Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Woodburner blanking plate broken

Our home woodburner had been letting out a bit more smoke into the room than usual, and probably dangerous fumes as well. When I looked round the back of the stove I discovered this. The stove is on the left, can you see the crack?

From inside, after removing the baffle, you can see that a piece has fallen off the blanking plate which covers the unused flue exit.

From the front nothing looks amiss. This is a Cottager 01 stove, which we had fitted 18 years ago.

The blanking plate is normally hidden by the baffle - or throat plate - which itself was a bit cracked and distorted but I don't think that matters so much.

We are having someone to come and sort it out next month. This would have to be the coldest time of the year.

This is our view of the sun breaking through the fog this morning.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Treading the boards

It's that time of year again - oh yes it is! - when I take to the stage in the village pantomime. This year I have the role of Narrator in "Sleeping Beauty".

Here I am being made up. I don't know who took the photo, sorry.

We have now completed three performances with six more to go, finishing this Saturday. If my head looks rather large in the photo it's because this year is the first time I've taken a solo bow at the curtain call ...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Inner tube retired

I did a spot of bicycle maintenance today. My folding bike had a flat tyre. When I removed the inner tube to locate the puncture I decided that it was time to retire it. Excuse the pun.

There were already 13 patches on this tube! And the latest thorn had pierced one of those patches.

The bike is now up and running again with a brand new inner tube in the rear wheel. Must buy a new spare now.

I cycled to pick up the Volvo 240 which had had a bit of work done to get it through the MOT. It cost more this time than probably all the previous 20 times put together. Still cheaper than a new car, though. And I'm hoping that it will last a while longer, although I'm now looking out for a 940 unless a good 240 comes along.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Ranworth Church weathervane

We spent a very pleasant few hours by the Norfolk Broads today, mainly at Ranworth. I went up the tower of St. Helen's Church where I enjoyed the views and found this wonderful boaty-themed weather vane.

Back at ground level boats lay peacefully on their moorings ...

... and birds walked around on the ice.

We walked the boardwalk to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust floating building at Ranworth Broad. The low sun was lighting up the reeds.

I'll post some more photos later.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

1970s British Waterways film well worth watching

Thanks to Sarah I discovered this fascinating half-hour film made for BW in the 1970s. "Waterways our Heritage" is refreshingly slow-paced and features a family hiring Water Topaz from the boatyard at Hillmorton.

Brindley's canals are compared with those of Telford. Railway competition, boat families and working boats get a mention - with a brief nod to freight operation - and restoration (of the Kennet and Avon) is looked at. Use of towpaths by walkers and anglers - but not cyclists - is acknowledged.

The date is supposed to be 1972, but comments make it clear that it is more likely to be 1978 or 1979.

There's some great aerial footage, including a swoop up Hatton. There's an old boat in what looks like an isolated dry dock off to the right of the locks by the Hatton yard. Next time I'm there I'll have to try to identify the location.

Do you know the best thing about the film? It's not plastered with music. You can actually hear the natural sounds, even if the birdsong is laid on a bit thickly in places!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Picture poser: does this help?

This strange "creature" I posted a few days ago has been perplexing one or two of you.

Here is a wider view. Does this help?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Thinking about where to go this year

For the last few years we have included the Crick Boat Show as part of our itinerary, but this year we shall be further south. The Boaters' Christian Fellowship has an event in Newbury in June, so we plan to do the Kennet and Avon. The only part of this navigation we have done so far is between Devizes and Bath, and that was on Shadow when it was based in Devizes one year. This time we'll be able to cover the whole length of the K&A from Reading to Bristol. We won't venture beyond Bristol as I don't want a mutiny.

Other canals I'd like to travel include a couple of arms of the Grand Union, the Aylesbury and the Slough Arms, neither of which we have explored before. As we'll be on the Thames anyway to access the K&A it would be good to do the Wey and the Basingstoke as well.

Today's photo is of the Thames in London nearing sunset.

(photo taken on 26th December 2016)

Monday, 9 January 2017

Scrap metal on the Thames

Seen on a Boxing Day walk three weeks ago (it seems a lot longer ago than that): this boat by a huge pile of scrap metal. It's on the north (Essex) bank near the Barking Creek flood barrier.

The boat appears to be called Pex and looks to be sitting high in the water. There is some scrap just visible in the hold, no doubt it can take a few tonnes more before heading for China, presumably. The company name on the sign is "MSK Waste Management & Recycling Ltd".