Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Photo: Out Cruising.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Good News and Failed Supper

Today has been amazing! For a few days I have been eyeing up some logs that seem to have been abandoned on the road. Today I went up to the nearest door to ask if they were just delivered or waiting for removal, and if the latter could I have them for my fire. It turns out they had just arrived, but the lovely lady insisted that I took some and filled my boot up with a ‘couple of logs’. I arrived home and one of the boaters here has recently replaced a couple of blinds, and wondered if I would like the old ones. I accepted prompto! I am thrilled they thought of me – what a treat!

I have a couple of people coming for supper this evening and the pudding has turned into a complete disaster – meringue roulade has become egg white mouse with lumps. – I think I must have whisked the egg whites too much. Not only that but the main course looks rather unappetising! My beloved is in charge of the starter but I have just received a phone call announcing the need to rescue that from the brink of the compost heap. I normally don’t mind failed suppers, but unfortunately I don’t actually know this couple. I was overcome with a need to see them again when I met them for the first time, and insisted they came for supper………. Oh dear, it has all going wrong!

Just writing this has made me see the funny side – it is rather like a comedy sketch. I do hope the dinner guests have a) eaten first and b) have a good sense of humour!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Battery Charging: Solar

I am so pleased I didn't buy a battery charger the other day! There are some discussions on
  • CanalWorld
  • about solar panels and as far as I can gather they would be ideal for my requirements. There seems to be a company that a couple of people have used and recommend, so I have written to them for a quote. I really struggle to get my head around electrics and whether the panels will input enough power for what I take out of them, but as my leisure electrical consumption is pretty minimal I can't see there will be a problem. The only issue would be my 12volt fridge and whether I can wire that into the system as well - if I can I will be skipping rigadoons for england!

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Basingstoke Canal

    I have started to learn a little bit about the basingstoke canal. I am interested in it because a) I have never visited b) I would like a mooring on it and c) I thought one had to book ones passage through the locks, which simply isn't true! Here is a reference to a webpage set up about it

  • Basingstoke Canal
  • Monday, October 23, 2006

    The ballad of the leaking hatch (by my 'friend')

    Bones cried out, 'bother this water!
    It's making my temper much shorter.
    No bucket or bowl
    will make good the 'ole;
    it won't stay in the quarter it ought ter!'

    My dad's poem

    Come now with me
    this apres midi
    for afternoon teacakes and jam
    lets stuff our faces
    with dainties in cases
    and slices of frightfully thin ham.

    Lets wack our cirrhosis
    with chocolates from Roses
    as we listen to the orchestra play
    on our table for two
    with the river in view
    we will welcome the embers of day.

    ah waiter deliver
    the teapot of silver
    you can't. Oh how simply ghastlee
    bring me straight back
    my coat and my hat
    you've just spoilt my post noon reverie.

    Side/Houdini Hatch

    My side hatch has started to leak. Apparently this is a common problem, but I have no idea how to stop it. The leak is not a drip but rather a dribble during heavy rain. After some flurrying around I have managed to make the side hatch look like an advert for bin liners; or at least an attempt at the turner przie. Although it stops the driblle, it really isn't an ideal or even long term solution to the problem.

    Any ideas?

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    Galvanic Isolator/ Battery Charger

    My power usage is pretty minimal as I use only one light at a time, and the rear of my boat doesn't have any lights at all. I do have a waterpump though. However, I still need to charge my batteries and the need for this will increase as I sort out my bathroom and install a shower pump. I have been looking around, and after a visit to Uxbridge Boat Centre, I have decided a sterling 12v 30Amp charger is the one for me. The crucial question is whether I will need a galvanic isolator as well? I have done some searches, and see that it would be necessary as I will be using shorepower to run the charger, but is a galvanic isolator the solution? It seems all to obviously so, and there must be other solutions!?

    Delightful Saturdays

    I just adore saturday mornings on the boat; they provide a wonderful opportunity to relax, potter and really appreciate the world outside ones window. The morning air is brisk and fresh at this time of the year, and it is simply wonderful being able to dawdle around without dashing off to work.


    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Photo: Cupboard

    This is the cupboard I built to put coats etc in. It sits just inside the door. The louvre door isn't on quite right so I am going to put that right, and then put a strip across the top to tidy it up.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    Photo: Steam Ploughing

    Steam ploughing engine at Dorset Steam Fair 2006 - LOVE 'EM!

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    More Musings

    This time of year is simply beautiful. I arose from my slumber this morning; stepped outside the covers and promptly felt the chill of the morning. Sharp awakenings such as these heighten ones senses, and what better a morning to do it on. The mist was rising from the water; the air crisp and clear and the sun rising with a beautiful light. I would take a picture, but it is impossible for my camera to capture the atmosphere, crispness and splendor of these Autumnal mornings. It is most certainly a lovely time of year.

    My father is currently on an island in Scotland. I bet he is enjoying the most gorgeous mornings up there - Scotland does October in true style - I can't even describe it!

    Several weeks ago I built a wardrobe in the dining room. A couple of weekends ago I decided said wardrobe would be better as a coat store by the front door. I have since decided a dining room is not for wardrobes. So, what am I going to do? I have decided to replace the cupboard that currently "hangs" over the bottom of the bed with something similar, but smaller, neater and more practical... And less oppressive. I really do think a job such as this is more suitable for a professional. When I was writing to "keeping up" I was mentioning my thoughts of employing someone to do the job for me, but decided I had to give it a go (and deleted that paragraph from my message!)! I have no idea how it will turn out, but I do hope I will be able to leave work early for a couple of days in order to do it. I can't use this weekend as I am at a Steam day, and there is no electricity in the back half of the boat. I don't think I should even attempt the wardrobe by candle light (I have misplaced my torch!)

    Picture: I love the rain!

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Speeding Boats

    Sitting here on a Thames visitor mooring I am amazed at the speed boaters go past. Why I expect people to be considerate of their speed is beyond me, speeding is common on our roads and in our daily lives - we are part of a society where now simply isn’t soon enough! I have noticed that the taller, more expensive plastic looking boats are the bigger culprits, but they are not alone, nearly all the narrow boats going past have also been speeding. The cause of this could well be the difference between those who moor at a “basin” (or marina for those haven’t read GrannyButtons blog recently) over those with linear moorings. One never really realised the damage wash does to boats, let along to wildlife, unless a witness to it. Faster boaters probably want to speed along the waterways whereas the slower aware ones notice the nests being washed away, the bank being washed away and the boat rocking violently. Why should anyone really know about their impact on the world around them? When walking through a forest we notice flowers, trees, atmosphere and the such like, it is only when we stop and rest and listen and watch that we notice so much more. The insects come out of their hiding place, the animals scurry again on their journey and you start to hear the song birds talking to each other.
    Boating to me is about resting; experiencing; not rushing and enjoying the peace. I also sit on logs along walks to take in my surroundings, I also don’t speed on the roads. The beauty of the waterways is that it serves all sorts of people, not just me; but the people they serve must serve it and protect the habitat that the river is so famous for.

    A seagull was diving for its supper this afternoon.

    Painted Boat with bits missing!

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    The Weekend: Painting

    Since breaking and crushing my thumb in the back hatch, work on the boat took a very abrupt halt, and it is only over the last couple of weeks that I have been able to use my thumb without it hurting.
    Having sanded down and primed the bits that needed it, I was getting very twitchy brushes and just wanted to get it over with so with relief on Saturday I set off to a beautiful village with a mooring the length of my boat.
    I managed to paint most of one side and prime the other before the flies came out. I didn’t want to be painting too late in the day as the dew starts quite early (apparently!). In the evening I put the wires above the front door in a plastic tube to tidy them up.

    This morning the boat was simply too wet from the nights dew to do anything, but it did dry out by about 11:30. Normally I wouldn’t have painted, but I was so keen to get it done while the weather was ok, I decided to go ahead and cover all that needed covering so I can forget about it knowing it is protected till next spring. I had to paint in quite a few flies which blended surprisingly well! There were bits that needed more rubbing down, and in the end the bow area simply isn’t up to standard. I am not a great painter, and with a time limit I just carried on and covered the bits that need covering. I think painting should be done earlier in the year and under a bridge to protect from the rain. I still have one gunnel left to do which is in such a state I really need to sort it out – but that will take half a day at most.

    I have also made a cupboard just inside the front door to put coats in and trampled Dog S%^$ through the boat. I was spitting feathers about it until I calmed down and realised it was my own stupid fault for walking through the bushes and not taking my shoes off.

    Yesterday I met lots of people along the tow path who stopped for a chat, and I really enjoyed myself – that was until this morning when I noticed my trousers had a huge split in the derrière. I thought it there was a bit of a draft, but thought nothing of it.

    Pictures to follow (not of the trousers)

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Friday Musings

    Having made a post about the weather I feel totally ashamed! I have stumbled across an excellent website: nb Epiphany which has superb photos and a blog of a narrowboat build. I really love websites which go into so much detail about their build, not least because it gives me ideas for my boat, and if the photos are good they also give me an indication of how to go about instigating these ideas myself! I inserted a cupboard inside my front doors to the right last weekend and it is a huge success. I have also cut the wood for my wardrobe (I took the wardrobe apart to make the cupboard!). I am going to relocate my wardrobe from the dining room into the sitting room. It will rest opposite the stove so my clothes are kept dry during the winter.

    As I read various blogs, I realise how archaic my current idea of comfortable living is. It had never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with having no hot water, electricity in only half of the boat, and just the squirrel stove for heating - which only really heats half the boat comfortably. I am seriously going to think about these issues for the future - as I get older I expect I will not find stone cold showers amusing.

    In the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying the prospect of painting tomorrow, and am finding a great deal of the wood I have been looking for through places like freecycle and local skips.

    Just a note - anything that is found in a skip legally belongs to the owner. This means that you have to ask permission before removing anything unless you want to be accused of stealing. I can't remember who told me this - but if you know to the contrary do leave a message!

    What colour shall I paint my front doors? The boat is going to be grey on the sides. I THINK I will do the front well deck grey too, but a lighter grey to the sides, and that just leaves the doors..........


    The weather forcast informs me that it is going to be sunny tomorrow! I really hope it is as I am desperate to get the paint onto the boat before the bad weather sets in!

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006


    I mentioned how one can't be scared of spiders when living on a boat. It seems that there are ways of reducing the spider population if you are over-run with them. Firstly remove the clutter from your roof and apparently they don't like conkers - even rooms with conkers (but I have yet to have confirmation of this..).
    If you love spiders, you may want to paste the following into your browser



    I am not putting them in as direct links as they even made my toes curl! They can be found in cambodia where you can also wash them down with some spider wine.

    This information has come from "http://www.saturn25.co.uk/"!!!!!!!!

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    Glorious Rain

    I absolutely adore this beautiful weather, lovely heavy raindrops soaking the ambling walkerer in a matter of moments. Being in a boat during weather like this is bliss. The sound of the rain on the steel roof dancing like a thousand fairies whilst the drops land on the water outside sending ever ending circles spanning out as they join the watery mass of the river. Simply wonderful.

    Of course, this weather is not ideal for anyone, as I am, trying to paint their boat! I am resigned to staying under a bridge for a few days to finish off the work I have started. Primer and undercoat are not waterproof so the quicker I get the gloss on the better. I will also need to give the boat a good drying out before I do the gloss work. In the meantime I am enjoying the beautiful beautiful rain where being on a boat is the best place ever.