Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Cast Iron Lady Warms My Heart.

These photos are taken inside my self built showmans wagon and show the cast iron stove happily working away and keeping me, Sadie the German Shepherd, and Bonnie the cat snug and warm.
As you can see it has an oven and a top suitable for cooking on, which it does perfectly for my simple cooking needs.
There is always a big kettle of water on too when the fire is alight. The kettle is not the pretty one in the picture, but a much bigger one. It comes in very useful in the winter because I have not yet got around to connecting the propane gas boiler for hot water.
The range is called the "Belle Portable" and dates right back to 1860. According to my maths that makes her over 150 years old, and still going strong.
Did you notice that I refer to it as her? This is probably because she gives me comfort and keeps me warm at night. Also as I mentioned earlier she cooks well. But that is a sexist thing to say, so please in order to keep things politically correct, forget I said it. Bloody political correctness! Where the hell did that spring from? In my young days we didn't need it. We just used common courtesy to get by. Sexist, that's another word that has sprung up from nowhere. When I was a lad we celebrated our differences. Now, well we have to watch everything we say. Sod that! Oh, don't get me started!

Sorry about that, I let myself get sidetracked. Where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about my lovely stove. My beautiful, sexy, feminine stove, My own iron lady. Whoops here I go again!

She burns wood or coal. In fact she can burn any old rubbish. Not that I would do that, burn rubbish I mean. At least not while anyone is watching. It's frowned upon you know. Like a heck of a lot of things these days.

I found her in the small ads. I had been searching for a suitable wood burner for some time. There were lots of modern ones around, but they lacked character. I had seen a beautiful "Belle Portable" on Ebay but it was priced at £4000! Another one I saw somewhere was at £1500. There were broken ones and some with bits missing, but they were all out of my price range. In the end I decided that I would have to go for a simple modern one, even if it did look out of place in the wagon.

Then one day, feeling sad, lonely, and unloved, I was looking through the small ads in the local paper. I was probably, due to my mood, searching for the woman of my dreams in the lonely heart section. Once again I never found her, but I did spot this: 'old fashioned range for sale. £50'.

Well at 50 quid I thought it must be a modern, probably electric reproduction. I mentioned this to George, my extremely handsome son. I said it wasn't worth looking at, but he persuaded me that there was no harm in calling the phone number to find out more. So I did. The lady who answered assured me it was a genuine old stove. But I was still sceptical. I mean £50! Surely it would have been snapped up by now.

I'll cut a long story short. You haven't got all day. It was a genuine, old, cast iron, 'Belle Portable'. In perfect working order, and here it is, in my wagon, doing what it was designed to do all those years ago.

Why it is called the 'Belle Portable' I haven't worked out yet. It is definitely not portable, it weighs a ton!
It's OK though, I have reinforced the wagon floor.

18 comments:

  1. One of the most beautiful ladies I have ever seen!
    Jane x

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  2. You got yourself a real bargain there with character to burn. I enjoyed your witty ramblings. Bugger that political correctness!

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  3. that's quite a stove you've got there and the only fitting description for her would be the sexist non politically correct one. I hate all the politically correct nonsense

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  4. You are teaching me all sorts of British terms (and I thought I knew a lot). Is a wagon a trailer? Wow... is it safe to have a wood stove in a wagon?

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  5. Your son is to be congratulated for persistence. Perhaps we should listen to the younger generation more often. The stove is terrific and I'm glad that you use its image for your header.

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  6. I am so jealous. I would love to have this stove. It reminds me of my Grandmother's.
    This stoves are the best.
    You got it for a great price!!!

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  7. She is a beauty and what a bargain. They don't make things like that anymore. I'm wondering how you got it to your place and in the wagon?

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  8. What a bargain, she's a beauty, I don't mind you calling her a she. They certainly made things to last in those days, they don't anymore.

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  9. She, sorry, it's a beauty. I could feel the warmth just looking at her, sorry, the picture.

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  10. What a smasher. You got a bargain there.

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  11. Well, now, she is a beauty indeed! Even if she a he, he is handsome too :-) and in perfect working order, so just perfect!

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  12. John I love your old girl you are so lucky!

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  13. I envy you your stove. So characterful! And the price, amazing!

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  14. Belle is gorgeous. If you do that sort of thing, she will make you the best bread you will ever eat. I used to make bread and cinnamon rolls every Saturday beginning when I was about six years old. I have no one to make them for but myself now and I have not had a wood stove for many, many years. You are fortunate.

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  15. Oh she is a true beauty. Keep warm. B

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  16. Hi, I too 'saved' a Belle Portable range and have it in my old cottage. A quick question! Have you discovered what lifting the flap with Belle Portable written on actually does!? Using the lever above directs the heat either up the chimney or forces it completely round the oven (if you have cleared away the soot), but I have never really discovered what lifting the flap actually does?? Can you put me out of my misery? Thanks in advance

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  17. I have 1 of these but would like to know how to use it correctly. Cant seam to get it hot enough to make bread thats for sure

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  18. I have 1 of these but would like to know how to use it correctly. Cant seam to get it hot enough to make bread thats for sure

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