Friday, 15 March 2013


It was an interesting afternoon with the sash window man.  Mainly because he is such a character.  He began by giving me a physics lesson and explaining why it would be a waste of money to have secondary glazing.

(We're not allowed to have double glazing because of the house being Grade II Listed.  An odd decision by English Heritage as the modern types of glass, filled with argon glass, are hardly discernible as being double glazed.  The issue, as I understand it, is the fact that double glazed windows have a silver sheen that is not in keeping with an old house.  In our last house, our window man took two samples panes to the Conservation Officer and she couldn't tell the difference.  Nevertheless, the rule stands.)

Apparently, secondary glazing wouldn't make that much difference to the warmth of the house.  The issue is the draughts, he said.  And he's right.  When I put my hand over the central piece of the window where the fixed section meets the sliding section, it freezes instantly.  He reckons that the air in the room changes in its entirety about three or four times a day due to this.

We then changed subject and began a history lesson as he checked out each of the windows in the house.  Sadly, they don't do casement windows so we have to find another company to sort out the bathroom windows.  Sod's law, of course, as these are pretty dilapidated and we wanted to start with them.  He's quoted per window, which is useful, because it means that we can do each window as we go.  But the cost is between £600-800 per window.  However, let's not think about that now but go on a tour of the windows.  We have lots of them and lots of different types so this may not be quite so dull as you imagine.  Fairly dull, but not quite so.  But please remember that the purpose of this blog is to record and not just to entertain you.  If only.

The first window that I want to show you is in the sitting room and this is the same as the one in Mr Bennett's Library and the dining room.

Georgian, he said, I think.  Lovely full length windows that let in so much light.  Two, perfectly balanced against the fireplace opposite.  I love these rooms at the front.  They make me feel soothed.  Perhaps it is my Libran nature and the need for equilibrium.  But these rooms are so balanced and so in proportion.  It is very interesting to feel the effect that it has on one's psyche.

You would expect the windows in our bedroom, above this room, to be similar.  The ones at the front are like this.

Georgian again, I think.  But correct me if I'm wrong - especially if my dear friend, House Detective D, is reading this!  (Though I say it myself, I do love that photograph.)

However, the ones at the other side of the room, overlooking my beloved gin terrace in the making, have horns.

Spot the Horn Competition
Which are those things on the side of the bit that you slide up.  Oh, and by the way, they all worked, these windows, to my amazement.  And only one broken sash - which I think is the correct name for the bit of string at the side.

Wander across the landing and you come to my study, which has a Venetian window, although Window Man said it is inverted Venetian because it is the side windows that open and not the middle bit.

We're not quite sure why there is that strange flap over the top of the window that cuts off the arch inside, although it looks fine from the outside.  We think it is plasterboard.  We think it might be hiding pipes or cables.  We will investigate at some point.

Then on to H's room, which has Victorian windows, apparently.

Then to the junk room.  And I can't remember what he said.  I was probably too distracted by trying to negotiate the piles and piles of stuff in there.  Yes, I know that's why it's called a junk room but there are junk rooms and junk rooms.  And this isn't the bijou luggage area that I have in mind!

Then the room that was to be M's.  I can't quite remember but I think these might have been Georgian too.  House Detective D is interested in those fillets (strips of wood stuck on to the panel to you and I) so we'll pause on those to reflect for a moment and await her words of wisdom.

Then through the hallway where we have this odd sort of skylight.

Then to the bathroom, which is why I got Window Man here in the first place.  But casements are not his thing.  These ones are so rusty and bent that we might as well leave them open.  I've just read that orchids don't like drafts, which might explain why my trusty plant that has been faithfully flowering for the past two years, has keeled over and is dying.  Must remember to move it - thank you, House Detective D for that sensible piece of house plant advice!

From the bathroom, it's upstairs to D's room.  Victorian again.

And, for those of you who remember Play School, the round window.

This next window is in the L-shaped room and caused Window Man great interest.  He seemed to think it was quite unusual but was particularly interested in the fact that it is collapsing towards the centre.  Must check his quote but suspect that means more cost for us!

On to the two windows in C's room.  Casement again, with lovely latches.

There are more casements in the first of the downstair's loos and in the larder/laundry room.  This is the loo.

Window Man was most interested in the kitchen window, which he thought was the oldest in the house.  Odd.

Then the windows in my mum's room and the pretentiously named breakfast room, which are all relatively modern, we think.

So, a little tour of the many and varied windows that we have.  The total cost of renovating them makes our eyes water so much that we can't see out of them anyway.

And as the wintry sunshine starts to strengthen into warming spring brightness, I can see that they are all filthy and contemplate the cost of window cleaning.  Paneful.

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