It’s one of those differences, between Navarra and Uist, that are so striking. Rooftops and chimneys, antennae and other apurtenances. In Uist, roofs are kept low, simple and solid : anything else will result in disaster. TV antennae are installed within the roof void. As for Navarra, well anything goes, from higgeldy-piggeldy ancient, to the self-conscious contemporary.
Of the various works to Casa Los Fueros that I’m here in Navarra to supervise, it’s the second-most important that we tackled first. This was to replace the old chimney from the txoko, which is deficient aand defective. The chimney, which from the terrace upwards is external, attached to the walls with brackets, is single-skinned, made of asbestos cement, lets water in, and doesn’t go high enough above the roof. This configuration results in a fire that doesn’t ‘draw’ well : it has to be kept burning uncomfortably hot in order that the smoke remains hot enough to rise vigorously up the chimney, and not spill lazily out into the txoko. Also, when there is heavy rain, a lot water comes down the chimney – so there’s something seriously wrong there!
So, the new chimney is twin-walled (insulated) stainless steel, with a much better shaped connection to the throat of the open fire below, has a maintenance access, and rises well above the house roof.
The first evening after the work was completed, I enjoyed a lovely evening in the txoko, with a bottle of cider, a stool in front of the fire – which was my only light. [However, I had to turn the light on to get a decent picture for you.]