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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.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Crikey...smoke, lots of it and it seems FS wanted to go it alone!

There we were, minding our own business enjoying a program on TV when suddenly the cabin filled with smoke. Oh, help...were we on fire???? No, it was coming from around the stove door and the top air vent. Having lit one of those firelogs from Home Bargains, which I might add we have used numerous times, I would have been surprised if that was the cause. But last night the wind had picked up, we had trees and high hedges on the Starboard side and the new short chimney on. Several things can cause the smoking.  Looking on the Internet and I found it could be insufficient flue height, the recommended height is 4.5 metres or 16 feet ( yeah right...if that would be feasible on a narrowboat!)  a cold chimney; for smoke to travel up the chimney, it is crucial for the chimney and flue system to be warm. Smoke will only travel upwards if it is lighter than air. Adverse weather conditions, the possibility the direct air inlet be blocked but the most common of all is a blockage in the flueway (that's the area in the roof of the stove above the baffle plate) or chimney. This last one had been checked before we lit the stove only yesterday so we knew it wasn't that.  Before the old chimney was flung into the cut by that branch on the Coventry Canal, we bought one of those Cowls to help 'draw' the fire. (create an updraught). This new chimney has a smaller diameter top so the cowl fitting was too big. Ian gave it a go though, to see if that would help and it seemed to do the trick at first but then the flames died and once more smoke poured in. Nothing for it but find the tall chimney from the top box, fit that and put the cowl on top. Flames picked up again and we breathed easy once more. All windows and doors opened to get rid of the smoke but the Houdini stayed shut as by now it was bucketing down! So we didn't depart for bed until that firelog had died right down and that was past midnight!

As it should be, roaring

Wednesday 11th Bletchley park 10 am

We walked from the canal all the way to Bletchley Park. My Fitbit watch showed I had walked 2.2 miles and taken 4001 steps Took about 40 minutes and first thing on entry....grab a cup of tea! The second thing was read this poem by 'Bobby' Hooper (nee Osborn) a Hollerith Operator. This exert taken from Google Arts and Culture BletcleyPark Home of the Codebreakers

Names of people, places, cover names, military units, radio stations and many other significant details were recorded and kept in an enormous index in Block C, punched onto cards using Hollerith machines. Clerks, mainly women, searched decyphered messages for details that might help the Codebreakers in the future, and built up a huge cross-referencing system. At its peak, two million cards per week were used.

The paragraph Yet what they did they never knew, and if they told it wasn't true I didn't understand as I thought all the operators would have know what was going on. It was only when we watched the Bombe in action and the guide talking about the Wrens that I understood. Not one knew why they had to check endless numbers and letters. It was only after a lady who had operated that machine came to one of the talks years later that she finally found out the reason why.

 With this our third visit in 5 years we did miss out some of the huts but not where GB3RS  amateur radio operators were ready to give a demonstration on how it all works. Another exert taken from the web

GB3RS is the RSGB’s purpose built Amateur Radio demonstration station. It is located at the National Radio Centre in the Bletchley Park museum, home of the code breakers, where the Enigma code was broken during the second world war.

The radio centre, housed in newly built accommodation, is an educational showcase for radio communications and has a state of the art HF and Satellite Amateur Radio station.

Visitors are first shown a short introductory film, and then wander past radios from the earliest 1920 radio transmitters to the latest technology in amateur radio communications. There are numerous interactive displays to try and finally the demonstration station where visitors can, if they wish, talk to Radio Amateurs around the world on HF radios or via Amateur Satellites using the special call sign GB3RS.

No trip to the park would be complete without a visit to the Enigma machine,  Bombe and Colossus 

Enigma machine



Heath Robinson Machine
 And a lovely Autumnal walk around the grounds

Lake and Manor House

 The swan family still in residence.

Swan and cygnets have grown since we were last here in June

And the family in June,

The walk back went on forever...my poor feet....I tried hanging back to slow the pace but no...Ian was having none of it. By the time we arrived back to FS my total steps was 12,400 and I had walked nearly 6 miles. Couldn't quite fathom out why FS's back rope was slack and the front rope retied behind the bow. Found out she had tried to go 'floatabout' on her own. Ian had secured a rope from the fender eye to the ring because we found the front ring to be a bit of a 'stretch'. He doesn't like ropes going back but why we hadn't put a cladding pin in...well we just didn't! Anyway that rope broke and we were told by the boater that had rescued FS it was all to do with a speeding boater! Now why doesn't that surprise us!

Not going to light the stove tonight, well it has gone mild again and we also realised we had no smoke alarm, the last one having fallen from the ceiling and smashed on the floor! Top of our must have list is another smoke alarm!

A local resident called to see us. Stayed long enough to have supper and then cleared off! Apparently this is something he does all the time and never a thank you said. Splendid in his blue and orange livery he is seen skirting low from one place to another. But do we mind this blatant bad manners? Not when the resident is a Kingfisher.


KevinTOO said...

Well there's never a dull moment on FS is there! Thankfully though you are both OK:) I hope the smoke alarm went off promptly?

Irene said "But last night the wind had picked up, we had trees and high hedges on the Starboard side and the new short chimney on."

Kevin said "My knowledge of flues, their siting and termination, would think that you have probably identified the root cause of the problem... 1) wind blowing Port to Starboard 2) short flue pipe fitted 3) flue terminal below the height of the adjacent hedge. This would all mean the flue terminal/outlet would almost certainly be in a 'positive pressure zone' and not work properly. As you couldn't alter the wind speed and direction then making the flue taller and putting the terminal/outlet above the hedge was indeed the right thing to do."

Keep warm, but keep safe too :)

Dave Ward said...

"For smoke to travel up the chimney, it is crucial for the chimney and flue system to be warm"

If you go to a steam engine rally you'll see plenty of scale model traction engines with a 12v DC powered fan on the top of the chimney. It's a quick and easy way to get steam up. I'm sure something like it could help your situation when the wind is light/calm, and the chimney is cold. Most of the ones I've seen appear to be old car heater fans - old enough to be constructed entirely from steel!

The pictures of Bletchley Park bring back memories - I did three apprenticeship courses there during the 70's when I joined the P.O. Telephones. The museum didn't exist then, so I must try and pay a visit.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thanks, Dave I'll let Ian know.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Unfortunately Kevin our alarm was broken and we forgot all about replacing it but something like this made us sit up and is now a top priority.

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser http://nbharnser.blogspot.com said...

What about the CO alarm, did that one go off?

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Brian and Diana, Now that you come to mention it, no it did not! After your comment, we gave it a test and it seems to be working okay. Thanks for reminding us.

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