Bricks?

When triple glazing was put in, back in cold cold cold January. Mis-pronounced by my slightly deaf Mother as “crippled glazing?”... sorry a slight diversion...

The process involved serious men with power tools attacking the existing framework of the original windows. These were best quality British timber built to exemplary standards and seemingly to a unique and no doubt odd timber profile. Everything about this house is odd and the windows are a fine example of God moving in a mysterious way... but I digress. Serious power tools to hand the serious men set about the humble and exhausting task of trying to remove the old frames. The ‘process’ for want of a better word, was organised vandalism, involving (and probably in this sequence) breaking the glass and tearing out the moving windows pulling out the hinge screws with malice aforethought (and a big claw hammer), setting-to with a power saw to cut away the frames, window sill included since they were cunningly grafted to the unique and oddly profiled window frames. Attacking the weakened structure with big levers and rather like extracting rotten teeth, tearing the whole lot out by the roots. For ‘roots’ in this instance let us say very large nails, screws, bracing bars, bolts, bits of twisted steel and steel cables. The resultant gaps looked rather like a happy evening of ram-raiding, with plaster missing in chunks, loose bricks wobbling on the edges of the chasm and exposed swathes of cavity wall filled with soft and fluffy artificial snow in the form of puffed-up paper.

This gets me to the subject heading... my house (bungalow - let’s be honest) is built of recycled sawdust! More ‘moving in a mysterious way his wonders to perform’ may have been involved back in 1956, when this place was conceived, and the use of new and ‘radical’ techniques and technology. My house structure is not brick, nor stone, not even breeze-block (made from exciting cinders and cement) not alas concrete on its own but some weird hybrid never-been-seen-before cunning mix of cement and wood fibres (sawdust by any other name). I suppose the wood bulks out the cement, making for less expense in the making, a good way of getting rid of sawdust and possibly even adding a tad of insulation? All I know is they are as hard as hell, eat masonry drill tips for breakfast and cannot be discovered in any builders merchants. My FIL (Father In Law) whose house this was, says they were built locally, probably in Goole and were called something trendy at the time like ‘FIBRON’ or ‘WOODY-BRIX’... mysterious. Maybe they will make the house float come the end of the world?

Just thought I would share...

The cast iron radiators... what a peculiar system... fed by steel pipes on the flow but all the return pipes are buried under the floor and emerge in the boiler house (yet another whole chapter of fun there) in a vast steel 3” pipe. Since I will have to dig up the floor to put down underfloor pipes, it will mean extracting tons of water filled rusting steel in the process.

I can hardly wait.