Posts Tagged ‘eco’

Our kids are happy in our church school here in the parish. The teachers are kind and dedicated and are working hard to make it better and better. The school is in a disadvantaged area and it can be hard to ensure that all the children learn to their full potential. But the staff are tackling difficulties one by one and making a real difference. One of the obstacles that our current school faces is a building built for a smaller school (2/3 of its current size) and built at a time when open plan classrooms were all the rage.

Our building isn’t bad – it’s clean and well maintained. We’ve recently had a refurbishment of the Foundation Stage area which is fantastic. We have a wonderful school allotment and many other great outdoor facilities. I am thankful for many blessings there.

But the thing is, our old school just got a new building. And today I saw this wonderful video of it. If you manage not to blink, you can see a clay tile made by the Queen just before we left (at around 7 minutes in). This is the building that I am praying for our current church school. We are thinking long term here…

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Now I know that normal men like to retreat to their shed for a bit of peace and quiet out of the house. The Vicar, however, has filled his shed so that retreating to it to sit down or smoke a pipe or something manly like that would be totally impossible. Actually it’s strictly the garage, but it is the largest outbuilding we have. And our car wouldn’t fit in it. Or it would but we couldn’t open a door to get out of the vehicle. The garage is Austin Seven size I’d say.

The good news is that instead the shed is filled with logs for our beloved wood burning stoves. As you can see, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to watch the Vicar chopping wood outside my kitchen window. Not in the last couple of weeks, though – it’s been a bit busy here. Thankfully I think we probably have enough wood to last a few more days.

It's hard to see the scale, but you can just see the top of the garage door at the back

It's hard to see the scale, but you can just see the top of the garage door at the back

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You’ve probably gathered from previous posts that I think the best way to keep warm in a Victorian vicarage is to install wood burning stoves. These were definitely the top investment that we made on moving into our arctic home. When we visited soon after the Vicar was appointed to the job, we realised just how cold the house was. We could see damp creeping up the fireplace walls, and parishioners talked about shivering their socks off when they visited.

The Vicar’s mum and my parents had both had stoves installed in the past few years, and we enjoyed their warmth very much. The eco-friendly nature also appealed. As did the prospect of possibly heating ourselves for free by scavenging the wood.

We don't want to shiver in the Vicarage

We don

God willing, we would like to stay here for a good few years, so we’ve spent a lump of savings on buying and installing two Neria Bohemia 60 stoves. The selection of the stoves was not that difficult. When we went to the shop, this was the only one of the right size that they had two of! We also like their rather modern looking design and so far they have been wonderful – practical and attractive.

Yesterday we had both of them fired up – the one in the red room, our tidy public room, because the Vicar had a bereaved lady who came over to plan her father’s funeral, and the green family room one cos that’s how we keep the family warm. The Vicar lays the fires at lunchtime so they are ready to go whenever we need them.

So far we’ve only had to pay for matches. We’ve been using packing paper from our move and shreddings from the study at the base of the fire, chopped up pallets and twigs from the garden and churchyard for kindling and then heavier logs once the heart of the fire is going. The logs have been sourced from all over: local people we know who have been chopping trees down (sometimes with the Vicar’s help), building sites (with permission of course) and the Vicar’s golf course. The Vicar tells me that this justifies the cost of his club membership.

A hidden benefit of using wood as a fuel is the view I get from my kitchen window when the Vicar is chopping the logs. Very hunter gatherer. Getting them installed was a bit of a palaver. I’ll blog on that another time, but for now I’ll show you what they look like in my two downstairs rooms (unlit, cos I took the photos this morning) and you can enjoy the toastiness.

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