Wednesday, November 29, 2006

exhaustion and plumbing

It was my birthday the other day would you like to sing to me? Several people did much to my delight. I had a fabulous day, I was spoilt rotten and loved every minute!

I have just spent this evening plumbing. Plumbing, as far as I can gather, involves squeezing into spaces that aren't quite big enough and huffing as one tries to fit 'that bit there' 'undo that bit' - not to mention when trying to find the tool I just put down. I have put another isolator valve in the system. I put one in last year so I could separate the kitchen from the bathroom and calorifier, but now I want to be able to use the bathroom sink and the kitchen but not the shower. I will replace the extra isolator with the shower plumbing in time. It didn't go smoothly, and I am not pleased with an extra bit I did, I have a joint too many. I will fix this when I sort the shower out. It is better to have as few joints as possible as this limits potential leaks.

I shall test all the plumbing tomorrow rather than this evening - I don't think I fancy dealing with various leaks today!

Although the plumbing took quite a bit out of me, I am now sitting here feeling rather warm! Fantastic.

I am off to find a tap so I can fill my kettle. The stone hotwater bottle is proving to be a real treasure to this particular boaters life. At the moment the weather is gorgeously mild but the bottle warms the bed and keeps me warm until the morning. Bliss.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Holidays and home

I have been on holiday for the week exploring the world of the far north. In the process I totally fell in love with Edinburgh - a beautiful city with cobbled streets lined by high victorian buildings. The roads seem to cross over one another in a such a way that one doesn't notice until later; it feels as if one has walked around an MC Esher painting.

I have returned to my glorious water borne residence, and a splendid collection of wood kindly donated by a nearby parish. Yesterday I piled the stove high with my winnings and in the process dislodged one of the metal guards 'oh thats alright' I said to myself and closed the door. I expected this simple action to replace the metal guard, rather like the action of shutting the car boot door on a full load. Unfortunately I had forgotten the front of my stove has a glass panel and as a result of my rather enthusiastic action it cracked. Thankfully the local chandlery had a spare in stock which I will fit tomorrow.

In the meantime may I recommend marks and spencers thermals and woollen hats.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poem: Tree Farm by John Estabrook

Tree farm by John Estabrook

Beech wood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut's only good, they say
If for long it's laid away.
But ash wood new or ash wood old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.

Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
Is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould -
E'en the very flames are cold;
But ash wood green and ash wood brown
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs if dry and old
Keep away the winter cold.
But ash wood wet and ash wood dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.

Oak logs will warm you well,
If they're warm and dry.
Larch logs of pine wood smell
But sparks will fly.
Beech logs for Christmas time;
Yew logs heat well.
Scotch logs it's a crime
For anyone to sell.
Birch logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all.
Hawthorn logs are good to last,
If cut in the fall.
Holly logs will burn like wax,
You should burn them green.
Elm logs like smouldering flax;
No flames to be seen.
Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom.
But ash logs all smooth and gray,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come you way,
They're worth their weight in gold.

From Tree farm by John Estabrook

Many Thanks to Christine on canalworld forum for finding this one!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Over enthusiastic

I am now finding the need to finish my bathroom rather greater than I thought I would. I am still undecided about the wall covering for the shower area, and may well go for vinyl flooring rather than tiles - I can always tile it at a later date if I change my mind! Vinyl is easy to cut and will be much quicker to do.

Over the weekend I managed to cut a hole in a piece of worktop for the sink, and it was just about the right size! I am getting better at it but don't really want to have to do it again and now that the kitchen sink and bathroom sink are in decent bits of worktop I don't think I will need to.

I put a notice in the church noticesheet on sunday asking if anyone had any spare wood lying around in their gardens that I could burn in the fire. Lots of people have come forwarded offering me some and I am really delighted!!! My saw and I will be paying several people a visit over the next few visits in order ot collect the goods. One is a beech tree, already felled, but in rather large bits! Who needs the gym!

I will certainly need a shower after all the hard work!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Progress: Bathroom

I am now sitting rather uncomfortably having torn my trousers, and filled the sofa up with tools and wood. On Saturday I tackled the bathroom and just about emptied it. I took down the pink fake tiled cardboard type stuff, and much to my delight I discovered insulating behind it covering some steel in perfect condition.
I made it to the timber yard this evening and picked up some 9mm ply which I have banged, shoved, squeezed, sworn at and prayed over as I used my ultimate knowledge of DIY - brute force and ignorance, to position below the gunnel. I have some more to do above the gunnel but I shall get some help to do that - another pair of hands will make it easier to keep in place and limit the number of times it bangs on my head.
In the process I have cut my finger, a minor ailment for the amount of triumph by the achievement.

Next (other than learning how to spell) is to sort out the shower. I couldn't get the previous hipbath out of the room so decided to saw it up and use it as the shower tray. I can almost hear some of you groaning in disbelief - but do not be dismayed, it will be a huge success - I can feel it in my bones!

Oh yes, I threw out the loo which has added to my discomfort. I am rather overjoyed that I have no sink or shower to wash in! What a wonderful excuse to fester for several weeks until the job is done.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I am very aware that I tend to have several jobs on the go at once, but despite that I started my winter project today and cleared the bathroom of the debris it housed. I had to take some of the wall covering off (too pink for me!), and behind it I was pleased to find insulation and behind that steel work in excellent condition. I have to put up some lining (the pink fake tiled cardboard acted as lining until I binned it) and then I will be able to make the room waterproof. I am not sure, as yet, what to use on the walls - linoleum is rather expensive but environmentally sound (I am not talking of the vinyl stuff!), but I don't have the money for that I don't think. Cork is another option, but I am not keen. I will have to look around.

I have been making some enquiries about solar panels and it seems that I will be able to run my fridge off them if I have 2x 85Wp - I am going to seriously look into this, and possibly purchase 1 panel at least in the next week or so. I have had a kind offer of help to help fit it, and some advise from someone who had theirs fitted. I quite like the idea of having a go myself as they come with instructions.

Photo: Isis Lock onto the Thames