YaYYYYY!!! for the Rayburn. OK, a whisper then..

PioneerPreppy said...

I am very interested to see how it works for you!!! I opted to not connect the plumbing to our wood furnace because I didn't want to have to burn year round. I figured I could survive heating water as needed in a grid down situation better than I could cutting wood year round. Had I been younger I might have gone a different route.

Cro Magnon said...

We've just installed a very nice Italian wood burning stove, with back boiler, up at the barn. It is also connected to a couple of solar panels and an ordinary immersion heater. So if the sun doesn't provide the heat, then one of the others takes over. Quite a complicated system, and not cheap, but it works very well. I think it heats 6 radiators.

Kerry said...

How exciting, a nice and toasty Rayburn. I couldn't imagine living without heating for 7 years, I really don't like being cold. Once it's up and running I'm sure you'll find a use for those knickers xx

Vera said...

FRUGAL QUEEN, we have done 'no heating' for seven winters! But we have got used to feeling chilly and have learnt to keep wearing loads of layers of clothing, and we have managed to get through alright. We are also healthier as a results. Looking forward to reading your blog to see how you are getting on.

JESSICA, whispering together then....."the Rayburn's being plumbed in, the Rayburn's being plumbed in....... and our chimney pots have been done!"

PIONEER PREPPY, I also thought that cutting wood all year round would be too much for my husband, which is what we would have to have to do if we plumb the Rayburn into the boiler. But we have to have some sort of water system installed with the Rayburn because they are not manufactured as just wood burning stoves any more, and that is why we have opted for a system of just four radiators, which will only be used to take the damp and chill out of the rooms rather than pushing lots of heat into them.

I think that if we could have had the Rayburn just as a wood burning stove, then we would probably have not connected the water system to it. So we shall run the stove and heating from October to April, and then I shall use my electric and bottled gas range cooker from May to September. And if things go down, then we shall just have to light a fire outside for hot water and cooking. Or else light the Rayburn and put up with a very hot house!

CRO MAGNON, this was similar to my husband's reason as to why we should have a Rayburn installed, and so we had an electric boiler put in six years ago which could also be heated from the Rayburn. But things changed, and the position of the Rayburn meant that it was going to be complicated to get the boiler and Rayburn connected, so the hot water idea died a death, although at some point in the future we shall get solar panels to support the boiler's use of electricity. This meant that the Rayburn had to have the radiators fitted because they do not make Rayburns without a back boiler unit nowadays. Our friends said that they use their Rayburn and block the back boiler unit off, but it definitely says in our instruction book that this must not be done to the new Rayburns. Not to worry, the radiators will support the general background temperature of the house, which will be good. The Rayburn will run more radiators, but four was enough to heat the section of the house which we shall be using in winter.

Your system sounds very efficient. I think my husband would have liked to have had a more efficient system that what we are ending up with, but we are both satisfied that we shall have heating and cooking facilities. We have had to compromise and are happy to so.

Vera said...

KERRY, we had to get used to the cold when we first came here.....we lived in tents and caravans for the first winter, and then after that it was caravans, which eventually removed our UK dependency on having a hot centrally heated house!

northsider dave said...

Great news on the Rayburn front Vera. We use our range every day to cook, hot water and to heat 7 radiators. Look forward to seeing your Rayburn on your blog.

Vera said...

NORTHSIDER DAVE, wow, but you do use your Rayburn to its fullest capacity. In comparison ours will not be doing nearly as much as yours does, which encourages me to keep optimistic that it will be a good piece of equipment to have in the kitchen.