Sunday 29 December 2019

New Cushion covers, Xmas is over, bilge alarms on the river and New Horizons...

Hey up.

I appear to have been away (from here) for too long again...  I've been really busy doing jobs that shouldn't take long...which invariably do.

Take removing the shower sealant and redoing it.  It'd been on my list for months... in fact, back as far as the START of the (now over) cruising season... Anyway... I finally got around to doing it the other week.  All I can say is "plllr"...

ANYWAY - it's done now and being black construction adhesive, will at least look better for longer - time will tell.  I had received a message recommending some "strips" to glue in but having already bought the sika flex, I carried down the planned route.

It'll do.

I also got around to fitting the little turn buttons to the front seats... not a major thing I'll grant you but they do hold the side panels in place nicely.   Just a bit of paint to touch up on the frame behind and they'll ALSO do.

MEANWHILE, back in side the boat, now I'd painted the crew quarters, including the side panels (they were looking grubby with shoe marks etc) I decided to redo the non-slip on the steps AND give them a fresh coat of paint too... along with extra non-slip granules too.

Getting the "tape" off was a bit of a bugger... the use of a hairdryer did ease it's removal.  Once done, I stepped back and admired the result... realizing I'd effectively trapped myself on board unless I exited via the front doors and balanced down the gunwales.  The rubberized granules adhere really well and usually can take another couple of coats before losing their "non-slippy-ness".

Talking (well writing) of the front doors, THEY too are in need of some TLC.  The silicone around the glass externally had failed and what with a combination of that AND guests not quite 'getting' the need for ventilation when sleeping (ergo condensation forming there) the inside has become quite stained. I don't think the staining would be sand-out-able so as soon as weather conditions permit, I'm going to sand them down, prime and paint them grey too.

BEFORE then however,  I wanted to test out some door stops I'd found on ebay...  they DO hold the doors open (loosely) but due to the length down to the floor, they are not really up to the job.  IF I put  wooden lattice sub-floor under the grass that might help and tbh, I might just do that anyway... we'll see.

Back in side  at 'the other end' again...I got a message from Denise the friend who I'd asked to re-cover the dinette cushions the other month, to say she'd finished them and if I would be around, she'd drop them back off.  I'd no idea she'd do them so quickly... when asking a favor you just assume folk will fit it in around their other things -  Anyway, she very kindly did them and I had them back on the boat before Xmas.  I have to admit, I'm REALLY pleased with them... the new fabric being a lot more robust than it's predecessor.  It was a pig to work with apparently but she's made a grand job of them.  Obviously I thanked her and not being cash rich, have offered to take her and her husband (and perhaps grandchild) on boat trip from Wakefield to Leeds in the new year.  I'll keep an eye on forecasts and river levels and plan around that to suit them.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Christmas itself was a difficult day.  I'd had a visit from 2 dear friends inviting me to come along and spend the period with them... it just didn't feel right to impose myself and expected misery on anyone else... aware my father was going to be alone (his choice too) I had a bit of a walk into town which was nice enough and exchanged a few messages with dad - both 'chocking' each other up I suppose...  he had intimated previously he might come down and visit in between xmas and new year but apparently he had things to do so would not be coming ... which is fair enough.  ANYWAY - Christmas day was complete and on Boxing day,  I decided to unplug the shore-line and make the trip to Leeds on the boat with my friend.

I had planned on a few days away as cabin fever had being setting in anyway, but the forecast for the weekend was not good so rather than chug for 6 hours in wind and rain, when boxing day looked "ok ish" we made a dash for it.

Having been tied up not moving for a few weeks, the alternator decided to play up the other day and not out put anything...  I think it didn't like being subjected to the charging currents from the combi inverter...  it had been sulking for a few days and then, magically when disconnected from shoreline with the inverter OFF, it began working again... MAJOR relief.

Whilst on the river, we spotted a boat marooned that must have broken loose in the last floods...

It'll take the next floods to dislodge it I suspect and then who knows it's fate... I hope something can be done to it before it ends up over Castleford weir further down stream.

NOT long after going passed this, we were thrown into a little panic... the bilge alarm began to buzz and on turning the bilge pump on manually, I was shocked to see a constant stream of water being evacuated from the engine bay.. the pump, rarely being able to pump anything out.  

THIS was not a thing you want in the middle of a river section with about an hour to go...  the alarm kept going off and the pump kept pumping constantly...  I seriously feared a weld on the swim had failed and we were sinking.    TO cut a long story short (and save you the dramatic hour we had) it turned out to be a sudden influx from a blocked drain in the rear locker that "cleared" and dumped a few weeks worth of water into the engine bilge in one go.  THIS didn't become apparent until the relatively safety of Lemmonroyd lock!

BEFORE then, I'd worked out a contingency of running the bilge pump constantly AND rigging up the mains powered "hippo" back up pump until we could get to Granary Wharf in Leeds, WHERE , we'd lower the level to sit on the bottom and make emergency calls... my theory being that any boaters in there, when faced with the knowledge that another boater was "sinking" would tolerate being stuck in an empty pound whilst a solution was found.

I'm sure you can imagine the relief when the alarm stopped, and the water being pumped out slowed to a trickle!

So then,  here we are in Leeds... and when I say we, I'm referring to David and I... David being a chap I've been dating for a short while - privately.    It's been a difficult year as I'm sure anyone who's followed this dribble throughout will agree.  

I started the year with my mother dying suddenly and then roughly halfway through, divorce proceedings commencing...  the latter being perfectly amicable with Andy going off and doing his own thing... sometimes a little too publicly (think Facebook postings) for my liking but I know, no malice has been intended.... life moves on and situations present themselves.  

To be frank, I didn't really think there'd be much chance of me meeting anyone new in my life for a long while... especially with my nomadic lifestyle.    Well it turns out I was wrong.  It's early days but for the first time in a long while, I'm able to look forward.  I don't know how things will progress romantically (I'm quietly optimistic)  but  "business wise" bookings are already looking good for the year ahead AND I've got a couple lined up for 2021  (despite not yet having completed my route plan)...  life is good... people are good and so long as you (and by you I REALLY mean me) continue to look at life through good eyes, with positivity and kindness, the world will occasionally smile back on you.

Happy New year - let's hope 2020 is good for all of us.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Seats complete and "That London Look"...

Since my last missive, I've been busy working through my imaginary list (I'm not good at actually WRITING lists any more) of maintenance/improvement jobs... and the odd 'spill' a side, things are progressing nicely.

Luckily, nothing I'm doing actually involves spending more than a couple of quid - which is a good job as what with the solicitors bills, winter mooring costs and no money due in yet from next years bookings, I'm skint as a skint person.   I'm rich in other ways...  time... compassion... empathy... general 'fabulous ginger person-ness' and NOT forgetting modesty lol.😇

I'm still feeling rather miserable about this 'Christmas thing' - and still emotional at times but I'm taking that as a positive thing... the solution to lonliness being quite simple.   Every day, in between jobs when the sun is at it's brightest, I'm forcing myself to walk into town (it's about an 8 mile round trip from here) to buy a loaf of bread or some eggs... or even just look in the "yellow label section" in Sainsburys * other supermarkets are available and usually cheaper*...

This walk, takes me past a line of boats - and the beauty of this is that there are usually a few boaty people pottering around... ergo, an opportunity to pass the time of day with a chat.  I never realised how much I needed to be around people.  During boating season (which some would argue is all year round)... when I've got guests on board (and even in between guests) you get to meet and natter with all sorts of folk.    In the middle of winter, when tied up at a marina, it's easy NOT to see anyone... and I've concluded THAT is not good for me... I'm (rather bizarrely) a people person and need to interact.  So that's that then... STOP feeling sorry for myself about being on my own and become the weirdo who chats with everyone/anyone .... (not a big stretch for me some would say)...

Loneliness a side,  this is STILL a wonderful life... you just have to attack it  from a different perspective some times to remind yourself of how lucky I am...  incidentally, I love that old film... "Every time a bell rings an Angel gets it's wings"...

Sorry - tangenting again I know...

ANYWAY - I've finished all the new rear seats and back rests... I'm not sure now that I've done them in Burgandy whether I like it or not... once we get a few warmer days and I can slap some new paint around the back of the boat, I'm sure however they'll look better. Whatever the initial feelings are on them, I'm sure as I've gone passed them a few times, they'll stop offending me.

The seats are NOT as padded as the orginal ones were... and whilst not as comfortable, they ARE more stable  - leaping on and off the roof at times could be a bit of a gamble lol.

The crew-quarters dinette has looked like the middle isle in Aldi for a while now...

You might recall I had planned on replacing the porthole shutters I made a few years ago with new ones...  tbh, whilst they are only mdf with a birch veneer,  by the time I'd bought new disks, veneer and edging stips that would have been 100 quid plus I don't have spare atm.  HENCE the plan to give the existing ones a bit of a sand down and then paint them with left over exterior gloss paint... During the undercoat stage I wasn't sure (it was dark undercoat I'll grant you) but once I got into top coat, have decided they'll do until funds allow.

Of course TAKING them off the walls, it had become more apparent just how much yellowing had taken place over the last 3 years. TIME to experiment with a tin of Satin Wood...

I was a little hesitant but once I got 5 coats on, have convinced myself that "The London Look" is actually quite alright.  I'm going to resist the urge to paint bulk heads and just keep my painting to port and starboard.

I've not made the best paint job on the shutters (the odd run here and there on the edges) but they look clean and fresh AND will be easy to keep clean from now on.

As I type this, I've also got the saloon (that's lounge to you non-boaty folks) ones off and mid-paint...  I'm undecided yet as to whether to paint the walls in there too.  Sometimes, it's best to sit and think a while - failing that, I'll ask visitors opinions lol.

Meanwhile, OUTSIDE the new bow seats are now fixed into position (I might have told you this - I forget) and all they now need are the 'turn buttons' to stop the sides falling off ... They've arrived from Ebay and just need picking up from home.

I had planned to paint them with non-slip paint but given the whole point of phonelic board is that its supposed  to already be non-slip, have decided just to apply a strip of hazard tape on each edge to act as a 'brake' in case you do slip on the board itself... it'll make it less likely to flake I think.

Back inside again for a minute,  I've dug out the old silicone around the portholes (it was looking a bit sorry for itself) and rather than redo with the same, have opted for grey sika flex (construction adhesive)... it's much better having thunk about it, decided grey was the same colour as dust so they should look cleaner for longer lol.

Having lived with this for a couple of days now, I've also removed the (now mucky and failed) silicone from the floor edges and replaced it with grey too... it looks fine (although I don't appear to have taken a photo of that so you'll have to take my word on it.

NEXT job on the list is going to be removing the shower sealant and replacing THAT - THIS time rather than using white silicone, I'm going to opt for sika flex (again) but in black... ergo, it won't show up as mucky and therefore "look" cleaner for longer...  Kim and Agi have nothing on me!

Until next time...

Saturday 7 December 2019

Emotional times, a Bleed Screw and lumps of wood laying around...

I know.

My "post titles" get more obscure...  I blame Brexit!

I've never liked this time of year...  the approach to Christmas - MORE so this year as I'm feeling very emotional at the moment.  Actually, SCRATCH that,  as a child I LOVED this time of year but as an Adult... well, it used to be frustrating ... folk madly dashing around spending money they don't have spare on things they (or their family/friends) DONT really need...

THIS year, just being in the town or shops wandering around hearing the Christmas music playing and seeing people scurrying around it's making me quite tearful.  It's the first Christmas 'mum-less'...  now don't get me wrong...  since being a grown up my folks have never enforced the common recreation attempt of a 'perfect family Xmas' - in fact, quite the opposite... Mum and Dad have always been quite self sufficient... just being there for each other.

Of course, that all changed when mum died.  I have to keep writing that btw to remind myself she is gone.  It's so very hard changing her from the present  to past tense too.  I'm having a similar trouble in regards my soon to be ended civil partnership.... changing from "we" to "I" is very difficult.

Even though, we'd never gone in for big presents, at this time of year - like most people, I always used to be wandering around with one eye looking out for some token gift that mum would like.   It hurts not doing it which has caught me off guard.

Dad is insisting "it's just another day" and after his lonely adjustment to life without mum, is adamant he's going to ignore Christmas totally... declining various family invites.

It'll be horrible for him.    I know this... you see, as an adult, I've spent 3 Christmas's "alone" - all of which have been thoroughly miserable... it's just what happens...  bearing in mind he comes from a large catholic family and went straight into married life with Mum for 52 years - it's going to be his first one alone.

I 'GET' that he feels he has to do it...  and in a similar vain, after 14 years with Andy, I'm doing the same thing on the boat alone - I suspect Dad (like me) is figuring he's going to be bereft and would rather not have an audience for it... a bit like my brain is bracing me for too I suppose.... my logical brain KNOWS its just another day... but my emotional brain is going to be screaming at me that I'm mum less and mid divorce - hells, bells it's already been laying the foundations ...

Anyway - I just thought I'd write that down in the hope it clears the fog a bit and lets me think about other things...

SUCH as, boaty chores.

THAT said, I  came down with a cold (commonly known as 'man-flu') which has knocked me sideways... I suspect because I've been running on adrenaline for months, now I'm able to be under the weather, my body has ceased the opportunity.  Oh well... a few dozen lemsips and bottle of sleepy night nurse should get me over the worst of it.

I've  assembled the first rear seat and back rest -using the old shelving donated by the tenant... it may look ugly now but once it's covered with purple leatherette... well it may still look ugly but will at least make it a little more comfortable to sit out the back of the boat lol.

I've finished the bow seats now and fixed them in to place....   all I'm waiting for are the turn-buttons to arrive from Ebay and I can 'tick' that job off.

The weather isn't being particularly

helpful in the painting department though...  one minute it's minus 3 - the next its raining ... neither being ideal.

Still, it has given a few nice photo opportunities... the sunrises from my temporary winter mooring being quite beautiful .

oh - btw... the fuel filter housing arrived this week... I've removed and installed the bleed screw (onto the existing assembly and that's cured the little diesel drip...the water drain bung on the new one has now been replaced by a plastic thingy which is a little easier to handle than the current Torx one in situ.

Until next time....