Sunday, 28 February 2010

Dirty Dancing & a black bottom

We were in London at the weekend as Terri had bought us a couple of tickets to see Dirty Dancing. Personally I thought there was a tad too much dancing involved but the clue was in the title. I also missed out as I had never seen the film unlike lisa who could hardly contain herself at times but she didn't fall asleep which is a good sign unlike several other productions that she has been to. It was actually very good. Possibly not my cup of tea.

We are finally out of the water and having our bottom blacked (oh, arr missus), at least I am doing it myself. I got it spray washed, wire brushed and the first coat on on the first day and it was quite hard work. I also had to tighten several bolts on the rudder as all of them were loose. The tiller has not been connected to the rudder properly from day one and there has always been a lot of play in it. I just thought it was normal (idiot). Well it's sorted now and hopefully we can now go in straight lines (maybe).

Look at the lines on this stern gear and compare it to that of nbChertsey. Which one was but as a utilitarian working boat and which a leisure boat. nbChertsey's is almost art deco in appearance and very elegant compared to Pickles no 2. And it looks a lot less worn. They don't built them like they used to.

The pressure was off after I got the first coat on and it didn't really matter that there was a couple of days of rain. There was very little (nothing actually) of the original blacking remaining and I fear that if I had of left it for another year it would have really suffered. I think that Pickles was just shown the initial blacking before leaving the factory. Last years moving through ice probably didn't help either. There were a couple of pits in the hull but nothing to be worried about.

I have been trying my hand at roses and castles (well roses actually). A more dismal attempt at the art would be hard to find I'm sure you'll agree. Nevertheless, since I insist on low standards in just about everything I do and usually fai to achieve them, this is more than adequate. Lisa bought me a DVD for Christmas and this is the first time I've tried it out. Well with some sample pots from B&Q and old model paintbrushes that I found in my workshop, what did I expect. Still things can only get better, can't they. Watch out Phil Speight, I'm a'comin'.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Chain saws and travellers

I've bought myself a new toy for £89.99. A chainsaw no less. It is essential livaboard equipment that we have done without for the last two years but I have no idea how. Yesterday I was cutting my first logs with a chainsaw for twenty years of to feed our perpetually hungry Rayburn. It's not very big but is a little scary as any wrong move and I'll have my leg off. Only then would I buy some protective clothing. It'll be a little cheaper if I only have one leg.

Every time I put my hand in my pocket (and that's not very often), I end up pulling out a small clear plastic bag. Unfortunately, only dog owners will understand the significance of this.

We were down in London (why are we always 'down' in London) on Saturday evening to watch a play that Terri was in as part of the second year of her degree. She was obviously the star but we may be a little unobjective as far as that is concerned. It was very good though. Nothing like a bit of Saturday night socialism with Brecht.  Chekov next apparently. That'll be a hoot a minute. Think I'll make my excuses for that one.

I gather that we are now classified as travellers as far as local authorities are concerned. This is all wonderfull stuff (although I imagine that some liveaboards may have different views on this) but some boaters have expressed a wish for new 14 day moorings and other privilages and this I see as problematic. The whole system is one big 14 day mooring as far as I'm concerned with some 7day, 48, and 24 hour exceptions, so personally I don't want more moorings, especially ones specifically for me and my ilk.

The whole thing could backfire on continuious cruisers as BW may well come up with the notion that we are more trouble than we're worth and push to have all boaters to have moorings with no such thing as constant cruisers. I don't need any special priviliages and am very happy to continue CCing and mooring in out of the way places not bothering anyone, neither the local authorities not BW. It seems that this has all stemmed from some CCers at the western end of the Kennet and Avon who seem to want to stay put and not fulfll their obligations. If only I fulfulled mine as well. Kettle, black?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Chimbleys, the RN and electrickery

I mentioned in the last blog that the person that owned the boat behined me at the time also owned one of the four RN narrowboats from the seventies. Thanks to Bill Rogers and Geoff and Mags from nbSeyella for supplying the link to the photo that I couldn't find. The owner also told me that there was a lot of ironwork when he lifted the floorboards and on looking at the photos, if the superstructure of the boats were steel, the extra metal could have been for ballast as well. Although I somehow doubt it was metal and it would have more likely been ply. Possibly a tad top heavy otherwise.

I know absolutely nothing about Royal Navy ships or boats (yes I know that ships sail on the surface and boats go below it, as in Das Boot) so I have no idea which one is the frigate although I'm fairly certain that it's probably not the black one. Maybe they are not copies of actual ships but only a representation. Any ideas? Where are the retired RN contingent when you need them, nbArmadillo?

We have moved to Shakerstone for a while but I have suddenly realised that we cannot make it through the Snarestone tunnel as, when I installed the Rayburn, I left the flue at full length and didn't cut it down for an exterior chimney (or chimbley as blooger nbMinnow calls it. Traditional I believe). So I will have to buy one and fit it before we go any further. I lost a chimney in the tunnel last year so I could just trawl for the old one. But we are now looking forward to getting off the Ashby and are planning our easter cruise.

We have been iced in for the second time this year but it has all but thawed since. We don't really want to be iced in due to the blacking later in the month. The downside of the lack of ice is the mud. Something has also happened to the electricity as it hardly lasts an hour or so from fully charged batteries. Something is eating the power but I don't seem to be able to track where the problem is. Hope it's not the inverter.