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.
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.
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.