My recent prized e-bay acquisition, a 10 pint kettle, a little dinked and scuffed on the outside but in fine fettle inside. Hanging from a chain on a tripod above the fire I reckon it’ll look just the job.

With just two weeks to go until the Summer break my mind’s turning to Summer plans and more specifically the boat.

Before we set off we’re planning to replace the engine control levers (forward/reverse gear lever and throttle) on Eileen as they’ve caused concern for some time. The fiddly ‘thumb’ controls will be replaced with a new fabrication based on a vintage single-lever Morse control. It’ll be more substantial than they current set-up which is nearing the end of its working life, and frankly falling to bits.

If the job’s successful it opens up the possibility of more extended use of the boat over the Summer vacation. We’ve avoided moving her too far from our home base in Banbury over the last year in case the controls fall off in my hands and we end up having to be towed back to the Wharf.

So, with luck, this Summer we may be able to strike out beyond Aynho and get as far as the heady delights of Oxford and the Thames – a mind-boggling 30 or so miles away!

Still, it’s not the distance travelled but the quality of the journey that counts and I’m hoping we’ll have grand time taking things slow, doing lots of stops, having BBQs, living outdoors, exploring villages and generally using the boat as it should be used – to enrich our lives, not as a means to rush between points A and B.

Another giant, picked up at Rickmansworth last year, a catering teapot able to make a brew for the largest and thirstiest of crews!

Talking of living outdoors, my collection of outdoor kit is growing – the portable fire pit and a large enamel kettle have arrived, and I even found a long handled pan in the street the other day that’s ideal for simmering a stew on an open fire, plus a couple of Dutch ovens, all perfect for use over a fire pit.

This is the pan I found, it says 10 Pints on the lid. The oily sootiness around the base indicates it’s been used on an wood burning fire before, so brings a little pedigree. And look at that handle – huge!

We’ve collected various glass jars too, they’ll be wired up to form holders for tea lights, and school has provided a number of large catering cans for informal water heating, plus I’m hoping to borrow the school’s three Kelly Kettles, so all round we’re awash with camp fire kit, so let’s GO OUTDOORS!

Oh, and do you fancy a brew?

This photo’s only by way of illustration as the ‘new’ ’30’s Brown Betty teapot I bought is already stowed on the boat, this one’s our kitchen pot…


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