Saturday, January 21, 2006


The great boiler saga drifts on. Not that it’s of any interesting to anyone else, but yesterday was also a rather expensive day. Paid my tax (twice what I’d expected, because they now want six months in advance) and the second instalment for the Clever Man who fixed the boiler.

He’s had fun today, drilling a waste-pipe into our cast-iron drains. The Victorians really built things to last, and it took about 20 minutes to cut a bit about the size of two £1 coins stuck together.

But the leak seems fixed, and things all approved and dandy. Just the electrics and windows and loft insulating to do now. And some re-pointing, and other odds and ends.

To celebrate this steady progress, the Dr took me out to the Comedy Caff on Rivington Street last night, with some friends and some friends of theirs. Marvellous night full of beer and good jokes, though I’d not heard of any of the acts before.

Not that this particularly signifies anything. But the line-up was Brendan Bourke (hawking his DVD afterwards), Stuart Hudson and Mickey Flanagan, with Drew Barr as MC. If that helps.

Bit pissed on the way home, and the Dr failed to recognise I. who was stood right next to her on the train. Even when he came up to say hello. And he was round at ours only last week…

She did, however, recognise S., though they’ve only met once before. Thing is, they’d talked that time about ancient Greeks.

Maybe if I slip in the word “Acropolis” now and then, she’ll listen to the important things that I’m telling her.

Among the important things discussed between comedy acts was the difference between teepees and wigwams. Wigwams are rounder-roofed, while teepees are conical, and built in the same sort of way as the cone of twigs you make when lighting a fire.

Something on the telly a while back looked at whether the Ancient British roundhouses (like the groovy remakes at Butser) had holes in the top of their roofs, as chimneys. Otherwise, wouldn’t the place fill with smoke and suffocate everyone?

A practical experiment, using state-of-the-art paper models, showed why not. The heat around the chimney – a heat-building cone – sets fire to the building.

Without a chimney though, smoke leaks gently through the thatching, and the carbon dioxide extinguishes any stray sparks.

So, I wonder, why doesn’t that happen with wigwams? They have fires in them (in the movies I've seen), and holes in the top of 'em that'd act like chimneys. And they don't burn down.


Got an eagerly awaited cheque through this morning which paying for the house a lot easier. And should have more monies soon, too.

Much work delivered this week. Done the requested rewrites on two unannounced things, totalling some 15,000 words. Edited something else and delivered it, and have just begun a new on-spec thing I’ve been meaning to get started for ages.

All this to stay warm. I will quote some Clements:
“There is still a perilously thin line that separates you from the hungry and the cold, and from the need to secure food and warmth. Few of us are more than a few months from bankruptcy […] While the Vikings are inhabitants of the past, the forces that created them are not.”

Jonathan Clements, A Brief History of the Vikings, p. 229.

To which I say, in my best Scandinavian accent, "Raaaaaahr!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aren't Wigwams/Teepees a LOT smaller than an old thatched roundhouse? I think once you take into account the dug-out floor of a roundhouse as well as the height of the roof there's an awful lot of space above your head for the smoke to gather and filter through. You don't get that with a teepee AFAIK as it's basically a large tent made to be portable.