England had a cold snap overnight. It went down to 5 celcius or about 41 in our degrees. The boat was "nippy" (about 50) when I got up at 7:30 this morning. It is now 9:45 and Michael is still trying to convince the solid fuel stove to keep a fire alive. Time for longjohns.
You see, the stove burns coal. It burns a hard low smoke coal. That coal is reluctant to catch. Once you get a fire going it will burn for a long time and the nice coals help the new coal catch. The fly in that ointment is getting the original fire to burn and stay burning.
We knew we had coal in the storage compartments left by the previous owners. What we did not know (and apparently the former owners did not know) was the fact that the plastic bag the coal was in had holes. The coal had gotten very wet with all of the rainy days England is famous for since the storage compartment is not water tight and is open to the elements.
Let me clue you, wet coal does not burn. Hence a trip (by foot) to buy some new and dry coal. But we still have not met with resounding success as far as a coal fire is concerned. We (Mike) get it started and it looks nice but it doesn't keep going, at least not yet. But I live in hope.
It is still 50 in here so plan B is about to go into effect: turn on the oven and make soda bread and anything else I can think of to keep the oven going and some heat flowing into our little home. Blue nails are only fashionable when they come from polish and not from lack of circulation. :)