Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the bowd

Images from two walks taken at the bowd following the lines of the disused railway. The steep hillsides do not allow for much sunlight at this time of year so it is cold and quite dark though there is plenty of water around. Distant owl sounds can be heard here but not much wildlife is in evidence although I did see a deer in the woods the other day. Some of the paths here become rivers for a bit but I like to get off the main paths and follow the deer and badger paths. The only trouble with badger paths is that they have a tendency to go under very low trees so a lot of ducking down or going around is in order. I can't imagine that they like the smell that I leave behind but I try not to bother them too much.
Best wishes to everyone for next year, I hope you all have a good one.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

back on the beach

The first few were taken a couple of days ago on a low tide. The further down the beach you walk the further back in time you seem to go. The last two were taken handheld this evening and the three or four large ships in the photo have been out there for about a week now, maybe they have run out of money. I like to see a bit of coming and going on the sea. I grew up near two large ports, so an empty sea looks a bit boring to me. We would have all the ships, The Canberra, the QE2, large oil tankers and all sorts of entertainment.

The only good thing about the Napoli being sat two miles up the coast was that there was something to look at in the water, though it was good for the tourist trade as well. On the night, it was refreshing to see all the torches and fire on the beach, pretty much as it must have looked when any wreck has happened throughout history and it's fair enough for the locals as they have to suffer the inconvenience of it all. The tabloids did their spoiling bit by printing a treasure map with a big X over Branscombe, ensuring that looters came from far and wide to the coast seeking plunder, the greedy fools, as anything remaining was largely destroyed by the next tide and it's a long way to come for shampoo and biscuits. There were stories of people breaking into local sheds and stealing stuff if they hadn't found anything on the beach, it didn't really bring out the best in people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

woodburning stove

The main advantage of having a stove instead of using a fireplace is that most of the heat doesn't go straight up the chimney, it heats up the metal stove instead, which then acts as a radiator. The stove also has firebricks inside. Pictured here is a Villager and it is a multi-fuel stove which means that you can burn coal inside it as well as wood. It has a number of controls so that you can alter the amount of air going through it, which controls the speed at which it burns fuel. This stove sits in the room on a couple of paving slabs instead of in the fireplace which makes you closer to the heat source.

A six inch pipe comes out of the rear of the stove and passes through a large metal plate covering the front of the chimney and then goes up the chimney at an angle of about 130 degrees. Alternatively you can knock your fireplace out and sit the stove inside the chimney and have the pipe going straight up. Many stoves have a dual option plate on the top rear side which can be arranged so that the pipe goes straight up or out the back instead. All of the metal joints have to be sealed with fire cement and metal tape or fire rope.

This model costs about £700 new here but luckily we had a friend who had one that they didn't want sat in a garage which just needed doing up a bit. Other makes can be considerably cheaper.

As well as heating it is also possible to cook and boil water on it. Mainly I have been wrapping up potatoes in silver foil and throwing them inside, where they take about forty minutes to cook.

Last year in this country 25,300 more people died in the winter months than in the summer, which was an increase of 7% on the previous year although we are supposed to be a first world country. There is a lot of money here but it is very well hidden, sometimes it drives past me and sometimes I can see where it lives but that is as close to it as I can get. It doesn't get shared out very well, that's for sure.

The pot bellied stoves are rather attractive too, as the above picture amply demonstrates. As with all these sort of escapades you start off in ignorance and rapidly become some kind of an expert on such matters, which is part of the fun really and now I know a bit about all things stovular.