Tuesday 30 May 2017

A Mixed weekend and little jaunt out...

The last minute finishing (ish) touches continued over the weekend - Saturday was an early start as Andy had offered to help another shop by covering an early shift  ... this meant a 5.10am alarm ... after which, I figured I may as well get on with jobs.

It was a bit tricky early on though as I needed to route some corners off the timber I'd collected to finish the tv cabinet - doing that outside before 8am would have been a bit inconsiderate to Clare (the woman on the boat behind/in front (depending which way we're pointing) and her new born baby. The baby btw, is quite bonny - especially compared to it's parents lol.

SO - I quietly set to assembling some planters Andy had been nagging me to make.

once more, made from offcuts from work - this time from the gratings (walkway) for the caterpillar that we're currently on with.

It's difficult doing things quietly ... it'd have been fine if we were moored in the middle of no where and I must admit to being rather frustrated.

Still the sun was shining despite the forecast for rain  - THAT came later.

STILL looking for quiet things to do, I remembered the little foam corners Andy had ordered from China to cushion the corners of the solar panels... they clonk on the roof in high winds/when the ducks do their morning dance routine on them.  They cost buttons and came with double-sided tape  - we'll see how long it lasts before coming off but I've got a few tubes of sikaflex remaining for which I'm saving up "jobs" for before I open. 

The sun was still shining nicely and as I'd done a washing load (on the batteries) - taking them down to about 65% the panels were putting in over 29 amps which is was good to see.

I also managed to get the lettering on the other side done - a lot less faff this time as there was no breeze AND I had an assistant.

I still need to put the index number on but as it's already on the bedroom window each side, I'll get around to it  - WHEN I find them again!!!

What else? ... oh yes, you'll remember on 'Euro-vision night' the Ariel amplifier blew up and was frantically replaced with one from Homebase? - well, it's done it again... or rather it did it again when the batteries got fully charged.  Basically, its my own fault for using the boats 12v dc instead of using the ac/dc transformer that came with it... having to have the inverter on to power the thing seems SO wasteful though.

A quick trip into town and I managed to get hold of one of these -

 It regulates voltage coming out and keeps it circa 12.5... NOT anything between 12 and 14.6 which had been coming out of the (unregulated) supply from the panels/alternator.

  I've wired it in and fitted the 3rd amplifier...  so far so good!

THEN the rain came...

It's hard to see through the portholes, but during the storm we had 1ft waves lashing the side and hailstones breaking up and bouncing through the mushroom vents... a typical "Crick" weekend I thought lol.   - Which it was btw but we didn't go on account of our last minute push to get the boat ready.

THAT said, by Sunday Lunch, the sun was out again and we decided to have a little run out.  We went down towards Fairies Hill, planning to moor up before the lock landing for an over night stay and wander around... when we got there, a few other boats had been abandoned  beaten us to it, so we got brave and went through the big lock back on to the river Calder and downstream towards Castleford.

I really don't know why we 'd been so scared of river cruising before as so long as you watch out for floating trees, it's quite pleasant... and once passed Methley bridge it wasn't long until we came across Castleford junction where the rivers Calder and Aire meet.   The flood lock was open so we chugged straight across and into Castleford cut.  The visitor moorings were quite full but I'd spotted a space I thought we could fit in so turned before the next lock headed back.  A chap offered to move his boat if we could wait 5 mins or so but by now I was committed to the manoeuvre - fitting a 57ft boat ... into a 58 ft space WITH a large audience WITHOUT hitting either the piling OR boats either side...  I was WELL impressed and so were the people in the shiny boat behind lol.

Annoyingly, by the time we did our post mooring routine (read had a glass of wine) and went for a walk to take a photo from the other side, the buggars had moved THEIR boats to give us some space.

You forget how long the boat IS when you're used to seeing it from the back rather than the side.

IT really was a lovely evening, complimented by the people on the 2 boats behind playing their guitars and singing - I admit, the wine did help dull the senses and repeated "cum by yars" drifting through the air did'n't irritate me at all ;-) 

WHAT did jar a bit though was the large boat on the opposite side of the canal starting up a generator around 7pm which went on until after 11.    Still, luckily it was only one night for us but I pity his neighbours if he does it every night!

I've still a couple of things to do before we head off to Skipton on Friday - well I say Friday but all being well, were going to go off on Thursday evening and with luck, moor over-night near Lemonroyd Marina, getting the nasty big lock out of the way.  I noticed a few drops of blue engine coolant under the calorifier pipe connections in the engine bay the other day so I plan to tighten up the jubilee clips and top up the system.  I haven't got any blue antifreeze but so long as I remember to add some before the winter, it'll be ok.  I also noticed the locking nut on the morso cable had worked a bit loose so I'll fettle that too whilst I'm down there.

Until next time...

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 http://www.edbed.com/ 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 ...it 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.  http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Milanas-Oak-Solid-Wood-Flooring/p/138979
It's thinner planks than normal so it should be easier to fit... famous last words!

Until Next time...