A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…


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All we want for Christmas is a wood pellet boiler… (Oct 7)

10am. The builders are here.  The scaffolding is up and there are several men on the roof trying to put an extremely large silver tube down the boiler house chimney.

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3pm.  It’s in.  Thank God.  Tomorrow we order the boiler!

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It’s bad news…(Oct 1)

The man from the council has just been round and despite all the conversations we’ve had  – the plans, the to-scale maps, the photographs, the drawings, the photoshops and the endless specs ( “do you really want the 8 page spec for a 2 and a half inch bit of pipe that isn’t even going through the wall?”)  he now thinks it’s unlikely he’s going to give us planning permission for the new wood pellet boiler.

The problem is the flue – a big metal tube that will act like a chimney and run up the outside of the old boiler house.

Our intention has always been to try and use the existing brick chimney – but as it’s not been possible to know whether this will work till we try it, we were advised by the council to apply for permission to put the flue on the outside of the building just in case.    This is what set us back so many months given all the extra paperwork.

I tried to persuade someone from the council to come to the house in April (the office is just 10 minutes away) so we could at least get a view on which way this was likely to go – but they were having none of it.   Instead we’ve wasted loads of money and loads of time just to be told something that they could have decided in 5 minutes 7 months ago.    What can you do….

So the pressure is on.   The only way we will ever get this boiler in – and the only way we will ever have a warm house is to get a flue liner (another big metal tube) down the current chimney come what may.   Only then will the council grant us permission.   If the builders can’t get it in I don’t know what we’re going to do.  Several men and a load of scaff’ are arriving on Monday…


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Preparing for winter update (Sep 26)

The radiators arrived today.   9 out of 11 survived the pressure testing.   We went for gun metal grey and they look great.

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The roof insulation is all in.   We have 7 different roof spaces but as half of them had no access  new holes had to be created to get the insulation in and then filled back up.  We now have a thick blanket of wool above our heads which has surely got to make a difference…

However the plans for the biomass installation  (See Preparing for next winter – Apr 7) have been seriously delayed.  The council planners said to estimate 3 months so I doubled it and crossed my fingers that it would be in before Christmas.  It’s tight.   The man from the council is coming next week and it’s a 5 week lead on the boiler….