Digressive rant over.
After tile disappointment we went down to a hardware store Jo found selling stuff on ebay. They had a peel-away paint stripper for £15 and it had been suggested that this may do less damage than me with a blowtorch on fireplaces. The store didn't seem to have any on display, it transpired they only sold this on ebay but that did have some upstairs. I was expecting to be told I'd have to buy it on ebay, because that's how things often work. But I didn't have to be too concerned as they allowed me to buy two pots of stripper, no doubt completely cocking-up their system.
Then we tried to drop into Dymchurch but that was full, so we headed for Canterbury. Dropped into the fireplace shop to look at tiles. It turned out the chap was just doing my estimate... which he handed over while we where there. It's not cheap but my BS detector hasn't tingled once while talking to this chap. If I can just decide on the tiles for the surround and hearth for the front-room I think we're in business.
So right now I'm sitting out in the garden blogging my day. The sun is out, I have a beer, and I'm thinking about inflating the redneck hot-tub that is known as "the beer pool".
Tomorrow I'm spending the day in the cellar, rebuilding the last two steps on the stairs down there. This is slightly complicated by the sump (now finished) and the positioning of pipes for the anti flood pump.
But for now I feel another beer coming on.