mercredi 22 mars 2006

The Rayburn Saga

Another birthday over - barely saw it come or go. Got up at the crack of dawn to travel the 560 miles round trip to collect the Rayburn. All went well for the first 3 hours then when I was just 10 miles from the first stop - to collect the trailer on which to carry the Rayburn - I hit a traffic jam on the motorway...2 hours later...the traffic started to move. So frustrating as I was only 200yds past an exit. Trailer collected, I pressed on finally arriving at the agreed collection point in Llandudno at 1.30. The Rayburn at first glance wasn't in as good condition as I had hoped but this wasn't helped by the fact that it was filthy - don't think it has been cleaned for 5 years. The sellers didn't even empty the ash from the fire box! They had already managed to get it out of the house and into the street when I arrived, so we only had to get it into the trailer. This wasn't too difficult even though there were only three of us. We rolled it on some scaffold poles then pushed it up a ramp. In fact two of us barely did anything, as the third guy seemed content to do all the lifting and grunting - it's amazingly heavy don't kow how he managed. Everything was a bit top heavy on the trailer and at first I was gingerly cornering at about 5 miles an hour with one eye on the mirror (expecting the load to topple over into the path of the long queue of cars behind me) . But eventually my confidence increased and I was speeding down the motorway at 60 miles an hour (for my little jeep thats fast!). It was a 14 hour round trip and I was glad to get home. The trailer is now in friend's garage with the Rayburn still strapped to it, waiting for my next trip to the Pyrenees (Easter and the following week). Failed miserably to get any photos for the blogsite but I'm sure there'll be some news to post soon.
I spent the following afternoon cleaning the Rayburn doors. These are removable and 'cos it's so dirty I've had to break them down into their numerous component parts, scrub them, then reassemble. Took all afternoon but it looks new and shiny now, so am feeling happier about the purchase. Still got the main body, top and lids to clean. The side panels need refinishing/replacing. Looked at cost of new (£250!) but I figure a car body repair place will probably respray them for less than £100. A lot of work, but I enjoy it. Frustratingly, the french gov has just approved the Rayburn as an efficient wood burner and are offering a 50% rebate if you buy a new one and install it in a french property. All told (trailer, transport, spares, ferry) my second hand one will end up being the same price. But it'll have bags more significance 'cos of the effort and adventure of transporting and restoring it. I don't need many things, but I like everything around me to have a story! Of course this is just the beginning of the Rayburn's story! Still got the 1000 miles of towing to the Pyrenees, unloading, removing the old range, installation, changing the central heating to suit, reconnecting the chimney, etc.

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