And relax.

It’s a relief when the first rental of the year arrives because it marks the end of a three month DIY binge on the big house. It’s more of a relief when those people have been here before and know the ropes and it’s even more of a relief when you have run it as close to the wire as we just have.

Yesterday there were 3 roofers, 3 plumbers, 2 electricians and Richard and Phil from Greenflame here, the cellar was in bits with rubble and wire and bits of plumbing and holes all over the place. It seemed all day like luck was on our side. While the rest of the country froze up, here in the north of Scotland it was mild and the earth defrosted enough for us to fill the trenches. By 9pm we had persuaded the boiler to speak in English rather than German and we were on the last of the wiring. Then it got troublesome. The new system could run a footballers mansion and persuading it to just cope with our Edwardian heating and a pair of new cylinders was the first hurdle. Then it transpired we had blocked a port in the hopper by filling it before attaching the vacuum pipes. It wasn’t until 1.30 this morning that it finally opened its valves, filled itself up and kicked into life. We still have to install the heat monitors and wire in the immersion back ups, add more controls, insulate the pipes, work out how to go about centrally heating the bedrooms and tidy up the wiring before its officially commissioned but that can all wait for another day. It’s on, hot water comes out of the taps and the tangy petrochemical smell that accompanied the old system is gone. Phew.

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