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Friday, 30 November 2012

Oop north


as most of my readers know, I live in the sunny south of England. However I’m now visiting my son in the North of the country. on the way up, Mrs FE and myself were quite shocked at so many areas were underwater to some depth.

Today we visited that fine old city of York to do some early Christmas shopping in the St Nicholas Christmas market fair. It didn’t bode well from the beginning when we boarded the train from Darlington to York, and discovered it was packed to the Gunwhales (seafaring term for chockerblock), due to delays in the trains caused by the flooding.

On arriving in York we were met by icy cold winds and this blogger was quite happy to suggest to Mrs FE that she desperately needed to look in various shops for gifts. Just so he could retreat from the cold.

After some hours of shopping I think we were all glad to go back to my son’s house. But I was wondering if I would suffer the same fate as the day before.

On arrival at my son’s house on the,Thursday evening, the boy stated that the boiler wasn’t working as it had tipped out on low water pressure, and would i just top it up as he was going to make us tea.

Dead simple in practise. Not this bloody time. On opening it up a plastic fitting blew apart and ended up soaking yours truly with freezing water before I managed to close the valve. The plastic fitting was resecured but the next problem was that the endlessly butchered valve was found to be impossible to open.

Now by this time FE is not only cold but also wet and thought it imperative that we source a new valve from the local DIY superstore. And this we did. Having arrived back at the son’s place, fitted the new valve, shivering by now, I instructed my son to switch on the boiler.


Now most people would be reaching for the phone by now, but fortunately this problem is known and can be easily rectified. The problem is a sticky air flap valve. Solution is to break out the hairdryer strategically kept under the stairs and aim it for a few minutes at the offending area of the boiler. boiler will roar into life. Prayers of thanks my now be said.

The moral of this rambling post (fuelled by the famous grouse cheaper whisky, is that modern houses cannot exist without central heating as they usually have no means of heating without it.

So at least those of you who don’t have a fireplace go out and buy yourself a fan heater or two. especially as most pundits are predicting a cold winter this year.

Where’s that bloody Global Warming got to?


  1. I do not understand how people think of "Old Grouse" as a quality whisky.

    Mc Callans, Islay (of which there are many), Orkney (See Islay),, but "old grouse"????

    Same "quality as "Haig", "White & Mackays" or, probably even worse, "Johnny Walkers". (Be it "Black", "red", "blue" or even bloody "rainbow")

  2. 1930's house four working fireplaces, in addition to Central heating and proper insulation, all present and correct!

    As for the whisky, who cares when its only being used as de-icer? However I agree when it is being drunk for pleasure.

    1. XX 1930's house four working fireplaces, XX

      I miss my Grandmothers house in Gällivare (WAY oop North, in Sweden).

      One of these tiled ovens* where there is "bed space" next to it, and yes that WAS my bed.

      Wood burning.

      When it was windy, which there, is nearly always, it COULD reach around 1000°C INSIDE (not outside, of course...THAT could be problomatic!).

      Add to that the smell of roasting pork or reindeer. Potatoes, pies.

      Which were being cooked 24 hours per day.

      Grandfather comes back from sea...breakfast could be midnight, midday meal 04:00. And then we had my uncles, all sea captains with similar work patterns, and all living on the farm.

      "Grannys" was the "cookhouse".

      Full Sunday dinner at 03:00 was NOT unusual.

      THAT is how I "grew up".

      * Cooking with these ovens is a VERY specific skill. You have to know WHICH part of the hotplate/oven is right for fried eggs, or a pie, or a reindeer leg, or...

  3. I agree. A good single malt is my ideal. However you have to make do with whatever is available at the time.

  4. Trains? Oh yes, I remember trains from the good old days.
    We haven't had any for over a week now what with flood damage and landslides but the operating companies have laid on excellent coach links between Taunton and Totnes.
    Hotpress update. Now should read "between Tiverton Parkway and Newton Abbot".

  5. Fan heater nbg in power cut.

    I used to like The Antiquary, but haven't seen it for ages.

  6. TFF:

    1) Gravity-fed open tank central heating
    2) Simple good old clockwork oil boiler (admittedly, needs leccy, but at least has no stupid over-complex electronics)
    3) Jotul
    3) and most of all: gravity-fed oil-fired AGA which does NOT need leccy in any way.

    Old houses rock! Always toasty! Hooray!


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