The weather here this rather august August has been roasting hot, monsoon rains, blasting winds, very occasionally, very briefly quite civilised, and now it’s getting on the cool side of ‘More whisky in my cocoa, Sodbucket, and have my thick socks brought down from the attic.’ We are in that phase of the year where tis too warm by far to have Mr Stove lit during the day, and so cool in the evenings that we miss his company.
I swept the chimney yesterday. Before:
The flue is a nice, simple, straight up and down affair. To sweep it I use Duct Tape to lash a large wire-brush to an old barge-pole, then I stand on the gunwale and behave like someone using a stick to persuade a family of badgers out into the light. Up, down, around, scrape, brush – wait for the dust to clear – repeat ad necessarium.
The great trick is to make damnably certain that the stove is closed up below, and all of the vents shut.
This process deposits a good half-bucketful of semi-burnt dinosaur-remains into the stove, ready to shovel out. Take the flame-trap outside and wire-brush that off, clean the glass in the door, and the job’s a good’un. I hope it’s a good’un, anyway. We shall see. Haven’t lit him yet. Will get to try out the new-fangled “fire basket” when I do.
Such domesticity. Mayhap need a new coolie hat too, sometime soon. The one on the old chimney refuses to move. Mind you, coolie hat and old chimney have been together now for two or three years, I wouldn’t like to break up the relationship.
A rather exciting view down the throat of the new chimney, the swept flue and right to the top of the flame-trap:
A visual canal-based treat you’ve not seen before, I’ll warrant.
I’ve turned us around since the photograph below was taken, to get the stove flue to the towpath side, the better (and easier, and safer) to Van Dyke it.
It’s been a mixed weekend. Far fewer boats at times than I would have thought, at others many, many more. Etiquette and manners seem to have gone almost completely out of the
window porthole, with speed speed speed being of the essence of (other people’s) enjoyment.
I have generally been surrounded, the photograph was taken while neighbours were off on manoeuvres. We’ve had engines run at 01:30hrs of the night, wee GRP cruiser-ettes speeding past at 04:00hrs. A family on a hire-boat for the weekend arranged themselves half on the towpath, the other half aboard and stranded by the wind on the offside armco. It was all hands to the ropes for that one. The boat currently to our stern – on the face of it a highly standard-looking retired couple out from their marina – started their engine at 0700hrs this morning, and it’s been running ever since. Now that it’s gone 0900 they’re – I think – field-testing the quality of the “bang” on all hatches and doors. Boaty people R happy peepul. A “Floating Holidays” boat has just come past on the way to some emergency, sans water-skier. They probably lost their water-skier when they shot out of the lock, like some sixteen-tonne turd flushed down a sewer pipe and anxious to swim in the ponds of the treatment works. The woman at the tiller (and throttle control) seemed to be gaining some sexual frisson from their velocity. This may be a rare thing, so I refrain from judging too harshly.
Being disinterested in such arrangements, I had forgotten that today is a Bank Holiday.
Reliable witnesses tell me that there have been excitable disagreements up at the lock nearby, barge-poles at dawn, some nasty cranial injuries delivered by flying mooring pin, the occasional attempted lynching from the branches of the apple tree using mooring ropes, that sort of thing. All good-humoured stuff, and usually no-one of any import gets injured or killed. The Government did order everyone to get out and play with one another in the fresh air, when all is said and done.
I must of necessiscessity move in the next couple of days, otherwise Her Majesty’s “Canal Rozzers” will be upon me like pack rats upon a discarded Chinese take-away carton, but I’ll choose my time in hopes of less fraught company.
I have needs.
A fresh roll of Duct Tape.
Not today though. Not on a Bank Hodilay Monday.
Ian H., & Cardinal W.