Firewood win – trailer fail

April 20th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon I went across town to get some firewood. I haven’t actually lit the fire all that recently because the weather’s been mild, but I probably should do as the fire helps to reduce the humidity inside the boat. Anyway, I biked off to the south side of town where a lady from church had a job lot of logs to get rid of. When I arrived, it turned out that these were old fruit trees that had sat nicely under a tarpaulain for three years, so were beautifully dry and seasoned. I’d brought my long-handled axe (a birthday present, thanks Mum & Dad!) and a splitting wedge and mallet, and was pleased to discover that the wedge made short work of breaking up the logs and then it was easy to cut them into convenient chunks with the axe. It’s also extremely satisfying!

I quickly filled the trailer and biked back to the boat, unloaded and went back for another load. On my return trip, it all started to go wrong on the Carter Cycle Bridge – a long bridge that crosses the north end of Cambridge station. The long-suffering bolt that holds the towing bar to the main frame had finally sheared, and the towbar was now only held on by a rather feeble jubilee clip I’d put on temporarily where a weld had failed after buying all the growbags! Anyway, as I contended with this situation, there came the sound of an engine and some shouting. A man on a motorbike came up the bridge with two other guys on pedal bikes hanging onto each side of him. Fortunately they managed to avoid me, but as they disappeared over the bridge, I managed to take the biker’s number.
Having jury-rigged the trailer together again with various elastic straps, I made my way slowly and carefully back across town until the trailer fell apart on the edge of Midsummer Common, scattering firewood. Three lads helped me get it together again, and eventually I dragged it back to the boat. It’ll need serious welding before it goes out again.

Once I’d tidied up, I rang Cambridgeshire police. They said that without two witnesses they couldn’t investigate – which was somewhat irritating, because another lady who’d spoken to me on the bridge had seemed relieved when I told her I’d call the police, because then she wouldn’t have to. Oh well. The bridge appears to have CCTV, but a call to Cambridge council this morning reveals that the bridge CCTV is operated by someone else, but conveniently the Council had a mobile camera looking over the southern approach to the bridge, so hopefully the offenders will be on camera… we shall see.

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