Week 2: Window shopping

Week 02/2023: Week of 9 January 2023


My house was built in 1951.

It had steel window frames that opened sideways in the same way doors open. When we bought the house, the windows were one of the features I fell in love with.

Black and white photo of 1950a windows in a brick house
The old windows

Unfortunately, the fames were highly rusted and the original 3 mm glass was very fragile. It meant that the house has been very cold and not very well ventilated, which has come with problems.

We decided that in the interests of the house’s liveability and our health, we needed to replace them, even though this was going to change the external appearance of the house.

I had a moan to an architect about losing the windows. They said it’s fine to want to keep something in its original style but ultimately you need to be able to live in the house and it needs to be comfortable. The purpose of a house is to live in it. You can’t make the house a museum to the 1950s if it isn’t fit for purpose. And a lot of the inside of the house has already been changed, so it’s hardly a pristine example of post-war architecture.

That put things in perspective for me.

We got quotes for frames that were as close as possible to the original design but with double glazing. No more 3 mm glass that cracks when you close the windows.

A rusty window frame with a cracked window
This is not what they meant when they said the house needed better ventilation

The main difference is that the new windows will open vertically rather than sideways like the original ones. The company told us that due to safety regulations, side opening windows could only open a fraction of the way the old ones could, so we decided to go with the different opening so we could open them further.

It took a while for it all to happen because windows are in high demand at the moment, but this week was the week.

I did some research into steel window frames.  Apparently, they became popular in the interwar period. Prior to this, most window frames were wooden. Steel was stronger so the frame could be thinner and this allowed for a larger surface area of glass.

Other advantages of steel windows were their dimensional stability, precision due to the mechanical production, incombustibility, resistance to rot, and an unlimited service life – when properly maintained, at least.

“Properly maintained.” It looks like ours may not have been.

And the major drawback of steel windows?  “The high sensitivity to rust.”


So my task this week was to document the window replacement. This I did. 

And after five days, all but one of the windows had been replaced, an excellent effort considering the difficulty of some of them. The external flashing will go on next week and then we have to organise to get the inside tidied up. 

What else was I gong to do this week? 

My shoulder exercises. I’ve been doing most of them every day.

Work on the creative writing course. I wanted to work on my writing every morning but I missed a few days. I’ve got the basic story for the course assignment and I need to edit it. 

I also needed to pack for next week’s trip to Sydney. More on that next week.

23 for 2023 update

I’m still working on putting the list of possible comfort zone challenges together. 

Week 2 status

1/23 comfort zone challenges complete.

What do I want to do next week?

My shoulder exercises. Work on the creative writing course. Enjoy my holiday and take photos. Catch up on Unravel Your Year. 

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week? 

Being able to open the windows. 

What did I learn this week?

I learned that Mignon typeface was developed in 1990 and was named after a point size between Agate and Brevia. 

I also learned that the plaster in my house is called horse hair plaster. It is comprised of lime, aggregate and sometimes animal hair. Presumably horse hair. Apparently, it was common to mix horse hair into the wet plaster to add strength and prevent cracking. 

What did I notice this week?

 I was out walking one morning and heard a heap of screeching birds. It was a tree full of green Rosellas. I think they were babies. Then they all got scared by a truck passing by and flew off. 

What I’m reading this week

  • Something Blue by Alex Sarkis
  • In Sunlight and Shadow: Stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper edited by Lawrence Block

Habit tracker

  • Morning ritual (Goal = 7): 6
  • Move (preferably before 3 pm) (Goal = 7): 7
  • Morning writing (Goal = 7): 4
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 0
  • Listened to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 0
  • All five physiotherapy exercises (Goal = 7): 3
  • Mental health break outside during my work days in the office (1 day): 1
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 5
  • Shut my computer down before 9.15 (Goal = 6): 5
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