We’re opening up the fireplace in the front room and installing a wood-burning stove. This involves removing one structural lintel and installing another one higher up. It’s a supporting wall, so I decided to get an installer in to do it.
We looked around the local businesses, and what do you know? They’re all men. No women in this particular branch of the construction industry, despite it being quite an aesthetic part of the business: a fireplace is the centrepiece of a living room, you would think it more likely to find women doing that sort of work than installing drains or bricklaying.
So we’re getting a man in to do it. I’m reworking the existing fire surround, taking out flammable parts that would be too close to the stove, and refinishing the rest of it. This is it sanded and ready for staining. Made from recovered railway sleepers, I am led to believe. The Irvine Valley railway used to run past the back of our house, so it’s a nice wee local connection.