Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Whilst the drains were being done earlier in the year, we noticed this pencilled note on the wall under the car port – “As the grate was locked, I had to leave it (the coal) here”

When did anything in this house last burn coal? I seem to recall from the house searches that Nottingham has been a smokeless zone since 1966, but the note could refer to smokeless coal, or it could have been burnt since. There are definitely people around who burn smoking fuel in ignorance or defiance of the ban. Of course, the city — and the country — goes a different sort of smokeless next year.

The grate referred to isn’t there any more — it’s been bricked up and now the boiler vent comes out of it.

When we bought the house, much was made of the ‘electric woodburner’ that had recently been installed. The thing is terribly kitchy and makes an unbelievable racket when you turn it on. It is connected to real flue that snakes over the lounge ceiling and is boxed out through the hallway to the front door. The presence of the real flue — and almost complete absence of radiators on the ground floor — suggest there was something that burned real fuel even after the central heating was put in.

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