We haven't moved today as we are having our chimney flue replaced. We are moored in Hopwas Wood close to The Little Chimney Company boat and butty 'Molly'. Yesterday Kym came over to measure up and see what was required and see if he could get the materials. The outcome was that he was able to collect the required pipe and this morning he had it cut and tacked welded. He was then round to check that it all fitted in situ before fully welding it up. By 1600 he was back to fit it up. It didn't take long to get it roped in top and bottom and then siliconed on top too and it was completed by 1700. I must say that we think that it does look better with a bend in the flue rather than the straight run. However the main reason for the new flue is so that we can have a new double skinned chimney to keep the new paint job pristine next year. Unfortunately the chimney is not yet available. Kym has had a major run on chimneys and is waiting for the next lot of plate to come. We are not in a hurry as we wont need a fire until after Christmas. We will arrange to pick it up at a later date.
The original flue was a straight pipe that was wedged in the collar on top of the stove and poked out of the roof, cut flush. At the stove top being wedged in meant that it wasn't easy to get a good seal round the flue as the gap is uneven round the collar. At the top the angle of the flue means that there can not be a seal between the flue and the double skinned chimney. Therefore any tar that condenses in the chimney drips down the side of the chimney and onto the roof of the boat.
The new flue has the 'kink' in it. This means that at the stove top the pipe sits right in the centre of the collar vertically, and does not rest , jammed in, to the collar. When jammed the differential expansion could mean that a crack could be caused in the top plate of the stove or the flue wouldn't seal. At the roof line the second bend ensures that the flue pokes out of the roof line vertically through the collar on the roof so that the chimney sits over the collar and the internal double skin also locates properly over the flue so that firstly been double skinned the tar remains in the smoke and not condensed so easily as it is insulated. Any tar that does condense will be inside the double skin that will then drop down the inner skin into the flue and reburned. We have to let the silicone dry so we will light the fire tomorrow as we have to burn off any grease/oil of the pipework and bed everything in. I am looking forward to seeing it lit and with the posh new chimney on.
As we couldn't really leave the boat as Kym may have had to pop in at any time to offer up the work or double check measurements etc, we were unable to go for a walk round Hopwas Wood. We therefore started packing stuff and sorting cupboards etc. I got to grips with the gas and battery lockers as we have a BSS to pass in October. We also sorted the planters out and tidied up around the boat. Whilst I was doing this a noticed that there were several ducks making quite a noise diving down to the bottom of the canal by the boat. Eventually I saw that they were bringing up acorns! I didn't know that they ate acorns. I have seen them eating rose hips and blackberries on the way up here.
Hopwas Wood is actually bigger now than it was in the past, and that can't be true of many forests in England. In 1086 when the Domesday book was compiled there were around 180 acres. In 1834 it had grown to 375 acres. Many things seem to have happened in the Wood. There was a big fire in 1976. There have been escaped cattle in the trees and large black cats, and lion like animals have been spotted. In 1984 a police raid captured 16 naked people taking part in an occult ceremony. They were the Silver Star Society and £2000 in fines for possession of cannabis followed. Many occult objects have been uncovered in the area. There was a threat to a large amount of the wood when Tarmac wanted to excavate for a sand quarry. Eventually planning permission was denied and the wood has been saved for longer.
Hopwas Hayes Woodhouse was built around 1775 in the centre of the wood. From the tower you could see all round the horizon and so was a good spot for fire watching. There were five bedrooms and three AGA's in a huge kitchen etc, but there were no real mod cons. It was finally demolished in 2010 as it had been very badly vandalised.
I would really recommend Kym and Tracey of the Little Chimney Company as they are such nice and friendly folk and very accommodating. Their work is first class and not off the shelf but entirely made to measure so you can be sure of a good fit. Over the winter they are round and about somewhere on the Coventry Canal so stop by for a chat when you pass them.
Last day of freedom tomorrow.