Posted by: kathandroger | October 9, 2015

Bleedin’ radiators and strange trees.

Winter is approaching and we want to stay warm. I have, for the first time, bought some oak logs for burning, as our own supply of acacia is still a bit green. There is something about cutting logs for a chap-a simple yet important job, with lots of noise and mess. The comfort of a nice fire in the depths of January, with a whisky at hand and some good rugby on the box makes having to stay indoors almost acceptable. But logs alone are not enough, and we have had some problems with the radiators of the central heating system. David, our local plumber, was called and came to change some valves today. Now David is, according to the trouble and strife, a good looking and charming French artisan. The fact that he gets me to do the dirty part of his job does not seem relevant. “Roger, peut-tu vider les radiators avant” Just empty the system before I arrive please. Yes yes, easy for you to say, but with old and knackered kit things never go to plan. I had no idea how much water there is in a system. The answer is lots. Also, when bleeding the water out of radiators, make sure there are no clean curtains hanging nearby and the carpet is not beige. Having left one valve open whilst attending another, I was aware of a dripping sound, and to my dismay, dirty squirts of water were issuing all over the bedroom floor. The wife was not amused at my gross incompetence; the ensuing silent dismantling of the curtains and scrubbing of the carpet was not her most enjoyable afternoon. Two and a half hours of dripping water and partial flooding of the boiler room later and the job was done.IMG_3231Today the new valves have been fitted and I have spent the morning bleeding the air out of the system. David took about twenty minutes to do his part of the job, including his cup of coffee with two sugars, and I have spent about four hours on the same project. No wonder he has a new house and car!

The seasons seem to be a bit confused at the moment. Early October and a local horse chestnut tree is in flower, and the sweet peas, my favourite, which usually refuse to grow here, have suddenly shot up and bloomed. IMG_3236      IMG_3234Just a bit along the road from the errant horse chestnut is a row of unusual oak trees. I thought they were holm oaks, but looking at the very impressive bark, they  may be cork oaks. Anyway they are now showing signs of age and bits falling off, but provide a lovely arch over the isolated lane they grace.IMG_3239


  1. Those oak trees are fab. I wonder what they are? Cork is a possibility as you say.

    • I thought you would know immediately! I await a comment from Tim. They really are unusual and would be pleased to show them to anyone who wants to see them.

      • I will need to see buds, leaf and bark up close…
        and bring my books…
        then I might be able to comment.
        They could, hopwever…. hmmm, obviously need a beer!
        Start again… they could, however, be hybrids…
        we have around six obvious leaf-styles here…
        that aren’t in the books.
        Some look to be Turkey Oak / Sessile Oak crosses going on the buds… but the leaves aren’t from either!!
        so as I said in the opening… but add “down a beer”… or two…
        between “my books” and “Then I might”!!

        Pauline has just come in and said “There are some cucumbers coming!”… the plants have given us three… yes, three… so far this year!!
        We’ll be having snow in July soon and sitting out in the midnight sun all wrapped up…
        I think the Earth’s core is about to do a flip!!
        Better change the beer to a single malt…!

  2. What I didn’t say about the trees…
    looks very “Surrey”!

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