I won't go into too much detail about that troubled ceiling I have on my hands because A) its boring and B) I am sick to death of thinking about it! I had been working away on it, thinking I had the perfect solution. Things had been going well until I hit the ceiling with its final coat of paint and BAM! the peeling and flaking started again! I had a slight breakdown (only slight!) and had to face facts: I am not going to be able to solve this issue on my own!
I spent the next few days looking up plaster/painters in the area and found someone working on an equally old house just around the corner. He came around to have a look and was able to give me some pointers and suggestions on what I could do myself. I had been on the right track, but was missing a few crucial steps and was using a not-so-great ceiling paint, which is why the problem kept coming back. I am going to follow his advice and give the ceiling one last go (seriously if it doesn't work then I am just going to call it a day and go with the flaky-ceiling look!). I also had the expert look at the dining room, the ceiling is in rough shape and because of this I have not moved forward with work in that room - seriously, I wouldn't dream of touching that ceiling! I suppose the ceiling didn't scare him as much as it scares me, because he is going to take it on! Late next week he should be by to do a repair job on the ceiling, once complete I can move ahead with painting the room! Once the room is painted, it will pretty well be done, with the exception of drapes, possibly an area rug or mat and a new dining table and chairs - its not easy finding a nice looking table out there that will fit the room!