One way and another, heating dominated my day. This morning Stuart from Tom Sutton Heating came to examine the boiler problem.

Readers may remember that, following Ronan’s last visit, the burner light had gone out, making it impossible to reset the once again nonfunctioning equipment.

Shortly before the engineer arrived I noticed the light was beaming once more. I pressed the reset button. A raucous chugging ensued – then ceased.

Stuart inspected inside and out. There was water neither in the tank upstairs nor in the system, in which there was no oil. Closer examination revealed a blockage in the pipe leading from the tank to the boiler. This turned out to be algae from the contaminated oil.

A new tank is required. Ronan does not provide these, but he knows a man who does, and will approach him as soon as he has the necessary report – probably overnight. With a smile I informed Stuart that he had the air of a medic conveying bad news.

At least the immersion heater is now working so we have hot water without boiling a kettle

This afternoon Elaine rang to confirm all this.

We distributed the collection of oil-fired radiators we now have and I kept the log fire going in the sitting room.

The postman brought me the electricity bill for the current month – more than twice the cost of the last one.

Our wood supply in its open shed has become less and less accessible without falling foul of extraneous objects blown around by recent gales or longer planks and beams dumped on top of logs we hadn’t expected to need. This afternoon I began to tidy this up, with the bonus of finding two planks that will be useful in the process of refurbishing our compost bins. I carried them to stand beside those structures.

By the time I had finished all this it was too late for a forest drive, so I published https://derrickjknight.com/2023/01/23/droll-tales-5/

This evening we dined on wholesome shepherds pie topped with fried potatoes; firm carrots; and a brassica melange of sweetheart cabbage, cauliflower leaves, and leaks, with which Jackie drank more of the Pinot Grigio and I drank more of the Shiraz..


  1. It is one damn thing after another as the saying goes. I am glad that you are well provided with alternative heaters. The energy utility bills just now are a bit of a shock to say the least. I am trying to drive our electric car with a very light foot. I hope that you get your heating problems sorted soon and efficiently.

  2. Wow, it’s one thing after another with your heating system! I hope they get this sorted out soon, guys! Brr. Our wind is gusting to 60mph today, not good.

  3. This sounds like one of those stories that gets harsher by the day. Glad there was a bit of good news. Dinner sounds excellent on National Pie Day (in the US). Sorry you missed a forest drive.

  4. I do despise electricity bills so I’m very happy we installed solar panels 4 bills ago. Our bills are credit amounts now even when we forget to turn off the air conditioner when we go out for the day.

    I hope all is sorted for you real soon.

  5. I am sorry to hear of the latest wrinkle in the boiler story, Derrick, but it does sound like progress is being made. I wonder if you might be better off with an electric furnace with a heat pump assist. I don’t know what you have for forced air ducting there, or whether that would have to be installed. Heat pumps of the correct type in conjunction with the furnace can double as AC in summer. We have that set up here.

    1. Thanks very much, Lavinia. Our boiler is not quite 5 years old, so I guess we are stuck with it and once the tank is replaced we should be Ok. We’ll look into it all.

  6. Gosh, what a time you have had. Your description of algae and oil reminds me of The Rig, a science fiction series we are watching on Netflix. Watch out for that algae!

  7. That algae isn’t anything I would have thought of, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. In summer, algae can clog the water intake filters on boats, and cause every sort of problem. Cleaning the filters is a bit of a routine — even a ritual. Sorry you’ve had to deal with your own version of it. By now, I’d not be surprised if you and Jackie were having supplemental servings of that Pinot Grigio and Shiraz..

  8. How frustrating! At least your medic, Stuart, has empathy. I’m glad you are making do with the portable heaters and fireplace.

  9. Oh, dear, I was hoping the boiler would have been fixed.

    Once again, your problems with the oil tank and boiler almost replicate the ones we had. I can even visualise and hear the boiler starting up and giving up and your heating engineer trying the start up again and again.

    We found splits in the side of our tank where the heavy rain had found a way in.
    Have you managed to get hold of any bags of smokeless fuel to burn alongside the logs? If not, try the garages or DIY centres. The coalman delivers ours, and I use it with my logs for extra heat.
    I hope the new tank is delivered soon.

    1. Thanks very much, Sue. We can get smokeless fuel. In fact we bought two when the boiler first went on the blink, but at £17 a bag I thought I’d wait until we’d used up all our own logs.

  10. Oh my goodness, it never ends for you, Derrick. I admire your fortitude and await the next instalment with trepidation – will there be good news? I do hope so for all your sakes! At least the hot water is working which is a blessing ??

  11. How frustrating! One thing after the other and I hope it will be resolved soon. When we moved from Florida to Georgia, our electric bill was over 50% less. We are now on a flat rate, which helps.

  12. Hi Derrick, our electricity bills are also very high and we are getting 6 hours of power cuts a day. Thankfully, we have a generator with a catalytic converter to save diesel which helps keep the cost of running it down. I am reading your posts backwards so I know this isn’t resolved.

  13. Oh no, you two, what headaches January has brought. The need to use the wood stockpile, and having it somewhat buried beneath detritus due to not knowing you were going to need it – ah, it sounds so much like my life here on my little property. Things falling down or falling apart and then I leave it alone because other things are more important …until that thing becomes the most important. Hugs and understanding to you both.

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