We are home from Italy and finally the stove is finished, I can't tell you what a relief and delight that is.
We arrived at the airport in good time and began negotiations to get our extra large package into the hold. Firstly the check in girl said that we should have booked it in as sports equipment, probably because that costs more, and when we explained that it was a chimney flue she looked baffled. Eventually she took us down to the outsize luggage department who agreed it could fly but the package was too big to go onto the conveyor belt and therefore through the Xray machine. We had to take it somewhere else to be hand searched which was obviously too much effort because the man had a quick look and said it was OK. So far so good.
Did I mention that in my carry on case I had four cast iron replacement legs weighing 6.5 kilos for the stove. Of course I got pulled up at security, firstly they decided to check my liquids, a nail varnish and a lip balm, then they asked me about the stove legs. Again looks of incredulity, they said we probably couldn't take them on board but after consultation agreed that we could providing I took them out of my case and didn't put them in the overhead locker, fair enough they would certainly have knocked someone out if they fell. When we got on the plane we were in the emergency exit seats where you are not allowed to put anything on the floor so I called the stewardess and again explained about the stove legs. She said she thought we couldn't take them on board and went off to speak to the captain. She returned and said that the captain would keep them on the flight deck and we could reclaim them when we landed. Result. The whole crew turned out to see us when we disembarked and were delighted when we told them we also had 5 metres of flexible flue in the hold. Good old Ryanair, after all I've said about you, thank you so much.
A few days of work, interspersed with trips to the beach and sadly trips to the tax office and bank, and the job was done. We had to lift the stove back off the hearth, which I didn't like, Mr FF assumed his regular position up the chimney for a whilewe wrapped the flexible flue in rock wool for insulationand then pushed it up from the room. I held it in position while Mr FF went onto the roof to secure it, not a nice sensation as I had to stand on tip toes right inside the chimney with all that weight but I managed. We did some more plastering to the wall, painted and connected the air intake. We didn't actually need the replacement legs as Mr FF was able to adjust the wobbly one, it seemed to have been overpacked. He phoned the suppliers and offered to take the second set back, I refused to run the gambit of Italian security so we will bring them home next time we travel by car.
We lit the stove 7 days after we arrived and it worked beautifully, as a bonus we chopped up and burnt the wooden case and pallet that it had arrived in, the heat filtered nicely through the house and kept us cosy. Not a trace of smoke after all those years of being kippered by the open fire, wonderful.
Our Italian friends who came to look were full of admiration, someone asked if it had been worth the effort, it really has been hard work and at the moment there are still some bad memories to fade but they will.