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Power to the People

By Hop-A-Long  
Well, snow everywhere yesterday, rain everywhere tonight. I wish it had rained last night, it wouldn't have caused a problem for me this morning.
I have a polytunnel as you all already know and yesterday there was a thick covering of snow lying on top of it. I decided in my wisdom last night to pop out, light my paraffin heater thus melting the snow during the night and it running off as harmless water rather than me being brutal with a broom and risking the cover of the tunnel.
You know when ideas come to your mind that seem like a genius thought at the time, this was one of those.
Anyway, I arrived at the tunnel at around 23.00 last night, I battered the highly sophisticated frozen door lock (piece of wood that swivels on a screw) into submission before entering. By 'eck, I thought it was cold outside, it was like a freezer in the tunnel, I think it had something to do with the weather. I proceeded to move the heater onto the central path, I checked it was full of fuel and lit the wick. The flame was huge with black smoke pouring off it, which is normal if the wick isn't in the correct position so I wasn't alarmed by this. I adjusted the wick until the smoke stopped, the warm glow of the flame was beautiful as it gently lit my face and lips which were now turning a decidedly disgusting shade of greyish blue. I placed the chimney over the top with my frozen clawed hand. I rechecked the flame and then legged it back in the house remembering to lock the door with the expensive security device that is fitted to it (lump of wood that twists on a steel mechanical fixing).
I went to bed happy in the knowledge that when I arose my tunnel would have no snow or ice on it.
The morning arrived, 6am and the alarm went off. Off the bedside cabinet that is and straight across the room into the wall opposite, bloomin' thing, still it stopped chiming for a couple of minutes (it is actually designed to do this by the way). The only trouble now was that it was on the other side of a cold bedroom as the heating hadn't come on and one of us was going to have to get out of bed to turn it off. I wonder who that was going to be.
Now that I was up, I headed for the most important thing, the kettle, I passed the heating controls on the way and ignored them, I am afraid the kettle is more important. My attention was then drawn to the living room window and the thought of what would now be a nicely thawed tunnel. I opened the blind with excitement growing. I was faced with absolute disaster, I couldn't see the tunnel, nope I couldn't see the tunnel because the blasted thing was still covered in snow and ice and blending perfectly into its arctic surroundings.
I donned my gardening shoes and headed out to investigate the failure of my ingenious idea still in my pyjamas. From outside I could see the flame was still alight, "Strange" I thought as I began to give the complex locking system of the door (chunk of lumber that pivots on a threaded fixing device) a good clout due to it being frozen again.
I burst in through the door, straight into a thick black smog. It instantly began to grab my face and clothes as if to pull me in the tunnel. I made may way into the dark cloud and finally after two rather small steps came to the heater which was billowing black smoke from its chimney, with the last of my held breath I blew the flame out and retreated as fast as I could before suffocating to the distant (two steps away) door. "Oh my what a mess" I thought, or words to that effect.
I realised what had happened, anyone who has used a paraffin heater will have heard of "Letting the flame settle". This is where you set the height of your wick until the flame stops smoking and then you allow the flame to settle into burning correctly for a few minutes, this makes sure that the wick is set correctly and that smoke isn't produced by the flame. As I was, shall we say a tad cold the night before I had possibly rushed the settling part of the flame and left prior to it being set correctly.
I decided to leave the door open for two reasons, the first being to vent the smoke and the second was I couldn't be bother to re-lock the ultimate in tunnel door security (block of tree xylem and phloem that spins, oh you get my drift).
I headed in the house for a cuppa. I walked through the door and was greeted by Gill, she had got up when I unlocked the tunnel for some reason. I was getting the feeling I may have annoyed her, especially as I hadn't put the heating on and I had left the back door open in my haste to check the tunnel. She then asked me "What the hell have you been up too". I told her about the smoke and the flame and blah, blah, blah. Funnily no matter how much I laughed about it, she wasn't smiling. It was then she said "Have you seen yourself and more importantly have you seen your pyjamas and the floor". I looked down, ah, erm, you see when paraffin smokes it actually produces thick black soot which had attached itself to me, this was now detaching itself from my clothes and making a nice home on the carpet.
Needless to say I didn't get my cuppa, I was sent to the shower like a little kid to get cleaned up before I could have anything to eat or drink. I'm not a kid, it just aint fair.
Oh, as for the tunnel, I have now got to scrub the thing inside as it is also covered in soot and to top it all the heater caused condensation which also attracted the soot, so when that dries all the inside of the polythene will be black as well. I think in future I'll leave my ideas in my head rather than putting them into practice.

Todays upload is of a pylon near Seaham, not the most glamorous of things, but I like the complexity of structures like this.
I took this with my Holga 120 medium format camera which is why the centre is sharp and the surrounding area is soft, it's just one of the quirks of this type of camera.

I hope you like it, thanks for looking and for any comments.

Tags: Film Holga Electricity Black and white Cable Pylon Wire

Voters: taggart, aniamoore, nonur and 21 more

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taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
7 Dec 2012 12:24AM
I very nearly posted on of these today-- they are fascinating to edit!

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nonur Plus
9 17 13 Turkey
7 Dec 2012 12:45AM
I like the centre being sharp and the surrounding parts are not so, as it works well.
EAS 9 1 13 Scotland
7 Dec 2012 8:53AM
My goodness! Amaed you are still able to post an image after all the drama, not to mention, soot!! Good pov and lots of lovely lines and negative shapes in the image.

mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 9:26AM
The perfect crop.
woolybill1 Plus
11 23 72 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 9:59AM
A Holga, eh? Behaves like a medium-format Lensbaby with film-holder and shutter attached GrinGrinGrin
I like the effect; well, I imagine you expected me to.
And the b&w too.
You lead a charmed life, I must say!
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 11:54AM
I'm not a big fan of these sort of images although this works well.

AnnChown Plus
8 207 1 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 4:19PM
I love pylons - and I think this may be the first I've seen on this site. Excellent shot and hilarious story! Smile my mother told me not to laugh at other's misfortunes, but sometimes you just have to....
CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
7 Dec 2012 5:33PM
Oh my, Andy, what a wonderful story Smile I became so engrossed in it that I forgot to look at the image you had uploaded and just pressed the Vote button, so it doesn't really matter whether I like it or not, you've got my vote GrinGrin Carol
7 Dec 2012 9:06PM
I love your stories they do make me smile..Lin
Rende 11 38 4 Netherlands
9 Dec 2012 12:11PM
And I thought you had bought a Lensbaby Wink Beautiful take on pylons Andy.
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
10 Dec 2012 10:00PM
Yes, Holgas and Lensbabies, they do create a similar look. I thought at first it was LB, but after reading about your ordeals, and the coming to the bit about the photo, I learned what it was Smile

I am afraid of these heaters - I used to throw potter in the garage, and during the winter would use one of these, until I almost fell asleep forever, and this with the garage door slightly ajar.

Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
13 Dec 2012 6:51PM
Terrific perspective Andy and a very humorous anecdote to accompany it. I'm glad you can see the funny side of things

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