You may not believe me, but….

we have had an unusual problem over the last few days and, as one who always plays her cards close to her chest, I thought I would share our ridiculous story with the world.

Mike installed the fire door on Friday (whilst I was at Welsh classes – Nadolig llawen to all), having trimmed what we thought was a suitable amount from the bottom of the door, and he was pleased with the accurate fit.  There are very strict rules about the gap allowed between a fire door and the surroundings, and Mike had got these right first time – yippee!  Only one tiny hiccough – when he rolled the coir matting back into place (having rolled this out of the way whilst fiddling with and fitting the door) the door couldn’t be opened properly due to the thickness of this matting. We really didn’t want to remove any more from the bottom of the door since it would then have too great a gap at the base once the door closed (as this sits behind the coir matting).  Cue much scratching of heads and feeble attempts to open the door with the expectation that this time, having changed nothing, it might inexplicably open smoothly.  Well, first we tried trimming the pile with hair clippers.  Result – coir matting simply compressed under the clippers.  Next, we tried scissors, which might have worked except the angle of the blades to the fibres was all wrong and we don’t have any of the scissor-type things with the handles higher than the blades.  Next we tried a scalpel to see if we could just chop the height away – no dice at all.  So in desperation we tried a router.  That had some effect, but tended to push too much pile out of the way rather than trim it off.  We then tried a belt sander.  Can you believe it?  A belt sander to lessen the pile.

Would you Adam and Eve it? Sanding the door mat?
Would you Adam and Eve it? Sanding the door mat?

Madness – and also (almost) completely ineffective.  So we had a quick consultation with Jane (the cook) and, having talked through the problem and bemoaned the lack of accessible advice on Google (one can only assume other folk do not have similar problems installing their fire doors) we stumbled on a possible solution.  And I am happy to report that, having put the power planer over the matting a few times, we have now trimmed a patch of the coir matting sufficiently that the door will close!

So whilst I feel totally daft having to report our unorthodox activities, I am pleased to report the fire door is in situ and working well.  Tim arrived for the Christmas break just as we finished all of this, so at least we didn’t have an audience to our weirdness.

Today’s story showcasing our move from balanced reasonableness to total absurdity is slightly different.  After returning from church, I persuaded Mike and Uncle Tim to frisk the grounds for a Christmas tree.  I should explain that we have a number of conifers growing on site which the forestry chap from Snowdonia National Park had asked us to remove because they are non-native species.  We have therefore decided to use one of these, whether or not it is a pine, for our ‘home’ Christmas tree this year.  We have a reasonable size Norway Spruce culled from the garden in the cafe, and I was expecting something similar but perhaps a little taller for the old manor part of the property.

The proud lumberjack with his haul...
The proud lumberjack with his haul…

So imagine my surprise when I walked into the hallway to find the hemlock (below) already erected

...and hoping this photo shows that it is tall enough to almost reach the ceiling above the stairs!
…and hoping this photo shows that it is tall enough to almost reach the ceiling above the stairs…


or maybe this one gives a better sense of size?
Does this one give a better sense of size?

I will try to put up a photo in a day or two, once we have finished trimming (as in really trimming, with secateurs and all) and then decorating it.  But this may take longer than we had originally planned!