Thursday, 25 May 2017

last minute flury of activity...

You may have spotted this mornings quick shot of my latest job - putting the name on.

Rog very graciously passed admiration of my artistic talents...  tempted as I am to keep quiet and let folk believe I can sign write - I can't... I CAN order vinyl lettering over the internet and apply it quite well though lol.

It's temporary...  I was sick of looking at a blank box and having received an astronomical quote to have it done properly,  I thought I'd take a punt and see how it looks.

I think it's ok.

This week, I've mustered all my remaining energy in an attempt to have the boat as finished as it can be before our first cruise.

The seats whilst higher (as planned) are quite hard on the old btm and the sides hard on your back.  SO, I set to and made a few padded seats and back supports using left over bits of wood, foam and leatherette from work.

I've made one for each side along with another back pad for either side rear if you follow.

It DOES make such a difference.

Along with the pads, today I made some more steps for the front cabin - the current ones having been the cut down version of the prototype I made before we got the boat.

Luckily, we had a couple of bits of the chunky wood I used on the rear steps left over so they match.  At the moment, I don't plan to box them in for storage but I've left a gap behind the bottom step to allow for a chuck of wood to slot in if I change my mind.

Once they've had a couple of coats of Morrels they'll look close enough in colour to the ash.... I hope!

As well as steps, tonight I began making a tv cabinet to house the TV ... (obviously) - the plan is to have a shelf under it to fit in the media pc as a while back I ripped our dvd collection and cd collection to store on Hdd....

 I didn't have enough wood to complete it  so tomorrow I'll dig around at work and prepare some for the weekend... it'd be nice to get it done and the wires hidden away.

We'll have had the boat 6 months this coming Sunday.

Until next time...


Just  quick teaser before I head out to work...

I was busy last night... and boy what a faff.

until next time...

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Missing Underpants...

It may seem trivial to you - but "sometime today" between 9.30 am and 4pm WHILST at least one of us was on the boat 'near' the whirly gig, some thieving scum towpath walker with no scruples, has stolen - yes, I repeat STOLEN a pair of my Calvin's off the washing line.  It's not even like they were a good pair but they WERE a comfy one if you follow...  grrr...

It's  my own fault of course for being uber organised and having 2 loads of washing on the line next to a busy foot path...*note to self - peg out washing on an afternoon when I get home from work rather than the busiest day of the week.

I wonder if I should put up posters offering a  reward?

Hey ho.

So - AS expected, we didn't get ALL the jobs planned for the weekend done ... we did make a good fist of them though.  BEFORE that however, I can report back on 2 wonderful nights sleep on the new mattresses.  Thin they me be, but boy are they supportive and SO much better than the memory foam they've replaced - which incidentally, Andy has already sold on that Spock car boot app he's become obsessed with... *ponders whether he's SOLD my freshly laundered undies*.... ... ...

Saturdays weather was ok ish to start with with rain forecast around lunch time... with that in mind I decided to take a chance and get some paint on.  I also removed the masking tape to reveal the coach-lines  and this time NO paint came off with it - although there are a couple of areas where the grey had leaked under it...  nothing too major so they should easily touch in with some white.

Once done, I nipped down to the water point to fill up and then turn so we're facing towards the prevailing winds...  the boat rocks less that way AND we can nosey who's walking the towpath (looking out for would-be undie stealer's) from our chairs as we watch TV.

I MUST get a better camera/phone as I took the next 2 photos from a mere 50 ft away but by the looks of them, it may as well have been 500 ft away...

Only the front doors and back to do now and with luck if the weather is OK tomorrow night, I'll get one of them done.  Whichever one is left will have to wait until Wednesday as on Tuesday, the tenant for the bungalow is coming to sort out contracts etc.  AS Andy predicted, given the boat is nearly done, we've decided to move on board THIS summer and rent out the house earlier than planned - that way we can save a bit more in preparation for our adventure proper.

Whilst the paint was drying (before the heavens opened), I finished off the flooring under the dinette tables and also continued with the simple edging.  

It's turned out quite well.  Nothing fancy, just simple honest edging to cover the gap, whilst allowing the floor to move.

I've come up with a cunning plan for around the quarter circle of the shower...  I'm going to buy some rope, soak it in varnish and then "stick" it around the edge to tidy it up.  I hope it works ok.

Oh I forgot to mention - LAST weekend, Denise and Barry (our old next door neighbours and friends) very kindly came for a flying visit to the boat to bring the completed cushions .  Denise pain-painstakingly unpicked my terrible attempt and re-used the original fabric ... MAKING a really lovely job of them.  We're SO pleased and ever so grateful to her for her hard work... and having tried I KNOW it will have been hard work.

Until next time..

Friday, 19 May 2017

Call off the Search... she's back.

You can relax now... Mrs Duck has returned thank goodness - I know you'll have been worried about her.

I was hoping she'd turn up with a load of little ones.


oh well  - and if you're wondering HOW I know it is 'her' - she's got a dab of grey paint on her beak where she got a bit TOO cocky when I was painting the other week!

So - here we are... Friday again.   To be honest, I've not really done much at all this week on the boat... we've had a couple of nights on board (going to work is easier from the boat than the bungalow as with the new road opened, I can cut out the centre of Wakefield completely) but as the weather has been mostly wet, I've not been able to get on with any more painting...  THAT said, work has been full on with us having to repair 160 steps on the swing chair ride we delivered last year which had de-laminated... THAT's the problem with everything being a rush job... things just don't get enough coats of paint in the right places - add to that, getting any old Tom,Dick or Harry to 'help out' the quality control goes out of the window.

I did manage to fit a couple of edging sstrips to the back cabin and buy a new door mat - which we're quite pleased with - HOW sad are we getting excited about a doormat?  -

I'm about to head up to the boat now for the weekend and take the new bespoke mattresses with me - I've been waiting for a (hopeful) gap in the rain before I strap them to the roof of the car and deliver them 'Clampet style' .  They do look thin for the money but appear to be well made -

I'll report back tomorrow on how it was to sleep on .

JOB wise - ideally if the sun is out tomorrow (or at least if it's not p'ing down) I want to turn the boat and get the other side into it's final top coat - the sooner the better really as that masking tape for the coach line has been on WAY too long now.  IF it's not dry, then once I've made a couple of shelves for the wardrobes and completed the edging for the floor, we plan to remove all the tools/bits and bobs from the boat and take them home.  THEN the plan is to give the boat a thorough clean/dust before beginning to bring things which will live permanently on-board.  It's only a couple of weeks until we head off to Skipton on our inaugural proper voyage.  We're quite excited (and a little nervous) about it.   
It'll be nice if we can say the boat is "finished" for the trip...   in as much as a boat can EVER be finished.  It'll be 6 months old on the 28th of this month and without blowing my own trumpet, I am quietly pleased with how things have gone and whilst it's not perfect in any  many areas, we will have beaten our target of 12 months  with 6 months to spare.

Until next time...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Lonely Duck...

This fella (the one who dances on the boat roof wearing clogs most mornings from around 4.30 am onwards) seems to have lost his lady friend...  for the last couple of months  they've been coming for sunflower seeds and if we ignore them 'waterside' they hop out and stand on the tow-path peering through the portholes at us in a bid to get our attention...

I do hope she's alight ... just sitting on a clutch of eggs somewhere rather than related to the pile of feathers which appeared the other morning under the bird feeder... to be fair, they DID look more like pigeon feathers than ducks so there is hope.

ANYWAY - the weekend visit to the boat was quite varied - both 'job wise' and socially.  On Friday night when I left work, I came straight here (I'm sitting in front of the fire now whilst it's raining outside) from work and managed to get the coach line masked up  starboard side and 1 coat of the light grey on.  The plan HAD been to get up early on Saturday morning and get a second coat on before heading to see the Hand consultant (I'm sure there is a more technical term than that)
My appointment was 9.40 but there was no messing about ... perhaps because I paid to see him the other week he thought I was paying again this time lol  No matter - he's agreed to operate on both my hands.. starting with my left first.  I tried to press him to do both at once but he really wasn't keen - apparently for the first couple of weeks you really can't do much with them.  The good news being that as it's done in a private clinic, HE could book in the surgery date and fill in the paper work there and then - long story short, I get my left one done 29th June and around 6 weeks later, my right one (subject to the left being ok) .  He said as it's done under a local, I can watch if I like... I think I will.

When I got back to the boat (around 10) Mick collared me as I climbed out of the car to ask me to look at something...  apparently he'd found an otter in his welly.  Upon closer inspection, it appeared to me to be a ferret.

Lovely little fella - presumably someone's pet that was lost/escaped... he had no intention of waking up and when prodded opened 1 eye and went back to sleep.

Mick got his daughter to take it to the rspca to see if it might be chipped - it wasn't of course so it currently on HER boat whilst they work out what to do with it.

I'm sure our cats would enjoy playing with it!

After this excitement was over I got another coat of the dark grey on to the starboard side and then went inside to continue 'flooring'.

I must say, that glue less solid wood goes together really well - much easier than the awful (cheap) laminate we used throughout the bungalow.  I HAD planned to make a wine cellar at the bottom of the steps in the back cabin but given time is now short (pending operation etc) I'll come back to that in the future (perhaps).    BEFORE I floored over the back cabin, we needed to remove a bit more ballast so cut another hole and took out another 5 blocks... THIS time, I made  asked Andy to help with the heavy lifting...

Having got the lounge done, it was time to watch Eurovision on the telly box....  THAT would have been fine were it not for the amplifier blowing up just before Dr Who started which necessated a mad rush into Homebase to buy another (identical one so as not to have to faff wtih the wiring).  If I were braver, I'd take back the broken one but I had bastardised the wiring to use the boat's 12v rather than the 230ac -12dc transformer supplied... as such, I think it probably didn't like the higher voltage whilst charging...   I bought a spare for next time  in case it happens again!

In days gone by we used to have a Eurovision party...  crisps, dips, chocolate and fizzy sweets on the boat is just as much fun!

On Sunday, we had made a team effort and finished the rest of the boat - barring the floor under the dinette tables... I'll do that one night this week.

All I need to sort out now is some 'strips' to cover over the expansion gaps and the job's a good un.

Until next time...

Friday, 12 May 2017

Oak flooring and bespoke mattress..

Bear with me - I'm having IT troubles at the moment in that my laptop keeps forgetting it has a wifi card... and no end of disabling/removing and reinstalling has done the trick - even a wipe and full reinstall hasn't capped it... what it has done though of course ir remove all the programs I've in stalled over the years and lost my favourites - SO MUCH for my back ups... grrr..

NOT to worry - any photos and important stuff is in the cloud so will re-sync itself in time.

WORK wise it's been a tiring week (again) but despite this, I've still made some progress on the boat.

AS you may recall, Wickes had that 15mm solid oak flooring on offer - SO I did a click and collect and bought 16 square metres... which should/might be enough to do the full boat with.

Having discussed it with a few other boaters, I decided to do my own thing and lay it left to right rather than front to back... no particular reason other than I prefer the look of it.

It's gone down quite easily and being glues and clickless is nice to work with... it DOES however, give me splinters easily when cutting it so my finger ends are rather sore now.
All being well, I'll get the lounge done over the weekend - although I do still need to get the starboard side into top coat having masked off the coach lines the other night before it rained.... the painting being weather dependant of course.
You'll recall (if you remember this drivvle) I'd lowered the height of the 'angry bed' so I could fit in more comfortably... which has worked well - well enough to order the proper sprung mattresses .  I've sold my soul to the devil to pay for them and they are expected to arrive next Friday.  They're coming from the Edwardian bedding company at Mexbrorough so I'll report back on the result in due course.
BEFORE I can get back to the flooring/painting/talking rubbish with dog-walkers I've got an appointment in the morning to attend with the hand surgeon who will hopefully be able to confirm the carpal tunnel operations - my plan is to encourage him to do both at once so I've only got one period of recovery rather than 2... oh I know it'll be difficult to manage for a while - but I'd rather be properly feeble for 6 weeks once than moderately feeble for 12 weeks.  We'll see what he says in the morning.  At least this time, I'm not having to pay as it's the same bloke I saw privately but this time via the gp referral system... that is if their computers are playing ball tomorrow.
Who knows, if he's kicking his heels when I get there I might be able to talk him into painting with me for a few hours :-)
IN other news, Andy has discovered that Spock (can't spell it) car boot selling app for his phone and is currently selling everything in the house - Every time I get in from work 'something else' has gone - for buttons of course but at least we don't have to endure a month of Sunday mornings standing in a dusty carpark at 4.30am, whilst people try and climb into our boot!
Until next time...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Mutiny...and 250 hour oil change.

Does it count as mutiny when a self appointed ships' captain goes against the crew's wishes?

You may remember that having "given in" many moons ago about building a cross bed, I did just that...   the acceptance being that by having a cross bed, no one ends up pushed up against the hull's wall.

The reason it's called a cross bed has buggar all to go with it's direction oh no.... it's called a  cross bed because if you are taller than 5ft 10  it's impossible to sleep in without banging your head or getting your feet wedged under the gunwhale (NOT the same one obviously) and the gradual lack of sleep/disturbed nights makes you really grumpy and cross... well it has done in my case.

Now ok, it might have been a mistake on my part building it higher than required with a view to getting the largest  possible poo tank under it,  Whatever 'cause' the problem needed addressing as whilst I could sleep diagonally, that does rather depend on the cooperation of ones partner NOT trying to do the same.

ANYWAY - Having decided on Friday night that enough was enough, when I arrived at the boat I began frantically dismantling the bed with a view to lowering it as much as possible.

I'd already worked out that the problem was going to be the rinse-out hose connected - it being vertical and requiring a gradual bend in it ( thus taking up the spare room).

Having called Leesan the day before explaining my dilemma they very kindly offered to send me an elbow - free of charge!  Good show.  Given their candour, I used the opportunity to order a spare charcoal filter for when the time comes - so a 'free bend' ended up costing 50 quid but it WILL get used.

It arrived on Friday morning.

When I put the bed frame together, obviously the tank wasn't in situ.  This meant a lot of faffing around with a stubby in order to undo the sunken screws.

The next bit was going to be unpleasant - as I'm sure you'll agree when you realise the tank was half full (half empty?) - Having thought about it, I decided to head off to the pump out station to empty and rinse it before "undoing" the fittings... a bit of a waste of a pump out card but given the circumstances, it's not exactly a luxury.  LUCK however was on my side a when I got there, the previous users must have put it on pause and forgotten... ergo, a free pump-out.  

Annoyingly, with the bed carcass removed, even when 'empty' I could see slurry (that's a nicer name that I first typed) still in the tank... we're going to have to alter the ballast a bit more or get a couple of people to stand on the starboard side whilst the pump-out is in progress!

I held my nose for the next bit - 

and it was all done. 

I then cut off 4.5 inch off the base of the bed and re-assembled it.  I can finally now fit and sleep well in the bed.

I other news - the painting continues and I removed the masking tape off the coach-line whilst at the water point yesterday was a good idea but poorly executed I'm afraid as either I put the tape on too soon or took it off too late... in patches it's removed a layer or paint which will mean a fair old bit of touching up .

On the bright side though, from a distance of 6 ft or more, it looks ok!

My final job for the weekend was the 250 hour oil/filter change...  I'd already planned ahead and bought 25 litres of the Morris Golden film for just short of 100 quid the other week.  It came in a large container rather then 5x5 as I'd assumed... not to worry - I finally found a use for my jiggle syphon and whilst it WAS slow, it wasn't messy.

NEXT job, laying the flooring...  I noticed Wickes have  a 15% May discount offer on ... Here's the stuff we've got in mind.
It's thinner planks than normal so it should be easier to fit... famous last words!

Until Next time...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A long weekend and some role reversal.

Good evening,

I'd meant to post the other night but as I mentioned, someone had used up my monthly bandwidth on my works phone... I DO have a private one but it's a bit "Fisher-Price my first phone" (without internet access).

So - the bank-holiday weekend.

You may remember at work we had 2 rides to deliver and install down in Margate... THIS time I made it very clear I would not be much use... what with my back problems (still not improved after the facet joint injections) and rubbish hands (imagine having a "funny bone" being knocked in the palm of your hand and you'll not be far off the pain) - ON that basis, the boss man agreed it'd be a waste of money putting me up in a hotel for a week if I would only be firing on 3 cylinders...  3 would be optimistic compared to my normal full steam ahead but I didn't say anything ... (most unlike me)

Having gotten out of the trek down there, we met at the boat on Friday night after work and agreed to get an early start Saturday morning.

As part of our plan to 'navigate the entire system', it made sense this time to head up the Calder and Hebble and instead of turning  in the Dewsbury arm junction , to go up it to the basin.

Usually when we're chugging, I captain the boat and Andy handles locks.  On this occasion however, AS my back and hands were already really bad (and I was self medicating along with a glass of wine), we decided I couldn't really be in much MORE pain so it was my turn.

It actually made a pleasant change and it was quite good for Andy to realise that when you are in a lock with a bit of wind blowing, you can't always position the boat where you would like... or rather, where the crew member is suggesting you do.

This is Millbank lock (the shortest,leakiest and horribleness) on the system I think - the ground paddles are fooked and the bottom gates are 'bow-legged' at best.

This means in order to stand a chance of filling the thing, you have to be brave and do it quickly.

A few choice words were shouted in my direction but a greater understanding of the difficulties facing the driver was gained lol.

IT was agreed however, that on the return journey, as it's such a tight fit, I'd be back on the tiller.

We were soon (well about 3 and half hours after leaving our home mooring) approaching the Dewsbury arm and our planned destination...

It seemed like a sensible plan and despite the water being rather shallow most of the way,

It wasn't too unpleasant.... until we came to where the winding hole was supposed to be -  Annoyingly, I didn't have the presence to take a photo but trust me... THERE really isn't a winding hole up there any more... or rather there would be, were it not for umpteen boats long term moored in it.  We therefore had 2 choices - reversing back down the arm or attempt a 46 point turn in the entrance to the basin.  DOING so of course meant we 'kissed' a few boat's fenders in the process - what with the blustery wind that got up and an audience it was all a bit stressful - made more so by Andy's attempts to help with the boat pole failing due to the sudden "deep water" from no where - the ruddy thing wouldn't even touch the bottom!

No matter - we made it and then headed back down - noting in the Nicholson guide NOT to take the boat up there again unless its for work at the boat yard. 

Once we got back to the  mainline, we turned left and headed back towards Horbury  - the wind had picked up quite a bit so rather than tying up near the Bingley Arms (the intended watering spot for the evening) we continued to a more sheltered sport just above Broad cut top lock.  Were we were later joined by a nice Braidbar boat AND a hire boat containing 7 drunk and annoying enthusiastic and high spirited chaps - who tried to turn the boat around ... where the canal wasn't wide enough - the result being them wedged sideways across it.  NOT in the mood to help out physically, I did however suggest that once they'd gotten un-wedged, if they wend down the lock they could either turn just after/under the waller bridge or a bit further down at the water point.

About an hour later, they re-appeared pointing the desired way .

AFTER a noisy (wind wise) night, we decided to continue with the painting  - Taking the solar panels off the roof (again) for the penultimate undercoat and whilst Andy was doing that, I began the gunwhales in their first gloss coats.

The observant will also notice I've painted a white line - the plan being to mask it off with Frog tape and then paint either side.  It WAS a good idea... just badly executed as when I came to apply the tape, in parts the line isn't wide enough.  Hmmf... oh well - at least when I do the other side, I know to paint it wider.

WRITING of the other side - a towpath walker actually asked me "how are you going to do the other side" - I explained I have a wet suit and scuba gear primed and ready 😉

The paint has gone on OK but as before, the mosquito are a problem.  I'll just have to keep rubbing them down and repainting until  you don't notice them.  It's a good job I'm not a perfectionist - opting again for the "it's near enough for a country spot" approach.

 On Monday morning, having studied the weather forecast, we made an early start (to beat the rain) and pulled pins about 6.30

It was a cold but nice start to the day and the chug home pleasant enough - although Thornes Flood lock off the river was closed which did cause a little hiccup.  As the flow wasn't very strong, it wasn't too much of a problem.

The rain never did arrive and by the end of the Bank holiday we'd managed some MORE painting...

Each night after work, I've managed a bit more rubbing down and more painting so as I type this, the entire port side has had at least 2 gloss coats.  All being well, tomorrow night, I'll get a 3rd on if the weather is ok and remove the tape to reveal the white lines underneath (and extent of the required touching up to be done)... THEN I'll don my scuba gear  turn the boat around and begin the other side...  

Did I mention we REALLY are bored of painting now???

Until next time...