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Monday, December 11, 2017

Baby It's COLD Outside!!

“Winter is the time for stories, staying fast by the glow of fire. And outside, in the darkness, the stars are brighter than you can possibly imagine.” ― Isabel Greenberg, award winning British illustrator and writer

      I knew it was going to be COLD last night. I was sitting in Les' recliner watching the Blue Planet II on the BBC and the fire was burning merrily in the stove and suddenly I realized the tip of my nose was cold.  I reached out a hand and I could feel the temperature changing in the boat. Now for those who don't live on a narrowboat, or who have never been on one--especially in winter--you should know that heat and cold lie in layers inside. Hot air rises and the warmest place on a narrowboat is always near the ceiling with the coldest being nearest the floor. The middle level of warmth begins on this boat at about my knees and rises to my neck when I am standing up; from the neck up it is quite hot. I am five foot one inch tall. Les was five feet nine inches tall and this why we argued about the heat on the boat all winter. More of his body was in the warm and hot layers of the boat. Being a short arse most of my body is in the cold zone nearer the floor. 
     Anyway, last night I could feel the internal drop in temperature corresponding to a sharp drop outside around 8:30 pm. I knew the canal would freeze over and it did. I slept soundly in my Portuguese gray flannel sheets and winter down comforter.
     I woke this morning to a warm and toasty boat but the outside world was a different place; brittle with cold, clothed in a layer of dry frost crystals nearly three inches thick. At  6:30 am the thermometer read -8C/17F. I went outside with a broom sweeping down what I could and started the engine to make sure it was turning over. It will heat some water and bring the batteries to a full charge. I doubted the solar panels would generate any charge today but I swept them off as best I could. There was still a frozen rime of frost across the surface. I tried sponging it away with my lambswool cleaning tool and some hot water but it simply turned the frost to a frozen sludge. I managed to get most of it off but there was still a layer of almost opaque frost across all three panels. Never the less I came back inside, hung up my gear and walked back to the stern to check the battery charge and it warmed my heart considerably to see the solar panels were indeed making energy and my batteries were topped up to 13.5! 

     The water point tap is frozen so that is my next chore. I am going to pour a kettle of boiling water over it to get the door un-latched and another kettle of boiling water over the hose pipe inside with the lever turned on and left in the on position. Soon enough it will thaw and begin running. It is a good day to have a tidy up inside while the sun is still shining; wash a load of clothes and hang them to dry, make a pot of nourishing soup and some bread--rye I think, and settle down in front of the fire with a book. 
     Wherever you are if it's winter I wish you warm and safety. If it's summer I wish you good cheer and glass of something cold raised to the rest of us!  xxx


Borodon said...

Hello Jaqueline from a snow covered but sunny West of Ireland. Lovely blog. I have been reading some of your blogs since the passing of Les. Good to see your lovely uplifting sense,coming off the page of this blog. Thank you.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hello Brendan! Your comment is a lovely surprise today. Thank you so much for reading the blog and for taking the time to leave a comment for me. Whereabouts in Ireland are you located? I hope you are warm and dry.

Jaqueline x

Fun60 said...

Lovely post. You sound so cosy settling down to your home made soup and bread. So pleased you are warm during thing this current cold spell.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hello Marie! Lovely to hear from you. I hope you are staying warm down saff! My husband Les would have loved visiting the latest two museums featured on your blog and so would I.

The boat is cozy in winter and since it is pointless to attempt much outside in such weather, noodling around inside keeps me busy.

Take care and stay warm,

Jaq xx

Mike & Phill Muir, nb GARNET. said...

Jaq, ref the solar panels. I have a window squeegee with a long(ish) handle to clean our panels. If the bulk of the snow is removed, then even wintery, weak sunshine will a) start generating, and b) warm the panel enough to melt what is left... I checked our original panel inside the cabin before installation, just for curiosity, and there was power with only diffuse light through the cabin windows. Modern technology is wonderful!
As an aside you might want to think about finding a pair of 1970's platform shoes to get more of you in the heat zone.
keep safe and warm

Geoff and Mags said...

Take care Jaq.XXX

Judith nb Serena said...

Lovely blog, only just read it been wondering how you were getting on. You seem so organised. Glad your staying safe and warm. Love and hugs Judith nb Serena XXX

Borodon said...

I live in a small village called Cootehall, the Boyle river flows through here and joins up with the river Shanon which is the largest river in Ireland and is fully navigable.I have a Dutch barge moored here in Cootehall.

Unknown said...

1970's platform shoes?
They are dangerous, you could fall over and break an ankle.

As for me I could never fit inside NB Valerie, am way too tall,
just ask Mike & Phil on NB Garnet. They know me from over here.

Winter has arrived, five inches of snow the morning of December 12,
and now the temperature outside plummets, was about minus 10 C most of the day.

Now and Wednesday December 13, temperature will be about minus 15 to minus 20 C.

Stay inside where it is warm....

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Mike and Phyll! Platform shoes eh! I think I would rather go for the squeegee on and extension handle. I hope you are both staying warm and dry this winter. Lift a glass for me and Les.

Love Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Geoff and Maggs,

I am trying to take care of me. some days are better than others.

Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Judith,

I have to be organized or I get lost in minutiae. I don't know where the days go! I am staying warm despite the frigid temperatures and the ice. I hope you are too.

Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce,

I am with you on the platform shoes. I never wore them back in the day. I was waitressing and wore sensible shoes! Besides I have feet like a duck (short and very wide) and I don't think they make a platform shoe for ducks!!

six more days the the longest night arrives! And then the light returns as each day grows longer. Woot!!!

Stay warm and dry my dear,

Love Jaq xxx

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs