Follow by Email

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Chrome polish and an underpant cupboard...

Well it doesn't HAVE to be an underpants cupboard but given guest hanging space is only about 18 inches of wardrobe, I finally decided the time had come to make a corner cupboard by the front doors.

Originally that area was supposed to house the tumble drier but it didn't fit what with the tapering of the bow.  Since that was abandoned, we'd made do with a couple of little storage units... they've done the job of storing underwear but when folk are with us, they'd have to be move into the crew quarters - (the undies not guests) .

On  Thursday,  got a call from the timber merchants to say my wood had arrived and whist on the phone with them, I asked if they'd pre-cut it into 4x2ft pieces for me... it's SO much easier to work with lumps of that size in a small space than 8x4 sheets.

Andy had made requests for a triangular shaped unit but given I sold my chop-saw when the bungalow rented out, that would have been a faff to get the angle right on.  I know I could have left gaps and then used edging strip to finish off but I wanted something "simple" (like me)...

The end result is not too bad, although I did mess up the first door when cutting the whole in it for the handle - having tidying up (hmmf) I couldn't find my 51 mm hole saw so I used the next size up - knowing it would be close but it turned out to be too big.  I ditched the first attempt and made another one.

It needs a bit of Morrels applying but it'll do the job nicely.

Before I began this however, whilst searching aimlessly  trying to locate aforementioned hole-saw, I found a tube of Chrome polish Andy bought when we FIRST got the boat - unopened of course and he tried it out...  

The wine helped apparently...  JUST all the others to do AND the mushrooms on the roof  - If I've not painted them grey first that is.

That said, touching up paintwork/blacking is on hold again as this morning we awoke to another 4 inch of fresh snow.  It's melted a bit now but the temperature is dropping once more so I suspect we'll be stuck with it for a few days.

If by any chance it is dry enough tomorrow, I'm going to use the remaining wood to have another go at the TV/computer cabinet in the saloon - I've never liked it since I cobbled it together...  IF it's wet, I'll carry on with little jobs like fitting pull handles to front and back doors and maybe swap those recently made shelves out in the galley.

Until next time...

Friday, 16 March 2018

Overdue Chimney Sweeping and more goodbyes...

I know, I know...  I'm not being as regular here as I used to be - it's just that we're busier than I've gotten used to of late and doing jobs seems to take longer than it used to... admittedly because I end up nattering to dog walkers/boaters/joggers/crt people and generally anyone passing comment on whatever I'm doing.

At one stage I might have been a bit rude and kept on with the job in hand - these days, I stop and enjoy the human (or canine) interaction... after all, in theory   I'm "time rich" now - well certainly compared to how my life USED to be.

So then - JOB wise... now that the weather and temperature is improving (although looking out of the porthole this morning  mother nature seems to have changed her mind re. spring), I've touched up the paint that the masking tape Andy used to attach the Christmas lights removed...  apparently the surface had been badly prepared - (everyone's an expert)... NOTHING to do with leaving masking tape on for 2 weeks!

I only took the one photo of this but imagine it being repeated about 13 times down each side of the boat.

It's all done now.

WHILST I had the paint out, I thought I'd touch up various scrapes and scratches below the gunwales.  I dug out my little pot of rust-killer and applied it to various places and once it'd done whatever it's supposed to do to kill it, (turns black) I tidied it up accordingly.  It's looking much neater again now.

By this time, I was on a roll and the sun was sill shining so I dug out the tin of blacking, and tidied up the rubbing strake on the drivers side  to starboard too.

Once finished, I turned the boat around, topped up with water and went back to our mooring to begin the other side - alas thats when I received a message to remind me friends had arrived in the pub for a penultimate wine-Wednesday....well, it'd have been rude not to join them.

Having been forced to have a couple of wines, Sheree (I really can't spell that name) said it would be the last time we see her for ages - She's off to Australia for a jolly, then when she returns, we'll be off on our Liverpool trip ... 
I do believe I was tricked into kissing her.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Still, she appeared to enjoy it as you can see from her facial expression ;-)

It wasn't a late night and I was back on the boat by 7pm and made a little shelf to put some Brandy glasses we'd had given on.  It's only a prototype as I found one ready made in Ikea the other day which is more suitable with a bigger fiddle rail on.

I'll get around to changing it eventually soon.  BEFORE then however, I decided it was time to give the chimney another sweeping... I forget how long it'd been since I did it but as the fire had pretty much been lit since about September, I suspected it was long overdue - in reality that turned out to be an understatement...

Using my "new brush" (last time I borrowed Mick's) I set to and had the good foresight to protect the roof before doing it...

It's no wonder every-time we chucked some coal on we got a load of smoke in the cabin - just over an inch of usable flue.  It's drawing MUCH better now and no more blow back.  Simple really - don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier... DOH!

Today I was HOPING to finish off touching up the passenger side  port side rubbing strake and blacking but the weather is not on my side...  SO given that I've got the wood now to make the cupboard by the front doors, I'm going to have a go at constructing that - nothing fancy just a simple unit with a couple of shelves in for guests to store underwear/clothing in addition to the 18 inch wardrobe we've kept empty for their use ... we're not putting locks on the other one but will just mention to them that its for our use ... folk will respect that I'm sure and use the allotted space.

I also need to assemble some storage boxes to tidy up the tools that are currently just flung in the bottom of the other wardrobe AND construct a wooden box to sit over the water pump to limit the likelihood if it being damaged by over zealous tidying up!

Until next time...


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Dual purpose Steps and a Bon Voyage...

It's been a busy week - I've been ticking off little jobs here and there...  On the easy list was using the 'sticky stuff remover' we've had lurking under the sink for eons, to clean off the masking tape residue left over from the Christmas lights... I thought I'd got it all off but when I looked again, there are still quite a few bits remaining - hmmf!

Oh well,  there's plenty left so I'll have another go when it stops raining...  writing of weather, we had a sudden return of the snow on Thursday which caused chaos in town - cars were abandoned all over during the morning rush hour...  luckily for us, we didn't need to go anywhere until about 11am, by which time it'd had all melted.

I finally also got around to attaching those 4 folding steps (to use as foot perches when we're sitting at the back of the boat. 

For once I actually had the good sense to hold a dustpan under the drill to stop the swarf going everywhere... alas, once I'd finished drilling, I stood on it and flipped the swarf all over - hmmf again!

They're just the right height to perch your feet on when chugging around - they ALSO double as a raised floor/engine bay roof that will allow me to do servicing in the engine hole when it's raining, without getting drenched.

The cats have now gone off to be re- homed - I won't lie, it was a bit of a wrench... especially as the woman that was SUPPOSED to have them changed her mind and left a note on her door to that effect when we arrived with the cats and their belongings.   Having psyched ourselves up to pass them over to new owners AND with George still not happy, we made the even more difficult decision to let the RSPCA find them a new home... initially we thought of using one of the small local cat re-homing centres but on thinking it through, decided they'd have a bigger audience by being with the RSPCA.  

On taking them to the new premises on the outskirts of Leeds, we were pleasantly surprised at just how nice the cats home is... CERTAINLY much nicer than any of the local catteries they are used to being sent to when we go away.   Sox was straight out of her carrier and made herself at home in no time but George was his usual reluctant self.  The good thing is that they are quite close to the front, so the first person to see Sox and give her a cuddle will have them - they've promised to home them together and everyone person we saw there, seemed genuinely passionate about cats and their care.  We've done the right thing we're sure but it does feel weird without them.  Just look at George though - any more fur off and he'd freeze!

A sad end to the week but it's for the best.

LAST NIGHT, we were invited for drinks on a large boat further up the cut to say goodbye to some recently made friends who are leaving and heading off to a new mooring.  We drowned our sorrows well and truly and as a result, today have  not been very productive.  I think it was about 3.30 when we got back on-board Ellis.  

You can tell when it's time to leave though when one of the hosts goes to sleep.

It was an enjoyable sociable evening and  nice to spend time with other boaters... and their dogs. I'm coughing badly today though as being the non-smoking minority, did mean exposure to rather a lot of smoke... it was only for one night but it does remind you how smoky pubs and night-clubs USED to be...

They've gone now and here they are sailing off to pastures new... presumably feeling as rough as we do!

Once they're settled (and we have free time) we'll take Ellis up to York to visit them...

Until next time...

Sunday, 4 March 2018

It's only weather... but a good excuse not to do jobs and rude poetry!

Ok - since I last moaned here blogged, the country has been gripped by snow.- It's called Winter!  I remember (as a child ahem)   - (and it wasn't THAT long ago) my folks driving us down country back lanes in a mini, through single track roads - cut through 7ft high drifts either side to visit my gran.... a few inches these days and everything grinds to a halt.

Now all right - perhaps back then, local councils allocated larger amounts of their budgets to highways maintenance/clearance etc.  Why? - perhaps cause back then they didn't have to spend SO much of their budgets on social care issues and by saying social care issues, I mean everything from home-helps to care in the community and everything in between.  Also, "back then" in general, folk didn't expect the state to look after them quite so much as they do now.  Why? - because society itself did...  people DID look after their neighbours... people did "ask an old person's advice" rather than insisting on seeing a doctor because "Chesney has a cold or a tummy ache"... people DIDN'T phone an ambulance when their child was having an asthma attack just because the parents had been drinking - instead, they might phone a family member or a taxi to take them to hospital.

I'm moaning I know -... the point is that there was more money available "in the overall pot" because PEOPLE accepted some (not all) responsibility for THEMSELVES.

This has been evidenced on the the news a fair bit by "good souls" in 4 x4's ferrying medical staff in to work at hospitals and the like... and WHY not? - surely that IS the thing to  do.  The kind of thing a boater would do - such as checking our neighbours have enough coal /water and food.... (ok so by that I probably mean checking they have beer,wine and gin in stock) and doing our bit of gritting to keep access clear in case someone (or us) needs an ambulance or whatever.

I'm sure you know what I'm harping in  about ... it should  be the norm - but alas, it isn't.


Due to the weather, I've been doing on-line jobs, inside jobs (not cleaning - that can wait a while longer until it warms up so that we don't have to have the fire on 24/7) and playing in the snow.

I ordered some folding steps (don't know what their nautical name is) to fit out the back  - NOT to use as steps, but to use as a foot perch when we're chugging along sitting down.

(I also ordered a shiny new windlass)

The original plan was to tap a thread in and us M5 countersunk bolts to hold them on - having thought about this *read discovered my m5 tap is knackered* plan B is use the same bolts but with a nylock nut on the back.  

Of course I WAS going to do it this morning but it's raining (well at least the snow will go faster) so that can wait until it drys up.  Instead, I've finally gotten around to start finishing off another little job I've been ignoring a while - filling in the missing bits of oak flooring in behind cupboard doors.... it's only the odd 2 inch bit here and there and now I need to get an edging strip to finish it off... well I say need to get one... what I mean is find the ones I've already bought that have vanished  are safely stored somewhere on board.!

In other news, it looks like the cats have  a new home lined up and will be moving, this week.  Whilst it will be sad to say goodbye to them, we know it's in their best interests. George's belly is nearly totally bald now as he's still stressed and over grooming. We could have kept Sox as she's adapted better than him but as they're brother and sister, we'd been holding out for a new forever home for them together.  

We've also missed the last 2 "wine Wednesdays"... however we did make up for it with a "beer, Wine and Gin Thursday"... 

on the way back to the boat, "someone" insisted on making a snow angel - the amount of dogs I see weeing here, NOT being enough to stop him.  Suffice to say, every item of clothing has since been through the wash!

Once back to the boat, Sox was introduced to snow...  she wasn't impressed and ran off on to Claire's boat behind in a bid to avoid the white stuff.

In TOTALLY non- boaty related news, my folks finally gave in this (last week) and had a stair-lift fitted...  I'm SO relieved. 

It's hard enough for my mum falling over regularly  on the flat but  at least the danger of a tumble down the stairs killing her, has been removed.  I noticed when i called in to visit the other day and take some early mothers day flowers (she gets a glut so taking some early means a longer period of enjoyment), a duster on the floor ... I think the plan being that if she takes a tumble and has a while to wait until my dad or niece returns, she can at least do a bit of house-work whilst she's down there.... good planning or what?

Until next time...

Oh hang on wait I forgot the rude poetry.

IF you are offended by adult themes then don't bother reading this next bit...I didn't write it but it did make me laugh out loud.

The missus bought a Paperback,

down Shepton Mallet way,

I had a look inside her bag;

T'was "Fifty Shades of Grey".

Well I just left her to it,

And at ten I went to bed.

An hour later she appeared;

The sight filled me with dread...

In her left hand, she held a rope;

And in her right hand a whip!

She threw them down upon the floor,

And then began to strip.

Well fifty years or so ago;

I might have had a peek;

But Mabel hasn't weathered well;

She's eighty four next week!!

Watching Mabel bump and grind;

Could not have been much grimmer.

And things then went from bad to worse;

She toppled off her Zimmer!

She struggled back upon her feet;

A couple minutes later;

She put her teeth back in and said

I am a dominater !!

Now if you knew our Mabel,

You'd see just why I spluttered,

I'd spent two months in traction

For the last complaint I'd uttered.

She stood there nude and naked

Bent forward just a bit

I went to hold her, sensual like

and stood on her left tit!

Mabel screamed, her teeth shot out;

My god what had I done!?

She moaned and groaned then shouted out:

"Step on the other one"!!

Well readers, I can't tell no more;

About what occurred that day.

Suffice to say my jet black hair,

Turned fifty shades of grey.

I thank you!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Beast from the East...

WHY do we have to name "weather" these days? - IT's winter... it's snowing... It's FUN!

A lot of people today will have stayed at home to play in the snow... that's fair enough I suppose but there are ALSO a lot of folk who HAVE to go to work (luckily I no longer fall into that category) - That said, Andy had to go in at noon so this morning, once I'd put another 2 cruises for 2019 on-line  ( we donned our wellies and went for a walk up the road to the slope that catches us all out. 

Armed with Snow scoop and a bag of grit, we made it less likely catapult folk into the canal later in the day *think back to that chap that I towed off the slope a few weeks back*...

and despite it snowing quite a few times more during the day, I've just checked and it's still clear **polishes halo**.

It'd had been a cold night - this morning, before I stoked the fire back up, it was still showing minus 3.6 degrees c outside but the boat was still toastie from last nights fire... I'm getting quite good at this fire lark now... 

When Andy had gone off to work, I ran a load of washing through and the tank went boom, indicating it wouldn't be long before we'd need to top up.  Looking at the temperatures forecast for the next few days - AND the fact the flood gates have been closed, it's likely the canal will freeze soon so I figured it was best to get it done today.  It was nice chugging in the snow but I was briefly thwarted when I got to the tap   - it being frozen solid... same went for the hose pipe.  SO 5 litres of water from the calorifier later the tap was flowing again and I took the opportunity to "milton Fluid" the hosepipe whilst it defrosted in the washing up bowl.

Once back on the mooring, I had a fiddle with Andy's new camera... it's quite good but when using the 63 x optical zoom lens, I found it REALLY hard to see what I was taking photos of...

Having seen a glimpse of our little GINGER mouse, I thought I'd focus on where he'd been scurrying around and I screamed like a girl  got the shock of my life when THIS fella came along instead

I watched him for a while and noticed him going back and forth under Andy's old polo... later, when I went to fill up the screen wash, I spotted a "grain store" he'd been making (the rat, NOT Andy) near the battery.  hmmf... I'll have to get put some poison in there (can't put it near the bird food) and hope he goes back for his tea!

Until next time...

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Long overdue Jobs and fliers...

So then,  NOW that the count down has began, I'm HAVING to get on with some jobs that have been on the back burner...

Until the other day, we've managed just with bolts on the front door - given it's straight into the bedroom, we've never used it as an entrance/exit point...

Once we've got guests on board, they may wish to come and go as they please (alone) and once we've retired into the crew quarters, that would be difficult.

SO,  a quick nip to B&Q and a night latch later, I thought I'd make a start.

In typical ginger style enthusiasm, I got carried away without THINKING it through fully....  

All was well until this point...  when I fitted the latch thingy, only to discover that the actual locky thing(you know- the bit that's on a spring and engages with the rebate bit) DID'NT actually DO anything to keep the doors locked - i.e., it needed to be the OTHER way around.

Undeterred, I took it apart  - every intention of reversing the mechanism   AS you might guess, a "spring" thing flew up in the air and was never seen again.

Another trip to B & Q to buy a replacement - only to find they were out of stock.  SO, I figured a Yale is a Yale  and AS the pack says "standard" I (wrongly) presumed it would be OK.

Silly me.  no - it needed a differently positioned hole to take into account a different sized plate.  Plan c was Take apart the new lock (VERY VERY gingerly carefully) and use the spring from that one as a replacement for the original one...  voilĂ ... it worked and we now have a working lock.  

It's not ideal as you have to open both doors to exit / enter but it IS secure.  When time (and funds allow) I'll replace it with a top and bottom closing one like the one on a friends boat which seems much better.

NEXT on my list of jobs, was a little shelf to put tea/coffee on... given the worktop is not very big, having them out of the way will make meal preparations a bit easier.

I've put a little fiddle rail on it to (hopefully) prevent things slipping off in the event of rough seas. 

In other news, whilst we really DON'T want to advertise as such, we've had a small run of fliers produced and have asked friends to put them up in their work-places.

It's an A5 double-sided thing.  

We also intend to post a few through selected folk's letterboxes... With a bit of luck, they'll generate some interest for our shorter trips to Leeds and back in the summer...  That's a job for Sunday morning. 

Until next time...