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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Typical.....solve one problem and another shows itself! and a smashing trip to Cumbria.

Hmmmm.... so we are very pleased with the way our cowl is performing, no more smoke billowing from the stove into the boat but now we have another problem, lots of tar! Our wood is well seasoned, at least 2 years old so one would have thought it relatively tar free. Appears not as it is accumulating on the cowl and as the wind swings the sail bit around, it drips over the roof, sides and cratch cover, so Ian is racking his brains as to how he can overcome this. Maybe an idea from another boater perhaps??? Anyway at the moment we wash down on a daily basis but what a complete pain especially as it's blooming freezing outside!

Talking of freezing, we headed off to Cumbria over the weekend for a visit with Chris and Sue. Chris was Ian's best man back in 1973 and over the years had lost touch, only to meet up again a few years ago. So when the invite came for us all to meet up we jumped at the chance of spending some quality time with them. Not knowing what to expect, only being told to bring warm gear, we were amazed at how lovely their place was. An old Smithy and piggery that they had converted many years ago and now was a property to be proud of. With 3 acres set in a hamlet of about 7 property's, one pub about 5 minute walk away and a small stone road bridge with the river running underneath, the setting was idyllic. Sooooo quiet and hardly any light pollution. The cottage was lovely and warm but the outside temperatures..... brrrrr.. cold enough for it to snow and form ice especially on the hills.

Over the three day visit we were taken to the Wildlife Wetlands at Caerlaverock, the Roman Ruins at Vindolanda and lastly Hadrian's Wall, all of which photos will be posted at the bottom of this post. Be warned, there are quite a few!!!

Leaving yesterday afternoon, it took us nearly 4.5 hours to get home. Had a blizzard to go through which made the conditions a bit hairy (almost a white out) and we did have a 20 minute stop to admire the Angel of the North.

Getting back to FS we got the diesel heater going, then the stove was lit and finally the kettle put to boil. Took nearly an hour before I would take my coat off, such was the temperature inside FS and getting into a freezing bed last night....well say no more!

So now for the photos I warned you about. First the wetlands, (more will be posted on my wildlife blog)

Whooper, Bewick and Mute swans

Feeding time although the birds are completely wild and come and go as they please.


Young whooper in the wrong place for the adults liking.


Barnacle Geese

Vindolanda Roman ruins

Ian, Chris and Sue

Ian and Sue

Then the snow arrived

Thar's snow on them Thar hills

                                                            And  Hadrian's Wall

The wall runs along the top and into the distance.

Chris posing on top.

Some of the Northumberland views

Walking to another section of the Wall

And there it is again


A Heron's View said...

Wood dries on average at one inch in thickness per year. So if your fuel logs are three inches thick then the drying is three years. Kiln dried timber is more expensive but it might solve your problem ?

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Ah so thats the problem. Next winter we will be in a sunnier climate and no need for the stove so the wood should be seasoned about right. Thanks for the info. Xx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Irene, Can you please tell me the differences between mute, whooper and the other kind of swan (senior moment - can't hold three things in my head ...)? In NZ we have mostly black swans (australis or somesuch, I think) and only a few introduced white swans, but which variety I would not know.
I was delighted to see the picture of a widgeon - I have heard the word used as an endearment, but not ever seen the actual bird!
How is your back/leg/hip? been to see an osteopath yet?
Cheers, Marilyn (nb Waka Huia)
PS Best thing you can do to prevent tar coming on to your roof is come to NZ for the summer ...

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Marilyn. The Whooper and Bewick swans are very similar except the Bewick is smaller than the Whooper. The bill on the Whooper has black markings along the side of the beak and the Bewick has more black going up toward the center. In the picture with all the swans you can just about see the difference in the black and yellow markings. They are winter visitors, the Whooper from Iceland and the Bewick from Siberia. The Mute swan is our native swan. We see them everywhere on the canals, lakes and rivers. I expect you have fed them bread while cruising here. Black swans are quite rare in the Uk and I love to see them. Cant wait until next January when I hope to see an abundance of them in NZ. Our itinerary has been set for our 6 week visit and I hope to be able to see you while we are there. As for my hip and back, well I havent as yet looked for an osteopath. I'm waiting until I see the Consultant in March. Hope this has helped Xxx

Sue said...

Yeah a difficult problem with the tar. Our chimney doesn't have one of those wind protection things but we do have an inner 4" tube which protrudes above out outer chimney by about half inch but Vic says that it will cure it for you but you need to have it around 4" higher than the outer chimney and then attach the wind protector thingy to that inner tube. That will work whatever you burn.

Boaters cant be choosy sometimes and although you have a base to get dried kiln wood that is ideal although Vic doubts it wont tar up.

Something for you to consider. It should work.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Sue, Great tip but one we cant use. Ian said our cowl is 6" so wont fit. Never mind, thinking caps going back on. Xxxx

alan baker said...

Ian and Ian, don't know if this is any help, but on my woodburner at home ( it's only a small corner one like Alan W had on his boat) I fitted as advised a flue thermometer, and this shows that the stove has to be running about 300 deg F for best operation, below that it is producing creosote. The stove thermometers are available on the web
Alan nb Ebony

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thanks Alan. We do have a flue thermometer and we very seldom have it running as it should. We sit in the lounge sweating buckets! Cant win either way can we. (: Xxx

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