While it is so hot we keep Thegn inside most of the day. He has his early morning walk at about 7am, and at about 7pm he has his second walk, and possibly a third at about 11pm. Yesterday evening, Child Two and I took him to the beach only to find the entire strandline littered with dead and dying whitebait. Mackerel risked all to snap at them on the incoming tide, getting within feet of the shore and flashing in the last light of day. Thegn took full advantage and scoffed three or four of the little fish before we could stop him; he was most grumpy about that. #WeAreThegn #LoveDorset
On Weeding & Writing - an occasional eclectic blog by author C.F. Dunn
Restoration Game: Joys & Tribulations of Renovating
I’ve been taking time out from writing my latest historical mystery suspense to engage in a little house restoration. One of the joys and tribulations of living in an old house is what might turn up expectedly during renovation.
For the last week I’ve been engrossed in getting some work done in my study – not writing this time, but stripping (although the new book is coming on apace, I’m delighted to say). I’ve been working on the Arts and Crafts window seat which crosses the entire width of the windows and was stained such a dark colour that it sucked all the light out of the room.
It wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve seen too many over-restored houses to let that happen to this one. Too often woodwork that was supposed to have been painted from the start is stripped back to a naked surface and limed or left parched and bare. I agonised over what to do for the best and the question I asked myself was: is this an original finish to the Douglas fir and oak bench, or a later addition? A test strip painted a pale, neutral colour looked terrible, leaving me no other option than to take the plunge and remove layers of sludgy ‘mahogany’ varnish.
The varnish turned out to be a modern polyurethane finish. Removing the varnish allowed not only the warmth of the wood to glow through, but also the strong grain – giving texture and depth. It also revealed that two oak panels had been replaced with…vinyl laminate flooring. Delightful. It worked, I suppose, when covered with gooy varnish, but stripped back looked exactly as it was – plastic. Carefully removing the laminate revealed the badly wormed oak panels. My helpful decorator supplied some oak sheet he had tucked away in his garage and that will be my next task – to cut two panels from it to replace the placky stuff. Then I’ll stain the fresh oak to match the 1900 wood, and use a beeswax and turpentine mix to unify the colours, feed the wood and give it some protection.
Even with this much done, the room feels lighter and more inviting and closer to the original finish desired by Edward Toronto Sturdy when he first commissioned the building. I’ll post some more photos when the job’s completed.
Latest 5* Book Review!
Look at this! Blogger Tamara Tilley has produced a wonderful series and book review of The Secret of the Journal series and Fearful Symmetry. If you’re looking for an immersive holiday read where past and present collide and nothing is what it seems, why not start with Book 1: Mortal Fire and start the journey today?
I’ve long dreamed of being almost self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit, and the clay ‘soil’ is the main reason why we are going to the expense and bother of building raised beds for the kitchen garden. The site is chock full of rubble bound together in a lumpy mass of rock hard clay. To get the fence posts in, the builders have had to use mechanical augers, and even those have struggled to make any impression. If digging the ground is unrealistic, these ‘sleepers’ should do the trick of creating workable areas of soil in which the plants can bury their roots and feed my family.