The kindness of the stranger

fwood roof
Donated firewood awaiting the saw

I guess most folks experience this once in a while.  It’s when someone does something to help, pure altruism, when there is every reason for them to just continue what they were doing.  Boaters are generally pretty helpful, especially around locks, where single-handers like me are often helped through.  To some degree that is part enlightened self-interest; it is much quicker to help than to wait for me to operate the lock unaided.  Today I was helped through Claydon Bottom Lock by someone bound for Banbury.  When walking along the cut I often take a windlass with me, so that I can help others.People who are not boaters tend not to get involved, but do like to watch; boating is a spectator sport!  Locks are pretty simple devices, but evidently hold a mystery for some onlookers.

Anyway, back to the title.  Just the other day I was loading a piece of scavenged wood onto the roof when a voice from behind enquired:  “Would you like some more wood?”  Spinning round, I saw a middle-aged gentleman on the other side of the hedge.  “Yes please”, I replied.  He then threw a few pieces onto the towpath side.  The first few were not too promising.  I remembered that I should get something out of the freezer and entered the boat.  When I re-emerged, there were several larger pieces of tree waiting for me to collect.  There must be two weeks’ worth!  The man was gone, so I was unable to thank him properly.  I think he lives at the house by Broadmoor Lock, on the Oxford Canal.

I had thought I would move on that day, but decided to saw and store before rain, which came today.

fwood cutting
Cutting and drying. The bowsaw is generally more efficient, but the cross-cut saw (right) copes better with greener wood.
fwood deck drying
Not sure where to store all the wood. I plucked the plank from the water, so it’s probably not great for woodwork, but it does help keep the rain of my coal.
fwood basket
All ready for a cosy evening. The hollow bits are Heat Logs, recycled saw dust; they are useful for reviving the fire.

And finally …

fwood fire
He who cuts his own wood warms his hands twice.

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