The French stove, which I think may have mentioned (for example, here, here, here, here and here) has finally been used in earnest; lovely as the weather was, the evenings were a bit chilly. And sorry to go on about it, but it is fantastic. It works so well, and is the most controllable stove I've ever used (I said this to Jim, and he said, well you haven't used that many have you, so I totted it up and there were at least five, so I reckon best of five isn't bad, and that included a Squirrel, albeit a knackered one). It draws so well there is, as yet, no soot or brown gunk on the mica in the door. The riddler works brilliantly; the damper has a noticeable effect when you adjust it, and best of all, the entire casting has not, yet, shattered into a million little pieces. The enammelled outer casing gets hot enough that it's uncomfortable to put your hand on it, but not so hot as to do serious injury if you accidentally brush past it. It is just about right for putting your pyjamas on top of (although obviously not leaving them unattended) before bed.
The design and execution of the stovepipe clearly contributes significantly to this success story - I never did find out what it cost, but whatever it was, it's worth every penny (we'd only have gone and blown the money on something else by now anyway, like boots for the children or something equally frivolous).
Now all we need is a chimney; a simple matter, you would think, given that it is, apparently, as standard roof fitting which we haven't altered. There was one, and we never, as they say, saw the going of it, but gone it has - we're making do at the moment with the back cabin one, but - very oddly, given that that is also a completely standard fitting - it doesn't fit properly and sits about an inch and a half up in the air. Jim visited the Shotbolts' chandlery at the weekend and tried on two or three for size , but none fitted. Very odd. I rather liked some very plain, painted steel ones that they had, in line with the policy of not drawing attention to the front end of the cabin, and I think we may get one made on that basis. So for now we can only have a fire at one end or the other, not both.
Incidentally, while I was in Lewisham the other week, I saw a shop selling real, new, tin baths. I want one! And then I can have my jug-and-bucket scrub in front of the fire in the back cabin. Humph, said Jim, where would you keep it? I thought it was obvious - I'd keep it in the bath. If I go there again, I'm going to get one. I am!
I was going to promise that I wouldn't mention the stove again now, but that might be rather rash.