Monday, 15 February 2010

Keeping the home fires burning

A day of logs and DIY
February 2010
I had one of those rare days when both Belle and Jeff were otherwise engaged, leaving me pretty well free to do whatever I wanted.

Naturally, my 'want' involved a trip to the boat, this time to progress the ongoing shower room project. Now, DIY is probelmatic in sub zero temperatures on a number of accounts:
  1. Wood adhesive wont cure
  2. Yacht varnish thickens, but wont dry properly
  3. My fingers go numb!
Progress has therefore been slow of late, but I have managed to build and varnish the cupboard doors. The task for the day was to get these fitted.

Door one (left) went in like a dream, exactly the right dimensions with maybe three mill clearance top and bottom, the door fitting snugly into its recess. Time to complete the job - 30 mins.

Door two (right) was exactly the same size and shape but would it fit? The heck it would. The problem isn't the doors, it's the cabinet which I had to build by rule of thumb and guesswork, fitting it in as the space in the boat allowed. Inevitably, the resulting appeture wasn't perfectly square and the door had to be tailored to fit.

Two hours later after much jigsawing and planing I finally had door which still looked square, but  at last fitting into it's new home. The problem is getting it closed. Try and I might it still has a 'spring' in it for the last few degrees, which will be overcome with the aid of a sturdy catch. All in all it's looking ok. Time to find some tiles for the shower and splashback.

With the work done by three pm, and nearly two hours of light left in the sky, I decided on a bit of firewood foraging. In November I had reviewed by woodpile at home and calculated that I had enough to last till the spring, but I hadn't accounted for such a cold January. The Ahab logpile has dwindled at an alarming rate and it is apparent that the end will be reached before spring arrives.

During my Christmas trip I spied a tree felled by BW, about half a mile from our moorings. I mentally earmarked this for our grate, but was disturbed to see photos of nb Retirement no Problem cutting logs in the vicinity. Surely they hadn't bagged 'my' tree!

I ventured forth armed with the trusty chainsaw and was relieved to find my tree safe an well in the undergrowth, and the remains of RNP's tree a few hundred yards further on. Half an hour of chainsaw weilding and I had a satisfyingly large pile of cut logs, just enough to fill the well deck of Wand'ring Bark.

 I love the scavenging aspect of boating. By diligently keeping an eye out for felled timber in the autumn I manage to pick up enough free fuel to keep the fire at home going all winter. It's ecologically sound too, because the only carbon I release is what was taken in by the trees over the last coulpe of decades, not carbon stored up in fossis fuels from millenia ago. 

Mind you, there is alway the smoke free zone thing to contend with in the city, but with industry dead no one seems to bothered about that any more!


Halfie said...

I've often wondered about the etiquette of log nabbing. How do you know that a felled tree or branch is free for the taking? And is it ever OK to take anything from the offside od the canal? Is it ever OK to take anything if it's still connected to the ground?

Captain Ahab said...

Its a good question and one to which there is probably no perfect answer.
My policy is only to use timber felled by BW, and therefore on BW land. I wouldnt chop anything down but what is lying on the ground is fair game.
If there is any likelihood that the timber belongs to anyone other then BW I leave it alone. I have noticed BW stacking felled logs, presumably inviting boaters to use what would otherwise be a waste product.
Of course, I also tidy up behind myself and leave the place cleaner than when I found it.

Halfie said...

Thanks Captain. A couple more questions: Does BW ever own any land on the offside? If you come across a neat stack of logs how do you know it was made by BW and not a fellow boater ready to pick up later?

(word verification thingy for this is silog - how does it know? (No need to answer that one!))

Captain Ahab said...

BW always owns at least a metre or two of the offside - or as far as a fence / hedge because they own the thickness of the waterproof canal bank. If you see a garden extending to the waters edge it means thehouse is leasing the strip from BW on a peppercorn rent.

As for the stacks of logs - I have seen tham stacked on top of a BW workboat with its hold filled also filled with waste logs. I flag of invitation if ever I saw one.

Halfie said...

Yes, that makes sense. I'd never really thought about it before.

As for the logs in a BW boat, well, might they not be about to transport them to their own woodburner in their offices?

Captain Ahab said...

Yeh, right... Do you see any smoking chimneys coming out of BW's air conditioned offices at Fazeley?

You have an overactive concience!

Mind you, the Capt Snr used to observe that my cavalier approach to fly parking at St Peter Mancroft was a bit beyond the line. I guess I see "guidelines" where others see "rules".

My policy is: If found out offer a heartfelt apology and act stuupid - it rarely fails.