Friday 30 March 2018

4 days left to complete various jobs... not pant related.

Time is galloping again - there's nothing major left to do  to ready the boat for it's (its'?) maiden voyage on the 3rd...  The important things - licence, safety cert & insurance are done... in fact, when I finish this, I think I'll put the "hotel boat" license in the window.

I've been handing out fliers left right and centre to towpath walkers that might be interested - OR know someone else who might.

The "patient" (that's an oxymoron if ever) is still on bed rest and therefore not able to assist is still driving me mad - more so since he downloaded a "bell app" for his phone... ... ... prior to that I was receiving frequent the occasional text request to fetch this/that or the other.  If that bell continues to ring it'll be interesting to discover if it's still audible when inserted somewhere the sun don't shine thrown into the cut!

SO, going back to jobs...

Another thing on my list was to fit an additional usb charging point high up in the galley so as to be able to have a led light shining down and also to charge up the 3 mifi point (for guest use)...  we've asked  visitors not to get carried away streaming video files as it is capped at 20gb a monthly on contract.

The easiest way to get power up there was to tap into the cooker "spark" feed - it's got a very thick cable  (to avoid voltage drop) and I've used twin core 5 amp cable which should be enough (given the usb sockets are 3.1amp combined)

NOT my neatest bit of cabling I'll grant you but it is under the kitchen units.  NOTE I've STILL used a fuse AND ferrules....  since I took the photo, I've cable tied the wires to the wall and screwed the connectors down too.

it works well enough.  You might also note, I've changed the shelf to the (recently acquired) ikea one - leaving the supports in place to cover up the screw holes made by it's predecessor.

Other little jobs have included yet MORE touching up of paint (when it's not been raining) and also fitting a new charcoal filter into the toilet tank vent pipe... it'a amazing the difference that makes to the whiff outside.  They last about 12 months and cost circa 50 quid from memory... worth it though.

The weather is doing her best to make things difficult though.  I've still got some hatch runners to fit outside and then paint along the side of - it rained again most of the night and looking out of the porthole this morning, it doesn't look promising for today either.  YESTERDAY however, it also caught me out with a sharp frost... when I'd let the fire die down over night. Still, the insulation is obviously quite goood as even with no embers in the grate, it stayed near 19degress inside whilst it was minus 2.2 out 

Right - I'm off... I need to think of a way to protect the pump out toilet wiring in the guest wardrobe... when I say protect, I just mean from a "pushed in the bottom holdall" affair.  I've got a few bits of wood left so should be able to fit something in.

Until next time...

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Tight pants and bargain Hotel stay...

I know, I know... the pants thing is getting old now but having to wear compression undies 24/7 is quite a task...I won't go into specifics, suffice to say, getting the "bits" into them without hurting, is like eating blancmange of a plate - with your hands tied behind your back!  *very impressed with spell check there... I had NO idea how to spell blancmange*...

This recovery process is going to be slow and painful - for all.

When I picked him up from Hospital on Sunday night, rather than go back to the boat, I figured a night in a hotel might be a better idea... given that if I needed to call for an ambulance, it would be easier to find the hotel postcode than the towpath one. 

Anyway - as it happened, I'd already been looking around and found a twin room with a bath at the Ramada in Wakefield for £31.50 for the night... BARGAIN.  Clean, comfortable and at least he could have a soak in a cool bath. 

That seemed to do him the power of good and after an 11 hour sleep, Monday didn't seem so bad.  We had to call in to work to drop in the sick note from the hospital and then back to the boat to rest. 

In hind sight, perhaps he'd have been better of back in bed than in the recliner as by 1.30am he was back in agony again - despite the painkillers...  I think it's fair to say that Opiates don't agree with him... turning him into a complete an utter monster.  Apparently "take the pills and get on with it" is NOT in the nursing manual - who'd have thought? ;-)

After an extra dose of pills, I believe he fell asleep  - I say believe as I went off to crew quarters so as not to kill him myself to let him rest undisturbed.

This morning, having woken him up to take the antibiotics, laxatives and painkillers, he's under orders to stay laying down whilst I go stock up the boat in anticipation of our impending adventure.  Mainly tins, soft drinks etc... things that are heavy to carry on foot if you follow.  It's only 1 week today until our Maiden voyage and then a few days after that until we set sail (chug) for Liverpool.  VERY exciting. 

We're hoping by then, he'll be able to stand up long enough to cook something and perhaps negotiate locks whilst I crew for  a change.  The good thing is, we'll have willing helpers so it will probably be fine - worse case scenario, I'm going to be very tired for a few weeks but given my work history, it'll be fine... it's an adventure whatever.

Right - I'm off.  Sorry no photos. ONCE I get back from shopping, I'm going to fit a aluminium plate to the hatch runners then paint them... we've managed without until now and WAS going to get brass strips... that was until I got the price for them.  PLAN B is screwfix anodised aluminium - all in for 20 quid.  I'm not going  tap a thread either... I'm going to use sikaflex... it's the best thing I've come across so far.

Until next time...

Sunday 25 March 2018

MORE problems with underpants...

This time however, it's the contents of them... not my own thank goodness but Andy's...

In view that this is not listed as an "adult blog"  relax there will NOT be a photo of the offending thingyamy bobs in this posting!

So - to sum up quickly... Thursday found Andy waking up with pain and the beginnings of a swelling in one of his 'nads... by Friday morning it was nearly grapefruit sized and in agony.  OFF we went to  A & E about 6 am...  by 11, he'd been seen by 4 different people who all had a good prod and poke at the poor thing.

She (the rather pretty but wasted on us registrar) said she didn't think it was twisted but he'd probably damaged the sack of the epididymis,  which had lead to an infection.  They took blood and urine , prescribed 2 weeks worth of antibiotics along with diclofenac and told him wear the tightest underpants possible for a couple of weeks. but if it got worse, come straight back to A & E. We we home by lunch time.

When Saturday morning arrived, things we no better so a day wearing tight undies, taking the pills and laying in bed was in order.

By 7pm things had gotten worse so back off to A & E we went again - on the advice of a respected medical friend of ours...

A & E on a Saturday night - even early on is not nice... there are SO many people in there that should not be there... people with cuts that I'd slap a bit of new-skin on and a plaster etc.  OR when working on the fairground stuff, wrap up in gaffer tape to finish the job.  Anyone in there who the nurses know by name SHOULD be being dealt with by the mental health team imho.

ANYWAY - by about 11 it was agreed he'd be taken up to surgical assessment to see someone.  It turned out to be the same woman he'd seen the morning before which was good as she could see the deterioration for herself.

She decided to hook him up to IV antibiotics and morphine and he was to spend the night in a chair... (there being no beds).  I left him to it about 2am and came back to a cold boat as the fire had gone out... my own fault for not thinking to make it up when we left. hmmf.

THIS morning (Sunday) he ended up on the 6th bed (in a ward of 5) with a screen sharing a pod .  Poor chap had spent a very unpleasant evening and was nil by mouth - pending a scan this morning and potential surgery

Not long after I got there (around 10am) they took him down to ultrasound to be scanned.

Whilst he was away - given there wasn't really any room for a chair, I hopped on the bed and promptsly fell asleep ... being awoken by a woman taking my blood pressure.  

ONCE I'd explained I was not the patient, she left me to it... alas, a few minutes later a rather cross lady came and told me in no uncertain terms it was not acceptable for me to be in a patients bed. (I was on it not in it AND was cleaner than him - having had a shower and change of clothes.. unlike him)...  ANYWAY - I was to  pull up the "naughty chair" and sit on it to await his return... which took an awful long time!

The scan shows a small tear but not serious enough to warrant surgery - the swelling should respond to the anti-inflammatories and stronger antibiotics and with luck he'll be leaving hospital later today with the new pills and some morphine to control the pain.

I WAS going to paint the roof of the boat today but that might be seen as insensitive so that's now on hold.
Until next time - when hopefully PANTS won't feature!

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Replacement TV unit and 2nd favourite underpants..

Good Morning,

I'll start with the important thing first.  AFTER my favourite undies were stolen off the washing line last year, I've been a little reticent in regards hanging my smalls (well now large's) out to dry... preferring  to have them adorning the radiators around the boat OR a quick tumble dry.

Well, whilst I was crouching around measuring up the existing TV cabinet on Monday I felt that now all too familiar ripping, as cotton under high tension  14 year old cotton, lost the will to go on.

Do you think they'll mend?

No, neither did I so I cremated them on the fire to give them one final use.

Having began the grieving process,  (AND already considering which were to become my 3rd favourite pair), I began work on a replacement TV unit to distract me.

The original unit was OK but being made of pine rather than Ash, it always just looked a bit wrong... well that and the fact I'd used the wrong hinges for the flaps - behind which the media pc lives. 

It also wasn't QUITE deep enough to fit DVDs in behind the cupboard doors.  So, this one was to be about 3/4 inch deeper.

I'll come clean - the REAL reason I decided to remake it was that anticipating I'd mess up the underpart cupboard in the bedroom, I'd over ordered the ash face mdf to the tune of about 50 quids worth... and having no where to store it, it was a logical good use of it.

Whilst the weather was favourable Andy also took the opportunity to have a go at the mushrooms with that "peek" stuff.  They've come up quite well considering it's the first time they've been done since the boat was built.

A few more bits of cutting and edging strips applied, and  they were ready for some varnish. It made sense to press-gang utilise the willing crew, whilst I carried on outside.

Once dry, (that water-borne lacquer only takes about 10 mins to be touch dry) I began assembling the unit in situ. 

I did make a bit of a cockup mistake whilst distracted nattering to Joan outside - I edged the CUT side rather than the perfectly straight side of the top... and didn't notice until I'd no more bits big enough to do it again.  It's tolerable and I suspect most folk won't notice.

I'd had enough by now so abandoned it until the next morning.  

Bright and early I continued and fitted everything into place.  It was a bit of a faff sorting out the cupboard doors and in the end, rather than having 4 (like the predecessor) I binned those and settled on 2 larger ones.  

They look OK now.

TODAY - as the sun is shining again, I WILL get the rest of the blacking touched up - I did manage to apply the fertan rust killer the other day so the surface is already prepared... I don't know for sure whether it will need another application- given it's had a few days of exposure to the weather... for the time that it takes to dry, I think I will... just to be on the safe side.

BEFORE then however, I'll nip and get a couple more bags of coal ... just in case the weather does turn as nasty as the scare scaremongers are suggesting.

It's just 2 weeks until our Maiden voyage now - we can't wait to set off!

Until next time...

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...