Thursday, 20 December 2007

No, we are not cold :-)

The most frequent question we are asked is, "Isn't it cold on a boat?" Our resounding answer is NO! In fact, we are often so toasty warm that we have to open the side hatches. Why? 2 reasons. 1) We have a thermometer on the stove pipe showing us when the fire gets to the optimum temperature to allow heat, but no stodging up of pipes. When it is this hot, but not so hot to shoot through the coal at ridiculous rates, it sends heat waves up and out of the stove. 2) A glorious little (and we mean little) fan sits on the top. Called an Eco Fan, it sits so that it catches cold air behind it and hot air beneath it. This causes the fan to go around and power a small motor which keeps it going around. This sends hot air all over the boat. SO much so that when we hang wet clothes on the airer, positioned tight up to the ceiling in the clothes room, wash loads can dry within hours. Amazing.

Couple all that with a central heating system, on for two hours morning and night; foam insulation between our wooden walls, floors, ceilings and the steel hull and the fact that we are but single storey, we are warm indeed. You'll need to spot the ice right up against Bella's outside to realise how insulated she is on the inside.

No, we are not cold.

The fan which keeps us warm in full flow

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Inside twinkly lights and red flowers - almost a tree!

Bella's lights from across the marina

We decorated for Christmas today

Well, twinkly lights outside and twinkly lights in, mistletoe hanging down from the ceiling and Santa on the shelf - here we are! All ready for our first Christmas season in Bella. We've been sharing cards with our marina neighbours and we are all off to a dinner next Saturday in Braunston. We thought we could go by boating convoy, but with all the ice, it looks like we'll be hiring a minibus on the roads instead.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Coal Barge opposite Bella

Mrs Moorhen on Bella's gunwhale

Some walking, some swimming

Neighbours feeding Birds on ice!

Over a week since our last entry!!

Oh, dear blog fans, how time flies! Elizabeth's been to Wales and back again teaching project management. Pete's been perfecting the perfect fire, carrying coal, emptying cassettes, filling the water tank, doing all the laundry... E has the easy life!

Its been so cold lately, but oh so toasty inside. Our stove is now working fantastically. We found a thermometer which attaches to the stovepipe which tells us when the heat is up to the temperature high enough to not creosote up the door and pipes, but cool enough to burn efficiently. With our amazing heat fuelled fan on top, we get so warm inside, we often have to open the hatches! Who'd have thought...

The ice outside is fascinating. Sitting this lazy Saturday morning, we heard a tinkling/crunching kind of sound. Following it, we saw our two swans, Rosie and Jim, doing their ice-breaker swim. Rosie was first, chest breaking a slice or two, with Jim following behind. In the clear water behind them, ducks followed. What a sight! The ducks braved the ice for walking to the crumbs the swans couldn't quite ice-break to in time. Eventually the moorhen joined them, but sat on Water Troubadour's rudder to keep her feet warm.

More ice was broken later by the coal barge, calling in to sell the necessary. Such service! Pete walked around the marina to the working boats mooring expecting to heave coal back around. No way! Delivered with a smile and a wheelbarrow directly to Bella's quay. And they gave us a Christmas card for the pleasure.

Speaking of Christmas, our neighbours on Zelda, Sue and Bob, popped by with mistletoe. Lovely!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Is this Woody?

Bird on Parade

Pete's birdwatching

Well, we can't really travel yet, so we're taking in the local wildlife. We'll post pics of the red crested green woodpecker and more, and the swans are getting quite bold in pecking the side hatch for snacks. There has been a huge amount of rain, but we're still quite dry and toasty, thanks to the brilliant stove.