The snow has come and gone leaving a chilly feeling in the air but at least the thermostat is still talking to the boiler and we are on the count down to loft insulation. In fact we now have a pristine loft and a living room filled with assorted rubble sacks containing everything from plaster and lathe to grey sediment.
Generally the advice when renovating a building is to start from the top down. I didn’t dream that in this case the first part of the cottage to be rendered lovely would be the loft space. I mean, I know it’s important but it’s not as if I can show it off to anyone. ‘Well hello! Why don’t you come up and see my loft.’ I suppose it beats come up and see my etchings.
Actually I’m hoping to cadge some insulation from the team of engineers (does insulation need an engineer to fit it?) to stuff under the bath – it’s a cast iron one you see and everyone tells me that my days of lingering longer in the tub with a book and glass of wine are over on the grounds that the water will get cold very much more quickly than in an acrylic one which doesn’t sound terribly fun.
Now, I’ve toyed with encouraging HWIOO to leave the side panel off thinking that tea-lights beneath the bath could leave me feeling pleasantly poached but this hardly seems realistic and is probably a fire hazard. Come to think of it I don’t fancy spending four hours at Accident and Emergency only to have to explain that I burned my bottom in the bath. So, having checked the Internet for suggestions, which I discovered, veered from the pessimistic to the cautiously helpful to the downright cheery.
Unsurprisingly firms selling cast iron baths assure me that cast iron will leave me with hot bath water for longer. They would. Another well known company pointed out that cast iron draws the heat out of the water to start with but then helps to retain it -I’m not sure I follow the physics but I got detracted in any event. They were less concerned with ambient temperature than the problem of bath, water and occupant making an unexpected descent from first floor to ground floor which presents me with a whole new set of issues that I absolutely refuse to address at this moment in time on the grounds that the bath has been there since the 1970s at least. Other suggestions included a kettle of boiling water to warm the bath, running the hot tap first or getting an acrylic liner which sort of, in my opinion at least, defeats the object of the exercise. My other choices included a layer of ping pong balls to stop the water evaporating…hmmm…relaxing bath, book, wine and ping pong balls – I think not! I don’t think I’ll be opting for the immersion heater in the bath either. I don’t much fancy myself as an Agatha Christie style corpse. Someone else suggested epsom salts- which would also have the effect of slimming me down in the short term but probably result in an unpleasant rash. There’s always the idea of a three quarter covering- similar presumably to the one which Marat used and which is described in the account of his murder by Charlotte Corday. If I could persuade HWIOO to produce something of this ilk it would perhaps be a useful desk where I could pen my best selling novel. For a cheaper option a blanket of bubble wrap which I could pull over me like a duvet when I climb in the bath or perhaps if I’m feeling especially frivolous one of those dinky pop up tents that looks like a castle. Or there again perhaps I’ll just stick to insulation underneath the tub.
Still on the bath front, I have also finally managed to lay hands on an enamel bath paint repair kit by Ronseal. HWIOO suggested ordinary gloss paint. I turned to the Internet for further advice and discovered that it wasn’t a winning combination as the gloss paint combined with hot water would ensure I ended up covered in flecks of white paint – not a good look. The good news is that if my sanding and filling and enamelling isn’t entirely successful that a bath pillow will disguise my errors. Let’s hope that the insulation works if that is indeed the case.
Meanwhile, and let’s face it- long relaxing baths are many months hence, electrics have been moved, loft hatches created and another room cleared of debris. I wouldn’t say that we were winning but I am very cautiously optimistic. I also realise that we will need a skip. Even I can’t smuggle a room full of rubble filled bags into the recycling centre. No doubt it will be another learning curve.