More tea, gardener?
Thursday, 12 Apr 12 Rainy 13°C / 55°F
I think I may be well on the way to resolving the long-standing annoyance of trying to make tea on an allotment site. Previously, the choices were of a backpacking stove in my shed (fast, but expensive and runs out of fuel often) or wandering down to the Community Hut, to use a caravanning stove slow enough that it imposes a 15-minute break waiting for two cups of water to boil.
Since I first got the allotment I’ve had ideas of putting in a Calor gas bottle and a dedicated boiling ring, but previously I’ve been put off by the prices. With a decent burner, regulator, hose and a bottle of gas, there’d be no change out of £100. Until, that is, a friend reclaimed a gas bottle that had been dumped by some very messy travellers, saving £30 on a new cylinder hire agreement, and I found a very decent Bullfinch industrial boiling ring on eBay for a third of what I might otherwise have paid for a burner. It turned up this morning, looking perfectly functional, if a bit worn and tired, and I was delighted to find that it came with a high-spec variable regulator, much better than I expected – so I just got about £80 worth of industrial-grade kit for £21. Not bad. A quick trip to the local camping store yielded a 6kg cylinder of Calor propane for £21 and a gas spanner for another £5, so the all-in cost is just short of £50 for boiling ring, hose, regulator and a fresh bottle of gas.
Suffice it to say that I am not disappointed; this is a high-pressure boiling ring operating at 1 bar, which gives the roaring flame of a backpacker’s stove on a larger and more stable scale. Without having measured the boil times, it competes with the largest burner on my stove at home and knocks most camping or caravanning stoves into a cocked hat. This is what I wanted. :-) My only minor beef with it is that the control valve is an all or nothing affair; fine for boiling water at full tilt but impossible to set it to a low simmer without turning it off. This probably indicates that the needle valve is buggered (to use the technical expression), but thankfully the boiling ring is of a good old-fashioned design and the valve in question is a replaceable £5 part.
Of course, one thing leads to another, and now I’m looking at stove-top kettles, stove paint, and heaven knows what else. It’ll all be worth it when hot drinks at the plot are the norm…
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