Yesterday evening the warm glow of the wood burner in the living room turned into a slightly nasty smelling smoke screen. We both wondered if we had a birds or wasps nest somewhere up the flue and opened the front door and windows. The Wilf one went searching for the torch which he eventually found, by this time it was pitch black outside and he shone the torch at the chimney. All looked ok up there and as he turned to walk back into the house he could see billows of smoke leaving the cottage. But happily as the fire cooled down the smoke and smell had almost cleared by bed time!
This afternoon we decided to light the other wood burner in the dining room where we both work during the day with the same result we had in the lounge last night. I was starting to get suspicious that it might be my fault as in my cleaning frenzy I had bought some stove blacking and applied it to both burners which made them look lovely and shiny! The smoke from the dining room caused me to open the dining room window and I could see a light haze rising from the top of the burner and that nasty smell, like burning plastic was with us again. The shine has faded to the dull black it was before on both burners but at least there is no more smoke or smell. I have also been on the internet to find out if others have any problems and it seems you shouldn’t black some stoves at all. General comments suggest you may have to open all doors and windows on first lighting after the application.
On a positive note we have had some sun here today, but this has been interspersed with very heavy showers. Not sure if it shows up too well but the photo is a view from our porch of the rain this afternoon, note the splashes up as the rain hit the road.
My other project today was trying loose leaf tea. I started with my very sweet little acorn shaped infuser, but it just ended up a mass blob of tea and I think I packed too much in it so it couldn’t infuse. Maybe this was meant for using in a cup? After that I added a couple of spoons directly to the pot and used a tea strainer. These little tea wonders, with the exception of the tea leaves have been living in the back of the cupboard for ages. I was inspired to purchase proper tea making utensils several years ago after a trip to ‘Betty’s Tea Rooms’ in Northallerton when we went up that way for a holiday. Betty’s which can be found at www.bettys.co.uk/ is a wonderfully old fashioned place where the ladies serving still wear black and whites. The tea or coffee menu is longer than your arm and the cakes are BIG and pretty. Betty’s can be found in a few Yorkshire towns and whilst the locals and I might say it’s not cheap, it is a proper tea time treat. This is what I hope to recreate in our kitchen, so along with a slice of my orange sponge cake I hope to be pouring myself real tea.