I must apologise for the doom and gloom misery of last week’s Blog. You’ll be pleased to know I’m feeling a lot better this week, with a much brighter outlook for the months ahead. Mind you, it did feel good to have a bit of a whinge, and I got some lovely feedback from people so thank you for that. It did help ease my troubled mind.
There’s no point sitting around grumbling though so I did what I could to improve the situation and now feel much more positive.
Having leapt upon some super-short-deadline work, I did what any sensible person would do and had a cup of tea, drinking in the stunning views as I did so. We’ve had gorgeous weather today after a right miserable affair yesterday. To make the most of my burst of ‘can-do’ spirit, I parked the 2CV in the garage to await diagnosis of a failed oil pressure warning light. Bulb, wiring or switch? That is the question. Unfortunately, it is absolutely freezing (quite literally) outside at the moment, and barely any warmer in the garage. That’s a job for a milder day.
So, I set about moving the old BX estate. It was used to store our last load of wood for several weeks but we’re running low now. Another delivery is imminent, so the BX needed to move as the best place to have the wood delivered is right where the car was parked.
The problem is that the alternator is putting out only about 13.5v and the battery is also goosed – perhaps as a result of this. I first discovered the problem in August when the BX needed jump starting before we could drive home from the International Citroën Car Clubs Rally. It is quite easy to bump start a BX, but jump starting is a lot easier as long as there’s another car handy! Thanks to Mark Smith for allowing me to use a few horses of his BX 16 Valves 160 to get my thundering 71bhp diesel back into life.
Pity my poor neighbours as they were treated to much diesel-cold-start rattling this afternoon, but my other BX proved up to the task of convincing the striped estate to fire up. It quickly rose on its ‘magic’ suspension and I gave it a run up the driveway to make sure the brakes weren’t too corroded.
Back to the timber. We are very reliant on wood, as it’s pretty much our sole form of heating. We have a wood burning stove with a back boiler which feeds an enormous storage tank (300 litres) which then feeds an underfloor system. It means we do burn an awful lot of wood – £120 worth was lasting a fortnight at times last winter. This year, we’ve improved things. We understand the heating more and realise that putting on a thicker jumper saves having to light the fire quite so early. We can just about cope with an in-house temperature of 14°C, but 16-18 is much more comfortable, and is about what we aim for. The underfloor heating runs at around 50°C, which gently heats the house from below.
What’s great about wood is that when the sun is shining, the hard work required actually feels quite wholesome and uplifting. Less so when it’s peeing down with rain or blowing a gale. Logs sometimes need to be split but even just bringing in enough wood for an evening is quite a good workout. Right. It’s getting cold now. I’d better go and get another log on.