Tuesday 4 August 2015

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, And Water Underfoot

The downside of having the house you own being 200 miles from the one where you live is that almost every holiday involves a certain amount of restoration and repair work. This summer, we had two major items on the list – firstly, dealing with the fact that the garage floods whenever it rains, and there is a lot of water on the floor. Secondly, there was the matter of the smoker

smoker2014 collageThe garage issue involved cutting concrete slabs, digging out earth, relocating the water butt, repointing bricks, and some goop called ‘tanking slurry’. Discovering missing mortar between bricks. Spiders and dead slugs were also involved. Not much fun, but a necessary task.

The smoker was a different matter. We had a lot of fun with it last summer – Bob and Jon produced some excellent smoked meats. But I loathe its appearance – standing there in the corner [sometimes shrouded under a builders bag]the converted filing cabinet it makes our back garden look like a salvage yard! I wanted a cute beach hut type feature – not 1950’s office!


beach hut green

Bob has been incredibly busy [with occasional help from me]


A lot of garage stuff was relocated to the lawn, to enable the ‘tanking’ process – and the cabinet, tools and timber were moved out onto the concrete slabs. We brought most of the wood with us.

It was scrap from the church building work, which Steve kindly said Bob could take from the skip – driving up to Norfolk in the wind and the rain, with large sheets of ply tied to the car roof was not fun!


The work has been proceeding apace.

I will post more pictures as the project progresses- although I am not sure it will be 100% completed by the time we have to leave.

Thank you Bob for drilling, sawing, painting and generally making this place so special!


  1. The smoker looks very interesting....how does it work?

  2. Bob took the top 3 drawers to bits and made the fronts into hinged doors. The bottom drawer remains intact, and an old oven tray in there holds the fuel. Another tray fits into the runners of drawer 3, and holds oak chippings or other ‘flavourings’ for the smoking process, as well as protecting the meat from direct heat. In the runners of drawer 1 and 2 are old oven shelves- meat and fish can be laid there, or hung on S hooks from the bars. The heat and smoke rise up the cabinet and produce wonderful smoked products. There's a chimney at the top [an old coffee can] and ventilation holes at the bottom The doors are held closed by powerful magnets rescued from discarded computers. The whole project is a triumph of recycling. Next time Bob smokes something, I will try to photograph the whole procedure!

    1. thanks for taking the time to explain it all to me. It is a great idea and so useful...

  3. Well done Bob and all!
    Every time I see metal filing drawers on offer on freegle now, I will be itching to make a smoking cabinet !
    Looking forward to seeing the 'Smoker' in use. xxx

  4. I now think I understand that you own a home in Norfolk that sits empty and you go back to for short breaks and will some day return to on a permanent basis. As a fairly new reader is that correct?

    At some time perhaps you could explain how your husband who is full time clergy is assigned to a congregation and often you have to move around.

    I enjoy your blog and especially the fact that you are a Christian.

    1. Yes Sandy - one day we will retire here. You can read about how we got Cornerstones here http://angalmond.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/welcome-to.html. In the Baptist system, usually pastors move on when they feel God leading them elsewhere. We did 9yrs in London, and then almost 20 in Leicestershire. The Baptist Union has a settlement committee which sends profiles of those wanting to move to the churches looking for pastors [they try and match up similar types] BUT each church is independent and can say yes or no [as can the Pastor] We met the Dorset folk last year and after 3 visits, they called Bob as Pastor, and we felt it was where we should be. Cornerstones gets a fair bit of use by friends and family, and has already proved a place of refreshment and blessing to many. Hope that answers most of your questions!! God bless you x

  5. Thank you for your lovely clear explanation. I did go back and read the link you shared about buying your retirement home. So very pleased for you. The Lutheran Church congregation traditionally provided housing for the clergy but for quite a few years now it is more common to offer a housing allowance thus allowing the purchase of a home for the reasons you listed. New churches no longer automatically build on a parsonage. Our parsonage is now used by families at the seminary in St. Louis and they only need to pay for the utilities. A blessing that they so often need.

    1. That is interesting to read - my knowledge of Lutherans is very limited [mostly from Lake Wobegon books] More and more younger Baptist Pastors in the UK are buying their own homes and the Manses are let out to raise income.


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