A warm, friendly Heather welcome

We are delighted to share Heather, an historic boat, artistic refuge and home for over a century, laying on the ancient Broads Waterways of Norfolk.

It is our aim to preserve the distinctive character of Heather, enabling future generations to enjoy her charms. We welcome you to explore the houseboat and bountiful riverside beyond...

Andrew, Timothy and Christopher

13 May 2014

Keeping the home fires burning

A smart and robust stove has been fitted in the saloon, just in time for summer. It was made in Devonshire by Arada and burns at around 4 kilowatts. The black japanned flue and the collar or flange, made of alloy and silicon, was procured from a supplier on the internet. A simple cowl top was fabricated by Broadland Products of Hoveton. Royalls' team then fixed a special mesh around this to form a 'spark arrester' ~ a safety precaution. When not in use, or whilst going through some of the notoriously low Broadland bridges, the chimney on top of the house roof will usually be removed.

For too long, the saloon has been without a proper stove, making the space less welcoming during chillier periods. Although, an oil filled radiator made a small impact during winter. For several years, an oil burning heater, installed by Marine Engineer, Brian Greenwood, produced mixed results. Designed for military camp use, a sectional flue could be stowed inside the cage of the heater and then into a crate for transportation. Post houseboat conversion, a porcelain glazed Courtier multi fuel stove was used from at least the 1940's. Alas, it has been almost impossible to find an example in good working order.

The choice of heating on board can be problematic. We had to find something that produces a dry heat, instead of condensation. Gas and electricity were deemed impractical. A decision had to be made between either oil or solid fuel, choosing one from a bewildering array of stoves on the market.

Heather follows in the wake of Arthur Ransome's literary works. Coot Club, published 1934, documents houseboats moored between the railway and road bridges in Hoveton and Wroxham. Smoke was coming from the chimneys where the occupants were cooking midday meals. The same scene is still recognisable to this day. He describes in greater detail life aboard FRAM, the fabled houseboat of Lakeland in Winter Holiday, when the stove was lit, the cabin began to feel like a greenhouse.


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King's Head Staithe, Hoveton, pictured from Wroxham public Parish Staithe