Saturday, September 30, 2006

Boating in winter

boating is a very romantic occupation but all boaters will tell you that winter is tough. The reason for this is the stoppages on the canals and rivers (for repairs) which hinder travel, and the general anti social attitude of the british in the dark. As autumn progresses the nights become longer and the days shorter. Meeting people on the canals in winter is tougher than any other season because we are all indoors. If you can make it through a winter, you can make it through a life aboard. I started living afloat during an October, and it is tough - but I loved it. The frosty mornings, the coldness as you step outside your doors into the big open world. The fresh air in the mornings. It is a beautiful time of year. Two of my boating chums (see the links - Maffi and Westwood) are about to set sail to embark upon their lives aboard. Keep an eye on their blogs as they start this new life at a difficult time of year - especially as, like me when I started out, they are going to be continuous cruisers experiencing the waterways from a transient way of life.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wildlife - more life than wild

on the wall of the house I frequent there were several black dots clustered together. I noticed one day that there were some 'little dots' moving around. Rather painstakingly myself and the house owner (more the latter than the former) moved the moving dots out into the garden. This is what they turned into:

We had no idea what the black dots were and were amazed as they turned into these!

On the boat I do not have leaf beetles, but rather endless spiders and the discarded carapace of athropods. I used to be terrified of spiders but decided I really needed to sort it out - especially as my sister gave me a bird eating spider framed in a beautiful box. Desensitisation is a slow and gradual process, but I knew I was getting somewhere when I went into my engine room and was met by a sabre tooth tiger disguised as an 8-legged fiend. Initially I withdrew but decided that when living on a boat being scared of spiders simply isn't an option. It isn't. Now I just object to walking through spiders webs with the spider sitting gracefully at about mouth level - moreso when I have already had my breakfast - euwgh!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I managed to a bit more painting yesterday afternoon and evening. However, on inspection this morning I noticed a few specs/areas of rust colour coming through the paint. So, I need to sand it down again give it a good clean and re-paint it. This will be the second time I have done this so I am a bit miffed!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Photo cows by the waterside

Monday, September 18, 2006

question: bathroom

I am trying to decide what material to use in the bathroom for the floor and walls - what do you all recommend? I am reluctant to use tiles as they will fall off the wall and more importantly weight the boat down on one side which I do not want.

Another suggestion has been vinyl flooring which is a good idea, but has anyone any other ideas/suggestions?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Pictures: Paint and Bathroom

Here is a picture of one side of the boat in undercoat. It wasn't a painting day today so I have got no further with it. The picture was taken from a distance as it looks better viewed that way

I have started work on my winter project - despite the fact it isn't winter. Here is a picture of the work in progress:

The penthouse ensuite bathroom!

I tried to remove the totally impractical hip bath that was there before, but it wouldn't fit through the door, so I have cut it down, and will cut it down further to make the shower tray.

Monday, September 11, 2006


On friday evening I moved Bones to the craning area in preparation for saturday mornings attacking of the paintwork.

The morning view from Bones on saturday -

I managed to sand down both sides of the boat, but I need to attack the gunnels with something more hefty than sandpaper! I put 2 coats of undercoat on one side of the boat, and am quite pleased with the results (pictures to follow). I am not a painter, but I am learning a great deal as I go along - by the time I finish I will hopefully know how to do it properly for next time!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Much to my delight I have been granted a space in the craning bay tomorrow to do my sanding. I am delighted! I am hoping to get at least one side of preparation work done.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Projects Looming

Now my thumb has just about healed from being broken and crushed I am thinking about more DIY projects (and finishing the ones I have started). I have started to make a cupboard to go next to the front door to keep coats etc tidied away. The big thing is going to be the bathroom, I simply don't know what to do with that for the moment. I had been thinking of getting a small shower tray to replace the hipbath which is currently in there taking up too much space for such a small room. I can't really make the room bigger because it will take up even more of the area with a side hatch!

I am also trying to negotiate a mooring in the craning area near my current mooring so I can get on with the sanding, I am not having much luck at the moment.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Photo: Beale Park 2006

Fabulous day last weekend at Beale Park - especially the traditional narrowboats! Here are a couple of pictures.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Marina verses linear moorings

As I have been unable to do either cruising or DIY with my broken thumb, I have been stuck on my mooring which happens to be in a Marina. During this time I have been reflecting on my current mooring and my previous mooring, with a previous boat when I was on the Oxford 'continuously cruising'.
The marina mooring has been super over the last year, not least because I have been able to stay in one place and do a huge amount of DIY, and with running water close by I was able to live without facilities for several months while I got them working. In addition the car park was secure and close to the boat which meant I didn't have to walk miles to carry wood/cabinets/floor/everything to the boat. However, my boat is now functional (as my cruise a couple of weeks ago demonstrated), and I really want to be out there on the water. Yet - I AM on the water.

Marina berths are excellent for security and the like, but there doesn't seem to be that feeling of being part of the waterways nature as I did on the Oxford. Linear moorings lend themselves to a rather more integrated feeling with the world around one.

I am itching to be out and about so when my thumb is up for it I am going to fix a central line on the boat and just get going. It is too easy to treat the boat like a home rather than a privilaged presence amongst the water wildlife when moored in a marina, and I am slipping into that. I long for the inconvenience of knowing where to moor tomorrow, whether the boat is still where i left it when I return from work.

I suspect after a month or two I will be sick of it and heading straight back to the marina before the winter stoppages!!!!!!!!!!