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Wednesday 3rd September 2014

It was 4am the next morning when I woke-up and had that ‘Oh no’ moment. I had warned Tina that the oven needed cleaning ages ago; I had made attempts at it but my eco-friendly methods hadn’t worked. What the oven really needed was a company to come in and clean it, and take the nasty chemicals required away with them. What I had completely forgotten to do was to clean the grill pan! Horror! The grill pan was disgusting!!! As soon as it became a respectable hour I texted Tina to apologize. A small comfort was that, somehow, we had managed to pay £75 more than we should have when we swapped mooring contracts, so I texted her to say that they should keep the extra money and use it to pay for a professional company to do the oven. 

Later that morning we drove our convoy to the storage facility and managed to increase the size of our unit, and of course, the bill, now paying £110 a month for the privilege. Over the next few days we did receive a couple of ‘how do you do this’ texts, but nothing major. We are now living with my parents’ full time and the realization that we have no weekend bolt-hole to escape to has quickly surfaced. Let’s hope the right house comes along soon so that we can start the next chapter. In the interim we are going to look for a Dub (VW camper), so that we can still feel the connection to outside living that we love so much, and that is not so far distant from boat life.

Tuesday 5th August 2014 – Farewell September Air

Sunny Intervals

25 C     14 C (night)


The day of moving out had arrived… and stress levels were at an all time high! I hadn’t managed to pack as much as I wanted or done enough cleaning. At 7am I was up packing and cleaning in my PJ’s. We had plenty of time, my dad was turning up with a van at 11am, and Tina & Steve’s house sale would complete at midday. Wrong! At 9:30 we received a call from them to say that they had already completed and the money was already in their account! The boat was in no way ready and my dad hadn’t even arrived yet. Packing then turned chaotic, disorganized and not at all helped when we ran out of boxes and bags. Loading the van became more time consuming because we hadn’t factored in the walking distance with all of the heavy items. 

Over the next few hours we were cramming stuff into the van and our two cars. I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we owned and how the bloody hell we had fitted it onto a boat! The original plan was that once we were fully packed, we would both meet Tina & Steve in the bank to transfer the money and sign the ‘Bill of Sale’. Instead I sent Si to the bank with a set of instructions and father and I continued packing, cleaning and testing the shaver socket with a tooth brush charger he had brought with him. Thankfully it worked. It was all rather hectic and just before Si returned, Tina & Steve’s daughters turned up with their goldfish. Rather embarrassingly I was still packing - then everyone else turned up. Si was able to distract the others by demonstrating how parts of the boat worked and helping them fill the water tank which gave me extra time. Even as I thought we were done someone said ‘are you taking the microwave’? We had our photo’s taken on the back deck with Steve & Tina and we had said our final goodbyes when another voice from inside said ‘is that your clock’?! Si and I departed in true boating style. We climbed into our canoe and paddled off into the distance. Well, almost. We paddled around the corner so that it was less distance to carry the 33kg canoe! We loaded it onto Si’s car and within that short space of time Tina, Steve and their kids had unloaded their one van. Looking at the amount of stuff we had in our van and 2 cars I realized that we would need to upgrade to a larger storage unit tomorrow. 

We set off in convoy for the dullest journey I’ve ever done to West Oxfordshire. We didn’t get above 50mph because Si had a great whacking canoe on his roof, but it gave us all time to reflect on the end of an era…

Monday 4th August 2014 – Still Boat Building!!!!!!!!

Sunny Intervals

24 C     14 C (night)


This morning I went off into Staines to buy packing materials, bubble wrap, boxes and bags. I bought the boxes from Argos and those large laundry bags from a pound shop. We had a few hours of packing before our first visitors of the day were due to turn up. 

Whilst I was out shopping Si was completing his last 2 jobs, attaching the bathroom radiator to the wall and attaching the Yale lock to the inside of the stern hatch lining. Fixing the radiator wasn’t too taxing, but trying to find 6 matching chrome screws was! The lock on the inside of the hatch lining was a completely different ball game. Si needed to chisel out the hatch lining to make the lock catch flush. Easy? Not when we are boat building. As a parting gift, the job involved a lot more work. On chiseling out the wood he discovered he had hit a corner brace and its associated screws. Heath Robinson then paid a timely visit. Instead of taking the hatch off, drilling out the plugs, removing the hatch liner panel, unscrew the corner brace, re-screw the hatch liner panel back on, re-plug the holes, sand and tidy the plugs and re-varnish the plug holes… he just smashed an old chisel through the metal corner brace. It did make us laugh, even up to the 11th hour nothing is as easy as it seems or should be! After getting through the corner brace the lock fitted and worked like a dream. In the afternoon Tina & Steve came over to sign the boat sale contract and visit the marina office. I had tweaked yet another sales contract because Steve & Tina felt a survey wasn’t necessary, mostly because of this blog. I am so pleased that after 6 years of writing this, it has had a use in the end! Once our contracts were signed by both parties, we walked them around to the marina office, giving a running commentary of people’s boats and interesting facts, like how much the tumble dryer costs. 

Suddenly it was all becoming very real that tomorrow the boat would be sold. Both parties were nervous; we were nervous giving up something we had put blood sweat and tears into for 6 years and we were to become complete land-lovers; they were nervous because it was a massive change downsizing from a large house to a boat. The only furniture we would be leaving with was our bed; the only furniture they would be arriving with was their bed. Over the last 6 weeks they had achieved the mammoth task of downsizing. Most people go from a 4 bed house to a 2 bed, what Tina & Steve were embarking on was Extreme Downsizing. Once Tina & Steve had left we had another visitor: Shufty, eager to drink a last toast to September Air. It was getting very late in the day now so I had to be rude and continue packing whilst talking, but he understood. 

Sunday 3rd August 2014 – Visitors Galore

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25 C     12 C (night)


The plan this weekend was to finish off the little jobs and have a few visitors over to say goodbye to us and the boat, in all her finished glory, and at some point I would need to start packing! Our first visitors were Lindsay and Barkis, so Ness & I went for a lovely long walk with them. Ness loves Barkis; he understands her being a mental Wheaten to. Lindsay and Mike have been very supportive over the years, and understand the trials and tribulations of living on a boat. Lindsay’s visit yesterday took us up to 6pm on Saturday. This morning at 11am more friends, Dave & Emma, arrived and cracked open a few beers. Neither Si nor I partook though; he couldn’t because of his concoction of pain medication and I had too much to do. We had a lovely time catching up but I didn’t expect it to be 3 hours. 

We had 30minutes grace before my parents and some family friends arrived. We put my dad to use by helping us wire up the shaving socket in the bathroom. It was not an easy task, fiddly and dangerous as he stabbed himself several times on the copper inners. I am happy to wire up 12v but not so keen on 240v, and he has years of experience. Although I made sure he checked and checked again that there was no power going through the wires. We have a beautiful expensive shaver socket, and once again have had it for at least 4 years before finishing the job. Unfortunately, it was only after it was in place that we realized we had nothing to test it with because we had left our toothbrush chargers at home. We made use of some space in parent’s car when they left, by packing some stuff that needed to go home, unfortunately in the process part of the companion set went for a swim and a gas strut on the engine bay went bang. Typical, we are moving out in 2 days and stuff starts breaking, I suppose it’s better now than once we’ve left. We took note of the gas strut information and were horrified to see that the connector bolt had sheared off. Let’s hope that the company still make them so that we can get replacement parts. After we had all indulged in a huge Chinese takeaway, my parents left at 10.30pm, so not only had we not achieved any packing, we now had the washing up from 6 adults to do as well! 

Saturday 2nd August 2014 – The Finishing Touches

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24 C     12 C (night)


It is a complete novelty that the stern hatch is working. Every time we use it, you have to think why hadn’t we fixed this years ago, and we probably have had the stainless steel runners that long. Honestly a slight push… wooooosssshhhhh, and it glides back. It opens the lounge up to all the light and the outside, its lovely! The boat sale is still on track, but there are still a few jobs to finish. Adding ventilation to the inverter cupboard was next on the list. We already have our own ventilation system: leave the cupboard door open, but we believe that when buying a boat for £89,950, you shouldn’t expect to have to leave the door ajar. Next to the cupboard are deep shelves so the plan was to cut through the 18mm ash faced block-board and attach a shiny louvre vent to the outside, between two of the shelves. Si cut the hole with a drill and a hand-saw because of the amount of wires in the cupboard, a jigsaw could be dangerous. It took him a while but eventually there was a massive ventilation gap. He then attached the louvre vent to the outside. It looked good, but I believed we needed a second louvre vent on the inside. The problem was, because the hole was cut by hand and in a tight space, the inside wasn’t straight, but also the inside of ply faced block-board isn’t very elegant. Si was a little miffed but saw where I was coming from and nipped out to Shepperton Marina to spend another £20 on a 2nd louvre vent. Once he had fitted it to the inside of the cupboard it looked a much more professional finish. 

Sunday 20th July 2014 – Writing a Boat Guide

Sunny Intervals

27 C     17 C (night)


On my return from Portsmouth the hatch was almost working. The slight issue now was that the hatch was now a bit low and you would have to lift it over the top of the stern doors to slide it back. A lot of boats do this for security but we have a different locking arrangement because our hatch lid is really, really heavy. This was nothing an angle grinder couldn’t sort out. Unfortunately ours was in storage because we thought we had no more use for it. Luckily our old neighbour lent Si a heavy duty angle grinder with a flapper disk. Si made a start and even though he shut the doors metal filings were going everywhere. We had to hoover up before Ness walked through them, but it was well worth the effort. The hatch glided back and forth like a dream! We now have a completion date with our purchaser for the 5th August, so in preparation we went through the shed at my parents looking for all the boat bits we needed to leave them. There were an assortment of paints and varnishes, extra fridge shelves, Celotex inserts for all of the windows, spare porthole window glass and spare tiles. I had also been busily writing a boat guide as an addition to all the manuals. Tina & Steve are complete boating novices, and realizing we were once novices to, I thought it would be a good idea to put everything we thought would be useful into a guide. It certainly went into detail, from what toilet paper to buy, to the strange noises the boat can make (banging, farting etc.).

Thursday 17th July 2014 – Hatch Runners only took 5 years!

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29 C     18 C (night)


There was still a list of jobs to do before we sold the boat, many we had got used to not being finished. One job was that the stern hatch still wasn’t sliding; we could often be spotted crawling out onto the back deck because a) we couldn’t open the hatch because there was only one set of hatch runners and we needed 2 sets to aid the sliding movement and b) we only used one door because Si’s fishing rods blocked the portside door. Our neighbours used to say we looked like moles in our hole. Si had organized some hired help to take the hatch off so that we could attach another set of hatch runners to the hatch part. Once again our old neighbour had cut us bespoke stainless steel strips to the correct size and thickness, because all of the off-the-shelf brass and plastic runners were too thick. Si had made several attempts to drill and screw hatch runners before, normally ending up with broken drill bits. I remember on one hole he broke 3, so this time he was armed with heavy duty steel liquidizing drill bits. I took him a while, due to the pain attacks, but he managed to attach them. Luckily it wasn’t due to rain overnight, because the hired help to put the hatch back on wasn’t coming back until tomorrow. 

Sunday 6th July 2014 – Tourettes Takes Over

Light Rain

22 C    14 C (night)


Tina & Steve were coming over today to pay July’s mooring installment and to show 2 of their children what they were about to sell the family home for. Sadly I missed them because I had dropped Si off before heading down to Portsmouth; I had a fun packed week ahead teaching sailors. While I was away Si would be on the boat, he was now unable to drive and was signed off work because of his prolapsed disc. The pain he’s in is extreme, to the point he almost blacks out. He is on every pain drug going and it’s agonizing watching him having a pain episode. Please don’t take it the wrong way, but it’s like he’s developed Tourette’s syndrome. Out of the blue he’d be shouting f**k, f**k, f**k, but at least he wasn’t going to offend my parents whilst on the boat. In a way him being signed off was good timing, because he could get to spend his last few weeks on the boat, at least there he could freely scream without fear of offending.

Sunday 15th June 2014 – A Month Wasted!

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13 C     8 C (night)


What a turn of events. Our prospective buyer has changed. The original buyer, Dilbert eventually owned up to putting a deposit on another boat. His lack of communication spoke volumes, but we also had spoken to his supposed surveyor. Yes, they had several conversations but he hadn’t confirmed his booking. The silver lining was that he felt so bad he let us keep the £500 deposit, not much of a consolation prize but it would pay for a months mooring that we had wasted waiting for him. After these events had unfolded we contacted the married couple whose house was sold subject to contract to let them know that September Air was back on the market. Very quickly they replied saying “bad news for us but brilliant for them” and offered us the asking price. Their money was tied up in the house sale so couldn’t pay a deposit but were willing to pay our mooring costs until the house completed. We felt a bit bad about this because what would happen if the house sale fell through? In the end we came to an agreement: we would return half of the mooring costs they paid, if they completed the purchase before September 1st. During the week I had drafted another contract, titled Pre-Agreement. I was starting to become a dab hand at writing contracts and using legal speak. I emailed it to them to confirm they were happy and from there we arranged for them to come over to see the boat again (more cleaning), sign the agreement and pay the first mooring installment. We were expecting a bank transfer so were slightly surprised at a wad of cash, we are children of the plastic card and internet banking era. Not complaining though, money is money in whatever form!

Tuesday 3rd June 2014 – Dilbert Dwindling

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20 C      12 C (night)


Well the week’s events had been interesting. The short story is that communication dwindled between us and Dilbert. From being in contact most days to communication silence. We were having serious doubts which were only to be confirmed on Friday evening when he made a classic mistake. Do not say “you have not received an email” by text and then quote the email in the same text! On a different note, I had received an email from another couple interested in the boat, normally we wouldn’t have said yes to them having a look because we had a gentlemen’s agreement with the other chap. We made it clear that she was under offer but that they were welcome to come and have a look incase the sale fell through. Once again I had to clean the boat, I was now really bored of this! The boat wasn’t really dirty at all, but you feel you need to go over the top when attempting to sell. We imparted our knowledge over 3 hours because once again they were complete novices, the big difference being, they were our first couple, not a divorced man in sight. Their reasons for living on a boat were to down size and reduce their outgoings… 

Saturday 24th May 2014 – Learning Legal Speak

Rain

16 C     8 C (night)


We had taken the week off work and finally we had been on holiday, well, 4 days in Devon and I got to go surfing twice. Only baby waves but I managed to surf at 7am on my birthday. That was a birthday present in itself but the icing on the cake was that I had a new toy: a GoPro camera. Basically it’s a waterproof video camera that I attached to my board and then made the most awesome surf movie! Si had other ideas for my GoPro, obviously involving filming fish. Somehow I got roped into sitting at the front of the canoe with the camera attached to a piece of wood that I was holding in the water, whilst he canoed around his best fishing spots. The play back was dull, visibility was poor and the only fish was a milli-second of a pikes tail. Back to boat building. Si made a start on the wood-burning stove surround; these were to be the two sides and top of the tiled back. He was making them out of solid ash, designed so that the trim would lip the tiles. Dilbert, the prospective boat buyer, was coming for his third visit, you couldn’t fault him for his keenness, but I was getting fed up cleaning the boat. Over the last few weeks I had been getting quotes from boat solicitors to put the sale paperwork together but in the end I researched boat sales contracts and we hashed several together to create our own. I had also booked us into the slipway for September Air to be surveyed and blacked, at the buyers request. Our only concern was that we had only received £500 deposit and he had now cried off signing the contracts this weekend due to child commitments. During the week I had spent many a late night checking and rewording the contracts for Dilbert to sign this weekend, so ‘annoyed’ was rather an understatement!!!

Monday 5th May 2014 – Divorce.com

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18 C     5C (night)


Over the course of the last 2 weekends we have had 3 prospective buyers: Boris, Edgar and Dilbert, obviously not their real names but, real names or not, one thing they did have in common was that they were all getting divorced. I had originally joked that we needed to advertise our boat on divorced.com because the majority of our neighbours are middle aged men who have gone through a divorce, couldn’t afford to buy property, and “wanted to live the dream”. We spent nearly 2 hours with each of them because they were all complete novices to boat living. We felt matriarchal towards them, giving them as much information as we could to make sure if they didn’t buy our boat that they wouldn’t make mistakes with whatever they ended up buying. On our way back to Oxfordshire and within an hour of each other, two of the prospective buyers offered the asking price. We had recently dropped the asking price to £89,950, it looked a better figure and the local boat sales had valued her in the region of the mid to late eighties. We only put her up in the nineties to allow for their 6% commission, so if the boat sold for £89,950 we were already financially better off. The only issue was that neither of their divorces were finalized and both required bridging loans until their divorces finally did go through. We went with Dilbert because we thought he was closest to the divorce finishing line and had already gone to see other boats.

Saturday 26th April 2014 – 10,000 hits to Advert

Sunny Intervals

16 C     8 C (night)


Si was still continuing to varnish the hatch liner whilst high as a kite on pain killers and I was spring cleaning the boat, making the hob shine! The reason was that we had our first prospective buyer visiting tomorrow! We were surprised at the number of hits on our Apolloduck advert, within a week we had 10,000 hits with 5 people watching the advert. We had no idea what ‘watching the advert’ meant for them or us, but it was encouraging. A big issue was that our advert was dropping down the page as other people created new adverts, within 2 days you could be on the 2nd page.

Saturday 19th April 2014 – Prolapsed Disc…….Ouch!

Sunny Intervals

14 C     4 C (night)


Si was still varnishing the hatch liner. It took a good two hours to paint each coat and due to only getting 1 day a weekend to boat build now, it would take at least another two weekends to finish it. Plus he was trying to do this with a prolapsed disc. We had paid for a private MRI scan because the NHS were taking so long, the main aim was to see if we could speed up the process. It didn’t seem to be working but at least we now knew what was causing so much pain. We had also made the decision to give up with the onsite boat sales company last weekend; they didn’t seem too concerned; to be honest their specialty is plastic boats. This meant we were free to advertise September Air ourselves and could lower the asking price to £92.950 because we had no commission to pay. Another task on our ‘need to do list before selling’ was servicing the engine. Handily, one of our neighbours on the pontoon is a boat mechanic and he could not only service the engine but also fit the new starter battery. The engine has only cruised around 40 miles, not a huge amount of use in the 5 years since it was installed, but we thought for potential buyers a service would enable peace of mind. In total it cost £350, and once serviced I tweaked the advert to make it another reason to buy our boat. 

Saturday 5th April 2014 – Craft Identification Plate

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15 C     6 C (night)


A big moment happened today: the brass plate with September Air’s Craft Identification Number arrived in the post during the week from our surveyor Tim and we were able to screw it in it’s rightful place. We housed it in the cupboard below the electrical distribution panel. We were now official! Si then made a start on varnishing the stern hatch liner, which would need the obligatory 4 coats… 

Monday 31st March 2014 – Heath Robinson Strikes Again

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17 C     10 C (night)


Today Si made a start on the stern hatch lining; he had previously cut the wood but realized he couldn’t glue the hatch together because we had taken his very long sash clamps back to my parents. Now the clamps had returned he could get to work trying to put even pressure on all sides of the hatch liner though this was going to take a while to set up. My task was to start drilling through the oak desk top in the 2nd bedroom. We had originally bought a lovely pop-up electric socket that seem to be all the rage in new kitchen islands, but on measuring it we realized it was too deep to be housed in the boiler cupboard and would look messy anywhere else because it would be visible under the desk top. Instead we opted for a simple desk tidy; really it’s just a cover and a nifty way of plugging in your laptop without the cable coming up over the front of the desk.  It cost £6 from Amazon instead of the £60 for the pop-up socket. We still needed to drill a 64mm hole into the lovely big varnished oak desk though. I measured it up and drilled the centre hole to guide the hole-cutter, but after that I asked Si to take over. I wasn’t tall enough to reach across the desk to apply even pressure on the hole-cutter. We soon realized this was not going to be a quick job, slowly does it so as not to scorch the wood, but the cutter also had a tendency to lock up in the wood and it would all come to a juddering, grinding halt. If you weren’t careful you could possibly lose control and end up gouging out other parts of the lovely big varnished oak desk! We eventually got through the 18mm of solid oak with only a little repair work to do on the white paint on the wall underneath which got marked by the drill banging into it. The hole was still a little too small though because we didn’t have the exact size hole-cutter; the next few hours would be painstakingly hand sanding it. To make the job quicker we constructed a ‘contraption’ by wrapping sand-paper around the hole-cutter and using it as a drum-sander. We found out that it’s important to wrap the sand-paper around the right way… Rather Heath Robinson but it worked a treat! Putting the desk tidy in place was very pleasing; it looked so good we thought that the other side of the desk could do with one, but we would have to find a spare afternoon and more nerves of steel to cut another hole…

Saturday 15th March 2014 – A lesson in Marketing

Sunny Intervals

18 C     7 C (night)


Sadly the crowds of prospective buyers hadn’t appeared, not helped much by the sales team. After a week our boat wasn’t even up on their website. It took several phone calls and lots of pressure to get it there in the end. We were also annoyed that the only external website we found ourselves on was Boats24. When signing up and being given the sales patter we were told September Air would be advertised on Apolloduck but every time we asked why we weren’t on it yet, we were told that they had used their free tokens up. We weren’t impressed because it only costs £9.95 to put an advert up for 3 months, and any boater will tell you to look there first. We were also angry because last Sunday we received a phone call from one of their sales team asking if our boat was for sale?! He had just shown a couple around the only other steel widebeam on their books and then only just discovered our boat was for sale with them after finding our details on a desk. I was fuming! The reason we went through a sales agency was because we were unsure on the documentation and legal contracty stuff required. We thought it was worth the 6% commission to get this security and piece of mind. All well and good if they get a buyer, but to do that it needs to be advertised I guess…  On the boat building front, we attached new curtain pole ends on the bathroom and master bedroom doorways, and put up a new curtain pole on the kitchen door. I had also bought 2 more pairs of eyelet curtains, one for the kitchen doorway and the other to replace the paint splattered bathroom pair. 

Sunday 2nd March 2014 – For Sale Photographs

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11 C     0 C (night)


We came back down to the boat yesterday and my objective for the weekend was to take the ‘for sale’ photographs that would say ‘homely, and you really want to part with your money’. This would involve a lot of work, moving boat building tools and piles of wood out of view, then moving them somewhere else to be able to take a different angle. We had signed a contract with the onsite boat sales company. We were begrudgingly doing so because their commission was astronomical, a whopping 8%. Luckily they felt sorry for our situation, losing the £20k etc, so kindly offered a commission rate of 6%. The boat was going to go on the market at £94,950 and because of the commission the lowest offer we could accept was going to be £92,000. The sales team had offered to take the photographs, but I knew with my gear I could take better; but more importantly, I   could work around our junk. Taking the photo’s turned into a whole days work, and that didn’t include downloading the images and tweaking the exposure/contrast. By 4pm I had them on a flash drive and we dropped them through the sales letter box as we left for Oxfordshire. During the week I created a “for sale” page on our website, you never know who might be viewing our site… 

Friday 28th February 2014 – Sofa Bed is never coming Out of the Boat!

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8 C     2 C (night)


In the end it was just shy of 3 weeks that we couldn’t get back to the boat and thankfully the river levels never went higher than on the Monday that we were evacuated. We managed to keep a close eye on what was happening because the media were broadcasting our area using helicopters, some were even stupid enough to take boats out on the river. One group launched from Penton Hook, the locals were fuming! We have friends on the river and through text messages we knew that Lindsay had evacuated with their dog. They had to walk ½ a mile to find grass for Barkis to have a pee. Mike stayed behind because of the looting in the abandoned area. No, we couldn’t believe it either. He even bought himself a 4x4 to be able to get out through the 3ft deep water. Minor I know, but the floods had delayed us getting our sofa-bed down to the boat. I’d already had to cancel one van that we had booked; the company was okay because everyone was aware of the problems down there. In the end we hired the van 6 miles from my parents then came back to theirs to collect it. The sofa was originally bought 6 years ago; it was even delivered to Sharpness, but we moved it out of Big Fishes warehouse because it easily could have walked. Instead we moved our £1000 sofa bed into my parents little bedroom, and there it has remained to my mothers disdain. The only time it had been used was by us when my sister came to visit and we were kicked out of our bedroom. At least we knew the bed was comfortable! We loaded the van and the three of us (myself, Si & my dad) took a road trip. My dad had volunteered to drive the van, but we also needed him to help me carry it down the pontoon and into the boat because Si’s back ruled him out of lifting anything. We eventually got the sofa bed into the boat, we took the inners out to make it lighter, but even then it was bloody heavy! Getting it out of the house wasn’t easy but the 500yards to the boat really hurt!!! Once in the boat I made the promise that we would be selling the boat with the sofa-bed included!

Monday 10th February 2014 - Evacuation

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9 C     4 C (night)


We had left the marina yesterday afternoon not expecting to be returning until next weekend. Obviously we had been watching the EA’s website and had seen that the river had gone up a further 10cm overnight. On checking friends on Facebook I caught news that the marina may possibly be closing, so phoned the office to find out. The marina was not only going to evacuate everyone and lock the gates at 5pm this evening, but they were also turning off the electricity supply to the pontoons. This would mean that our freezer would defrost on our lovely new £1200 oak floor. We cleared it with our bosses and flew out of work at midday. 

We arrived to a scene of devastation: parked cars down the A320, police manning road blocks, search & rescue boats, the fire brigade… it looked like a natural disaster movie, and actually was! Luckily our boat goes up with the floating pontoons and the increase in water levels; the park homes and expensive houses along the Thames do not. We had 4 aims this afternoon: 1) defrost the freezer, 2) switch off all the electrics, 3) collect Si’s car, 4) collect Wilf’s memory box. In the end we didn’t achieve them all and some not very well. On arrival we unhooked the electrics and made sure nothing was pulling power that would drain the leisure batteries. Then I started defrosting the freezer with the help of boiling water in bowls to speed it up. Whilst doing that we were helping a family evacuate their boat by using our canoe. I was a little nervous for them so we did offer them our buoyancy aids, but really I was more nervous of their massive 9 month Husky freaking out and capsizing the lot of them. In actual fact the dog took it in his stride and the family safely beached the canoe into the car park. A great story for another day! And yet another surreal vision for us: we are usually well below the level of the car park, yet today we could see over the roof of the toilet block! Unfortunately we got so carried away chatting to neighbours and helping others that we forgot about the freezer. Yep, you guessed it, the freezer had defrosted on to the oak floor and now we had to start mopping up. We collected Wilf’s memory box and secured the boat before the last job, collecting Si’s car to take it back to Oxfordshire. Only there was a slight problem, the water was now too deep to drive it to safety. Instead, we had to find the highest piece of ground on the west side of the marina. Honestly, people were fighting for mounds that were an inch higher than the road. 

Sunday 9th February 2014 – Playing in Puddles for Grown Ups

Sunny Intervals

9 C     6 C (night)


This morning we needed to replace the fire rope and fire putty, but we were trying something new. Previously we have tried fire cement and fire putty but this time we had bought a couple of cartridges of fire sealant. The process is usually messy. First you need to get rid of all of the old sealant. Then you have to stuff new fire rope into the collar and reseal it with the new putty by trying to make it stick to the fire rope and the collar and the flue. Inevitably, with your fingers. The annoying theory of gravity means the putty wants to come back down. This latest idea of sealant in a cartridge uses a cartridge gun to force the putty up into the collar and it turned out to be the most successful and cleanest method yet. To finish the fireplace we replaced the collar surround with a flat plate of stainless steel. Previously we had a circular collar surround screwed into fireboard. The issue was that the fireboard didn’t stand up to any moisture coming off the bare steel roof surrounding the collar when the fire wasn’t in use. We had originally designed the collar to be removable, so as to easily replace the sealant, but both the wood surround, and fireboard didn’t survive the first removal. We went back to our lovely metal working neighbour and asked him to create a square metal piece that completely covered the fireboard with a big round hole in the middle for the chimney. Once screwed in, Si started on trimming the new surround plate with 12mm beading. Before we headed west we went for a walk around the marina to see the extent of the flooding, it was extreme! I suppose when the water level is 2.5 metres higher than normal, the marina is always going to look surreal!

Saturday 8th February 2014 – Waders Ahoy!

Rain

10 C     7 C (night)


On waking up this morning, both Si & I rolled over to check the Environment Agency’s website because it displays the reading from the river level gauge at Penton Hook lock. Normally it would read twice a day, but due to the fast rising water it was updating every hour. With the level still rising, I was gong to be pushing it to get to the car park toilets with my wellies. Borrowing Si’s meant I could get off the pontoon because his were a bit higher. We needed to replace the ageing fire-rope and putty around the flue of the wood-burner, and it gave us the ideal opportunity to replace the base plate. We had ill advisedly painted the original steel baseplate with a black paint, but it hadn’t stood the test of time. Si had to keep using a marker pen to cover up the inevitable chips and marks. Our old neighbour had kindly cut us a new plate; this time slightly shorter, to avoid the over hang, but also cut it from stainless steel. The idea was that if it got scraped we could call it “character”... We took down the flue, which wasn’t as dirty as we were expecting. We then unscrewed the stove from the base and gently lifted it onto strategically placed carpet off-cuts to save denting our wonderful new oak floor. Si drilled holes in the new base plate using the old version as a template, and within no time it was in place. To finish the flue, we needed new fire rope and putty. 

The best place for this is the chandlers in Iver, but that meant we both needed to go out, and my wellies were now not tall enough! I’m sure Si would have offered to carry me but his back wasn’t great, so I opted for a solution that I had seen other boat folk fashioning: Bin liners over my wellies. I have seen others go a step further and duck tape them to their trousers, but I just wanted them for a one-off because were on our way to buy waders. It wasn’t the easiest method of walking: trying to move forwards holding bin liners up round your thighs, but it didn’t help that Si and I were creasing up! Definitely one for the ministry of funny walks! I made it to the car park and just in the nick of time, I had ripped through one with my heel. We went to Iver and noticed the luxury of living on a canal: not being effected by the floods. Unfortunately the chap who sold us the fire putty said he was moored on the river at Wraysbury and that they had given up with Waders because their garden was already 6ft under; they had resorted to using a canoe to get to their boat. To make matters worse, his wife was 8 months pregnant! We returned to the boat via our local Angling shop. You could tell the area was in flood by the piles of waders on the shop floor with A4 signs stating their size and (inflated) price. Annoyingly the last pair of size 5 had just been bought, but trying them on I ended up with a pair 3 sizes bigger and Si 4 sizes bigger. Once back to the marina car park, we were like excitable children putting them on. Remember playing in puddles as a child or watching toddlers with tiny wellies splashing in puddles? Well this was the grown up version! Once we’d made it back to the boat and toweled our waders down and taken a few photo’s we found another excuse to go out to the car park! The bin needed emptying, oh and yippy so did the toilet! Back and forth we went, enjoying the strange sensation of wading through the flooded Thames while staying completely dry! On our last trip of the evening we had to stop to let a swan swim past, totally surreal because we were on the footpath. 

Friday 7th February 2014 – Oak Flooring!!!!!!!!!!!!

Showers

10 C      6 C (night)


We came back to the boat yesterday evening without Ness. The plan was to move the majority of our stuff out of the lounge because the floor fitters were coming tomorrow, though now you could now hardly move in the rest of the boat. This morning’s task was to move the sofa. Luckily it wasn’t raining because the only place we had room for it was on the pontoon. Another issue was the rising river level; the rain over the last few weeks had not stopped. Every morning driving to work we’d go over the bridge at Lechlade and see the flooding. Lechlade is the start of the navigable Thames, but it was now hard to distinguish what was the river because the fields were flooded as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately we knew that in 2 to 3 days the amount of water at Lechlade would find its way down to the boat in Chertsey. 

We had warned Surrey Flooring that they may need to bring Wellies just incase, and indeed that morning it was definitely wellie territory. When we arrived last night we’d managed to get from the car park to our pontoon wearing trainers, but not this morning. The water was at least 10cm deep. I greeted the 2 workmen to find out that only one of them had brought any boots and these were short calf-length affairs, so we lent the other one Si’s rigger boots. They found that if you were just standing in the water, the boots were adequate, but not when you are walking up and down carrying oak flooring, underlay and cutting equipment. It wasn’t long before the little guy had water in his boots. He ended up working barefoot with his drenched socks hanging up, so we offered him a pair of Si’s socks. I’m fairly sure this wasn’t a typical days work for them. We decided that the best plan was to leave them to it, so headed out to treat ourselves to lunch and a spot of shopping, getting back late afternoon. Wow! Wow! Wow! The finished flooring looked amazing and made such a difference to the ambience of the boat! We had become so accustomed to WBP ply floor, we now felt incredibly posh!

Saturday 1st February 2014 – 12 hour Boat Building per Weekend

Heavy Rain

9 C     6 C (night)


It is amazing what you get used to when living on an unfinished boat; unfortunately, to the eye of a buyer, the unfinished parts are very noticeable. This weekend, or should I say today’s task, was for Si to make a piece of oak trim to fit across the stern cupboard tops, just above the freezer. Sadly we have realized that the weekend boatbuilding is really a 12 hour period. Normally, we would travel down to the boat on a Friday afternoon/evening after work, but before we could do that we would need to drive 25 miles north to collect Ness, and then join the Friday evening rush hour traffic through Oxford. Like a lot of people, our working weeks are busy, which means that Saturday morning should be our deserved lye-in, to recover from the early starts. By the time we get up, brunch, and start boat building, it is easily 1pm. If you then add Sunday morning to boat build, and tidy up, before we then head back West at 4pm, we roughly get 12 hours max. Surely having been building her for 5 ½ years, another year isn’t going to hurt? Well actually it is, we are already fed up (again!) of living out of suitcases. It hasn’t helped much either that we’ve already looked at a few houses in Lechlade on Thames. We realize we can’t make an offer until we have a buyer for the boat, and she’s not even for sale yet!

Saturday 25th January 2014 – Discovered a quicker Method

Light Rain

12 C     7 C (night)


Si’s task this weekend was to finish off the wall and ceiling trim in the bathroom. He had given up attaching the thin, solid ash beading to the ply; instead using wider solid ash with the beading routered on it. It would have been much more expensive to do the trim this way, but it would have been far quicker, and probably much neater, but now we had a growing pile of off-cuts and not many jobs to do with it, so we could start using it up.

Saturday 19th January 2014 Poo Bags Essential Item for Painting

Sunny Intervals

8 C     7 C (night)


Last week I had ordered a ladder shelving unit from M&S for the 2nd bedroom. It starts with deeper shelves at the bottom and gets shallower as they go up. It wasn’t rocket science to put together; we just needed the room to do it. The shelves weren’t too expensive at £109, but they made a massive difference to the room. I had also bought from home a few of our nice nick-nacks and books, to make it look a bit more like a show home. I realize there are still a lot of dust-making activities ahead, but we will soon have to take the ‘for sale’ photographs’ and it will all help. I was probably getting ahead of myself, so back to the reality of more boat work. I was painting the kitchen/lounge ceiling to give it a refresh, but I was using the bathroom version of the Dulux Timeless to make it a wipeable surface. Once I had popped all the lights out of the ceiling I covered them with handy sized poo bags (unused!), and I was ready for more neck and right arm ache!

Sunday 5th January 2014 – Double Aerial Sockets

Light Rain

9 C     0 C (night)


This morning I had bought two aerial sockets from Homebase. I couldn’t decide on the design, so I bought both for Si to have an input on the decision. Si was fitting a TV aerial socket to the side of the kitchen cupboard. It wasn’t the original plan, but when we extended the kitchen by 15cm to fit the wine fridge (and obviously to make room for the sink…) it meant that the aerial cable now came out of the side-paneling through the back of the cupboard and needed another exit point. Si cut out the hole making sure it was far enough back not to impede the cupboard’s pull-out wire rack. He attached the socket front and put it to the test that evening for Match of the Day 2. I offered for him to watch it on the 22” TV in the bedroom, because he had plugged in the old 16” in to the new socket. I struggle to see the footballers on it, let alone who they are!

Saturday 4th January 2014 – Which Floor?

Rain

9 C     7 C (night)


This morning I had arranged for Surrey Flooring to come over to give us a quote for fitting oak flooring in the kitchen/lounge. We considered doing it ourselves, after all we have pretty much built the whole boat, but we are running out of enthusiasm and more to the point, annual leave. By getting in a professional it should take them a day to lay it, whereas it could take us a week! Also it would cost us £700 for the materials alone. We looked at an assortment of colours, grains, widths, texture etc. and eventually chose the classic engineered oak flooring. It looks like solid oak and can also be sanded down, but hopefully comes without the side effects of warping etc. With the extreme temperatures on the boat, the expansion gaps would need to be very generous. The engineered oak was the best decision. The quote came in at £1200 which was a bit more than we expected, but we agreed it was the right thing to do. I suppose I should have gone to get a few more quotes, but the guy had a really good reputation, so we thought what the hell! We have already gone over the boat budget, but if it will help the boat to sell… why not! We now understand how people on Grand Designs always go over budget; you can get quite lackadaisical… it’s only money! 

Once Surrey Flooring had left, I set to finishing last week’s boat washing attempt. I nearly managed the entire boat, just missing the port-side. It was too cold to attempt that as well, and the thought of accidently going for a swim did not appeal. Instead, I would rely on the rain to wash the portside, and there was no shortage of rain! While I was freezing my butt off, Si was inside varnishing the hatch surround, and this was going to be a slow job. When it comes to varnishing, Si is far more patient than me; he brushes on the varnish one way, tips it off the other. I’m more of your slap and dash kind of varnisher, but saying that, he has never complained at my varnishing ability, so it can’t be that bad! He also hung the finished doors on the boiler cupboard in the 2nd bedroom. Wow! It made such a difference to the room! It now looked like a proper room/office. 

Sunday 29th December 2013 – Sorry, did I get you?

Sunny

8 C     0 C (night)


The Christmas period was busy. It wasn’t really the much needed break from work, but we don’t often get the opportunity to see the whole family. We were back on the boat and my parents were coming down for dinner today. For a long time I had been promising to give the boat some desperately needed TLC, well just a wash would do to start… I dressed in full waterproofs because I knew I was going to get wet. The first reason is that my knees are rubbish; I can’t kneel or squat without regretting it later, so I would need to sit on the wet steel. The other reason was that my mother was in control of the hosepipe. I’m not saying she doesn’t have much spatial awareness, I just know she will find it hilarious to soak me and father on the odd occasion, obviously accidentally… The boat was filthy; we really don’t give the outside as much attention as we should. In some ways she needs just as much maintenance on the outside as inside. We only managed to achieve washing the roof before the light started to fail, but at least it was a step in the right direction.

Tuesday 24th December 2013 – Finally the Christmas Tree goes Up!

Rain

9 C     8 C (min)


What a night. All of us were thankful the high winds had died down. Poor old Ness was so frightened that she was sat between us on our pillows all through the night. She wasn’t the only one to be thankful; 25 ton September Air was being blown around and slammed against the pontoon enough to lose your balance! With the dry weather we took the opportunity to decant unwanted items from the boat into Si’s car; this included the chest of drawers, the window cellotex, clothes horse etc. It is very tempting to put it all back in the 2nd bedroom, but we need to give the illusion of space when trying to sell her. I re-oiled the worktops for a second time; it was far easier because they were not as thirsty as yesterday, so it only took half the time. It being Christmas Eve, I finally managed to put up our Christmas tree, if only to enjoy her for 30 minutes before heading back to my folks, to start the Christmas madness. 

Monday 23rd December 2013 – Clean v Messy

Heavy Rain + Gales

10 C     4 C (night)


Once again we were having conflict of work interests. Si wanted to do dirty work, I needed a clean environment. I had decided that it would be a good time to re-oil the worktops. They were in a terrible state from watermarks and general hammering, but the beauty is you can make them look like new again. I used the new orbital sander, a much smaller unit than before and cheaper, only £50. I was dubious because when I’d seen Si using them on the doors it looked like the pad was hardly moving. A downside is that there is no variable speed switch, but my doubts were laid to rest on my first go. Without any effort I was back to fresh, bare wood. I used a 240 grit to finish them off and then handed the mess making baton over to Si. He routered the edges of the boiler cupboard doors to fit perfectly into the boiler front frame with a 2mm gap around each edge.  The weather was foul; gales, horizontal rain and according to the weather forecast it was going to last till 6am tomorrow… Hooray! Si ended up sanding the doors inside, normally this would have never happened but the new orbital sander has such good dust extraction. Once he’d finished I could get on with oiling the worktops. I applied it with a brush and watch the colour change before my eyes. Whilst occasionally holding on because the wind outside kept making you lose your balance. I let the oil soak in before wiping off with a lint cloth, but would have to wait 24 hours before applying a 2nd coat. We left the radiator on at room temperature overnight to give the drying process a helping hand. Si also varnished a beading strip through the day; it will go next to the boiler cupboard once it has had its obligatory 4 coats!

Sunday 22nd December 2013 – A Visitor Visits

Cloudy

9 C     8 C (night)


The weather was a vast improvement on yesterday but the water level had gone up at least another foot. More torrential rain is coming so we shall see if we will need wellies to get to the pontoon again, like last Christmas. At least outside was bright enough so that I could see where I was painting the 2nd coat of sheen on the kitchen wall and two ceiling panels. Si took advantage of the better weather and sanded the boiler cupboard doors outside on the pontoon. He managed to complete one before we had a visitor to inspect our new carpet… Shufty! He came armed with beer and wine for us, and treats for Ness, he can come again! (But he knows that!) He was very impressed with our progress. We had a lovely afternoon chatting and drinking beer; well, I left the boys to drink the beer while I decided to find homes for all the tools… underneath the bed, under the boiler, in the steps, all in the name of creating the illusion of space! 

Saturday 21st December 2013 – Short and Dull

Light Rain

12 C     9 C (night)


Still enjoying the carpet! What a treat to wake up and put your feet on warm carpet which continues as you go to the bathroom. It has taken 5 years to feel this! We felt that we had taken all of the glory yesterday without doing any of the work, so today was our day to make progress. I was going to paint the kitchen wall and a couple of the ceiling panels white again with the new sheen, harder wearing paint. It took me ages to tape up the shelves, sockets, light switches, tiles etc. By the time I started to paint it was 1pm, plus it was the shortest day of the year! I can’t even say the light was fading, because it had never really been there. It was so grey and dull all the lights were on all day, but still not helping that much to see what I should be painting. Si attached the oak desk supports and fitted the pre-prepared and painted white trim in place in the second bedroom. With the new carpet, we must admit, it was looking rather swish. 

Friday 20th December 2013 – We have Carpet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunny Intervals

10 C     2 C (night)


We had finished work for Christmas yesterday and drove to the boat to prepare for the carpet fitters. We moved everything out of the master bedroom and corridor into the lounge/kitchen, but still trying to allow enough room for them to get past with a 4m roll of carpet. We dismantled the bed this morning. I started to get worried that the carpet fitters were going to be a no-show but on taking Nessie out I found them wandering around the marina looking lost. Having given them directions to find Si, I took Ness out for a long walk to get her out of the way. By the time I returned all the underlay was down and the master bedroom carpet was going in.  In total they were there for 2 hours. The boat was transformed! Si hoovered up all the fluff and then we all took it in turns to lye on the carpet and have a mental moment, obviously all captured on camera because this was a very poignant moment of the boat build! 

Saturday 14th December 2013 – Adding Support

Light Rain

12 C     4 C (night)


I had another long week at work, training away from home. I was so pleased to be back on the boat, but my energy levels weren’t too bothered with boat building. Si was making the trim and the supports for under the desk in the 2nd bedroom because we had removed the temporary pine frame for me to paint the walls. The old frame was only a temporary fix and now we needed to upgrade to a more sophisticated look. He cut a front and wall side support for the desk from oak. A quick sand and they were ready for their first coat of varnish. Whilst he was at it he started on the trim needed now that the plumbing box top was in place. To make it easier for me to paint he attached the beading to the trim and used the router table to trim the two pieces flush. Previously we have been sanding the trim back flush. It’s always the way that you find the best methods with one of the last pieces of trim.

Sunday 8th December 2013 – Boat Alone

Sunny Intervals

12 C     4 C (night)


Si was boat alone today, he came back yesterday afternoon. The original plan was for him to come back Friday night but because I was away with work the next week, we realised we wouldn’t see each other for 9 nights, so he stayed an extra day. He did a coat of varnish on the oak skirting boards last night and one more this morning, once dry he screwed them to the wall and plugged them. 

Monday 2nd December 2013 – Ready to Cut Skirting

Light Rain

13 C     4 C (night)


Si finished the final coat of varnish on the 2nd bedroom plumbing top box and sides. He screwed the side of the plumbing top box in place and put the oak top on. He was now able to cut the oak skirting boards to the exact length. I was having a break from boat building; I was enjoying a shopping expedition and a catch up with a friend. 

Saturday 30th November 2013 – Need Lotto Win

Sunny Intervals

9 C     6 C (night)


It had been a long and crap week at work, and now we were wishing for a Lottery win! I had plans to paint the 2nd bedroom again but instead, had a much needed chill day. Si made a start varnishing the boiler cupboard front and the plumbing top box and managed 2 coats.

Sunday 24th November 2013 – Back Ache

Sunny Intervals

8 C     4 C (night)


After 6 hours of painting yesterday I had back ache, but today had to paint the 2nd bedroom all over again. I was hoping the 2nd coat would be enough, but sadly not, a third was going to be required. Si sanded down the boiler cupboard front and the plumbing top box, ready for their first coat of varnish. 

Saturday 23rd November 2013 – Clutter to Declutter

Cloudy

8 C      3 C (night)


We came down to the boat last night, this time without Ness. It made it easier because we could come straight from work, but it does feel like we are abandoning her, at least we know she is having a whale of a time.  I made a start clearing out the 2nd bedroom, not too quietly either because Si was still asleep, just a little prompt! Now that the 2nd bedroom was clear, the lounge was now chock a block! The problem with a boat is that when you have crap & stuff, there isn’t the luxury of a garden shed. I sanded down the plugs I had filled last weekend, wiped all the walls and frog-taped where needed. I made a start painting the entire bedroom white. Typically as soon as I started, the light became an issue. It was 2pm and the light was fading fast. This was not helped by the fact that the ceiling down-lighters were out of action, again placed in poo bags! Si was using the big lamp cutting wood, routering etc, so I resorted to using a head torch; luckily it was ok because I was painting white paint onto wood. For the second coat I would definitely need daylight. Si & I discussed what was left to do in the wood making department. The list wasn’t too long but we do have a lot of wood left. The problem is that many of them are 8ft lengths, which causes storage problems. Also, when we have the carpet laid, all of the contents of the bedroom, corridor and 2nd bedroom will need to go elsewhere! Si cut the 2nd bedroom plumbing top side, top and then routered the 2 skirting board lengths. He won’t cut the skirting boards to size until the plumbing top box and the boiler cupboard front are in place.

Sunday 17th November 2013 - 2nd Bedroom Prep

Cloudy

8 C     4 C (night)


I varnished the final coat on the kitchen door frame. Si took down the 2nd bedroom oak table supports to enable me to finish sanding the walls back and then I filled any gaps with the paintable sealant. Si set up the sash clamps to glue the boiler cupboard door frame overnight.  

Saturday 16th November 2013 – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Sunny Intervals

10 C     0 C (night)


Si fitted the door handles on the side hatch, I think we have had them over 4 years. Not quite sure it was worth the wait, but they do look good. Si made a start on the boiler cupboard front. All of the other cupboard fronts have been made with a single ash faced sheet of MDF, but we didn’t have a piece big enough. Instead of buying another expensive 8x4ft sheet, we used solid ash. Si biscuited the 4 pieces together, ready to be glued. He then plugged the stern hatch and ceiling trim in the lounge.  I plugged the holes in the 2nd bedroom, cut them back and finished them off with the detail sander to get a flush finish. 

Friday 15th November 2013 – Snug!

Sunny Intervals

10 C     4 C (night)


I prepared half of the kitchen ready to paint the ceiling but I didn’t get round to it. Si didn’t quite finish the beading in the 2nd bedroom yesterday, so continued this morning. I painted this beading with a quick coat of white because it then highlights the areas requiring sealant better. Si was plugging the holes in the trim until midnight. We put the stern hatch up, it was two person job. Annoyingly enough, because the sun was out, it had expanded the steel, meaning it was very snug. 

Thursday 14th November 2013 – Paintable Sealant – A Boats Best Friend

Cloudy

10 C     6 C (night)


On our way home last night we went via Homebase to get outdoor varnish. I needed to paint two coats on the inside of the stern door surround because it is in very close proximity to the steel. Si was in the 2nd bedroom cutting, gluing and nailing trim and beading. I was in the kitchen/lounge squeezing paintable sealant into any slight gap on the ceiling. With kitchen roll in abundance and water at the ready, it took me a good hour to seal the gaps. By the end of it I had lost two more layers of skin from my index finger again. 

Sunday 10th November 2013 – Just a mm off!

Sunny Intervals

10 C     5 C (night)


I painted another coat of white sheen on the ceiling trim/beading and, once dry, Si nailed and glued it in to place. I varnished the final 2 coats of portside ash beading in the lounge/kitchen. Si unclamped the stern door surround – part 3, to be able to put into place. Typically the bottom section was too tight, so routered a mm of the edge….to fit perfectly!

Saturday 9th November 2013 – Beading

Sunny Intervals

9 C     6 C (night)


Si made the final bits of trim needed for the lounge ceiling, which I was now able to paint in preparation for them going up. I also varnished the portside ash beading in the kitchen/lounge.

Sunday 3rd November 2013 – New Blind

Rain

12 C     9 C (night)


I painted the 2nd coat of white sheen in the bathroom and then the corridor ceiling; much easier with the morning sun shining through the windows. Si put up the kitchen blind that we had ordered from Blinds2Go. I had ordered samples from their website and from them we chose the English Oak. We measured the exact size 97cm x 67cm and hey presto it turned up 1 week later. 

Saturday 2nd November 2013 – 24 years…..

Sunny Intervals

12 C     7 C (night)


Yesterday was Si’s final day at work, a momentous occasion as he’d worked there for 24 years, he was a baby faced 17 year old when he started. As you can imagine, a momentous day deserves a momentous hangover! This weekend was full of excitement and nerves about his first day on Monday. To distract him we got stuck into boat building (!). I varnished the final coat on the 2nd bedroom door frame to be able to paint the corridor ceiling. Si G-Clamped the stern door frame surround - part one, after biscuiting all 3 pieces. This is the flat piece to the right-angle piece covering the steel.  I frog taped the corridor ceiling, removed the smoke alarm and covered the lights with poo bags to start painting the corridor ceiling. I also made a start on painting the bathroom but, as usual,  my major difficulty was the fading light and I had to bring the massive floor standing lounge lamp in to help illuminate things. 

Sunday 27th October 2013 – Throbbing Thumb

Sunny Intervals

15 C     9 C (night)


Si had a bad nights sleep due to his throbbing thumb, so bad he needed painkillers! He also had to go to work for a few hours this morning, and then banged his thumb on the handbrake 3 times; apparently he just shouted expletives at top of his voice. I knew he was in a lot of pain because I’ve only ever heard him complain about pain over this and an abscess on his tooth. All the other chunks he’s taken out of himself from the router, guillotine etc, he never mentioned. I get a paper cut and I’ll write about it on the blog. So I was giving him sympathy due to the rarity of him feeling pain. While he was at work it gave me the opportunity to varnish more of the stern hatch and finish painting the master bedroom ceiling.

Saturday 26th October 2013 – Squished Thumb

Cloudy

18 C     12 C (night)


Last night Si caught a 26lb mirror Carp, I wasn’t on the boat yet so he asked our neighbour to take the photos. Today I filled the gaps in the ceiling joints with paintable sealant. I also painted the master bedroom ceiling with the tougher sheen paint. I had planned to do a 2nd coat today but I had to give up because the level of light was impossible; probably not helped by the fact that the bedroom downlighters were covered in poo bags to avert paint splashes. We were both in the wars today, I was missing layers of skin from using my finger to smooth the sealant but Si’s was far worse. He had closed the steel stern door on his thumb; I knew it was bad because of the level of swearing. When he pulled his thumb from the door frame it was ½ the depth it should be, and the nail was already going black. Si being brave carried on and biscuited the stern hatch pieces together. I varnished the inside of the stern hatch surround with indoor varnish because we had run out of outdoor varnish, but it was going to need at least 5 coats to make up for it. 

Saturday 12th October 2013 – Getting High

Sunny Intervals

14 C     10 C (night)


We slept with the bed away from the wall last night which wasn’t too bad, but the paint fumes weren’t too nice. Luckily the wall only needed one more coat, it dried within a couple of hours, so we were able to put the bed back on its chocks, so that our head remains higher than our feet! 

Friday 11th October 2013 – Tougher Paint Time

Sunny Intervals

14 C     8 C (night)


Si screwed and glued the long trim & beading to the kitchen ceiling - with a little bit of help from an extra set of hands. He sanded the down the kitchen and 2nd bedroom door surrounds with the detailed sander because we still have no replacement for the orbital sander. Si gave me a hand to move the bed away from the bedroom wall. I frog-taped the lights, bedside cabinet and skirting board in preparation to recoat with new shinny harder wearing paint. I used the 4-inch roller but it still took me a while because of all the edges. Whilst I was in the bedroom Si made the beading for the corridor ceiling and above the door frames, ready for me to paint white. 

Sunday 29th September 2013 – Full Steam Ahead to Finish to Sell

Sunny Intervals

19 C     14 C (night)


With no more job applications or interview preparation we could now concentrate getting the boat finished ready to sell. If money wasn’t an issue we wouldn’t be selling her but we cannot afford a house and a 60ft boat, we are civil servants after all! Si cut 32mm strips of ash faced ply for trimming the corners in the lounge/kitchen where the oak shelves are. This meant they had to be cut in two for the kitchen shelf and in three sections for the lounge shelves. Whilst he was at it he cut the kitchen 32mm ceiling trim. This would go a long way to hide the undulating ceiling.

Saturday 28th September 2013 – Congratulations!

Cloudy

20 C     12 C (night)


Well he only went and got the bloody job!!! He starts on 4th November, we will finally be together and will have to live with my parents during the week. On the boat building front Si sealed the bow door drip and cut the trim for the starboard lounge cupboard. 

Saturday 21st September 2013 – Interview Practice

Cloudy

19 C     10 C (night)


Si put the job application in last Sunday and two days later was informed he had an interview, so this weekend was writing a 2nd load of competences and memorizing them. Luckily this could be done in between boat building so he managed to make 144ft of beading as well.

Saturday 14th September 2013 – Job Application

Cloudy

14 C     9 C (night)


Not much boat building was happening this weekend due to writing job applications. Si is applying for a job on the same site that I now work, a part of our master plan to move West. However, Si did manage to glue the beading in the corridor. 

Sunday 8th September 2013 – Getting Carried Away with 45 Degree Cuts!

Light Rain

19C     8 C (night)


Before Ness and Si got up I got on with putting another (and final) coat of sheen timeless on the kitchen/lounge trim. I then moved on to lightly sanding the stern doors before re-varnishing them, before going out.  It started to rain on route to Sainsbury’s and now looked to be set in. This meant I was not able to do the 4th and final coat. Si cut the ceiling beading to size with the guillotine. Followed by the 45 degree angles on the ends; it was only late in the evening he realised his big mistake, 3 of the strips did not require 45 degree angles because they met the door frames……PANTS!!!!

Saturday 7th September 2013 – Re-visiting Completed Jobs

Sunny Intervals

20 C     11 C (night)


The weather was better than forecasted so I was going to tackle the stern doors. They were now a very aged yellow colour, even black in some areas. I used the detailed sander to sand back and had to resort to sandpaper to remove the black bits. A quick wipe down and they were ready for their first coat of varnish. We are struggling to remember how many coats we gave them originally, but I do know back we used Diamond Glaze; now we use Ronseal Diamond Hard Interior Varnish which is much harder wearing! While I was outside Si could continue on from yesterday, using the router table to make more beading. Today it was the 1 inch ceiling beading. Once he finished, I could then paint the side trim of the kitchen/lounge with the new sheen Timeless paint. In turn this would allow Si to put up the trim soon. I taped the wall and covered the blinds to stop the roller slipping on to anything important. 

Friday 6th September 2013 – Swamped

Sunny Intervals

18 C     14 C (night)


Si took a day off work to crack on making the beading, he managed 64 feet and ended up ankle deep in sawdust. The product of a hard days routering!

Saturday 31st August 2013 – A Satisfactory Effort ….B+

Sunny Intervals

22 C     15 C (night)

Well today was our last day of boat building from our 2 week holiday… and boy we are knackered! Not helping was Nessie. She had another episode at midnight, lip smacking, gagging, and desperate to eat grass. The problem is that she gets herself so hysterical. It took the two of us to calm her down and Si fell asleep with her in the lounge until 3am. We are both gutted we haven’t got another week off; we’ve made so much progress, but we just want to make a little more. Block leave is how you need to do it, not just weekends. The problem at the weekends now is that we want to spend time with each other, rather than at different ends of the boat, building; plus you’re tired from the working week and just want to chill! Our next week off is October and we’ve promised ourselves an away break; but you know us, we never do! Today there was a huge list of tasks to complete. 


Si was routering corridor ceiling trim and drilling holes in the kitchen ceiling trim, ready for me to paint. I taped up the edges of the corridor door frame to start painting with the new sheen paint. I started with a brush but quickly gave up and moved on to a mini emulsion roller, much better finish and super speedy. Through the day I put 4 coats on the wall, both trim pieces and 2 coats on the corridor trim. The white wall made such a difference; it’s still a bit of a shock walking past it! Si bravely took of the frog tape on the bow deck for me, mainly because I was busy but if I pulled any paint off, I’d be really angry! He reported back the job was done and there were only a few minor areas. My next hurdle is to get over putting the dirty fire-wood back on my beautifully painted bow deck. I also managed the final coat of varnish on the taff rails. Not quite sure how many this must be, I’ve lost count, but the more the merrier! In the evening Si put the trim in place to complete our boat building for August. Tomorrow is mad cleaning day, collecting my parents from the airport, and returning Maisie.

Friday 30th August 2013 – Another Interruption

Sunny Intervals

25 C     14 C (night)

I’d had a bad nights’ sleep with Ness, so boat building wasn’t really my first concern. But hey, it’s not going to finish itself. I managed 2 further coats on the bow deck, and one more on the stern taff rails. I was going to paint the corridor wall white, but realised I needed to varnish the edge of the oak door frame first. I taped it up and proceeded to put 4 coats on it throughout the day. Si’s stern hatch was all glued and could go back into place, a very snug fit, sadly it’s not quite finished yet, but sooooo close. It will need to come down a few more times before it can be put up there permanently. Si also set to make trim for the end kitchen wall/ceiling and the corridor wall. The corridor was quite straight forward and he managed to use up a scrap of ash. The kitchen was going to be more time consuming due to the curve, it took two of us to keep putting it up, take another few millimetres off, put it up again. This was to make it a very snug fit, to smooth the curve of the roof panel out. Once again our boat building was cut short to go to the vet again. Partly to get some food that is gentle for dogs with stomach problems but also to get her checked out because she’d had a few episodes of lip smacking and gagging through the day. 

Thursday 29th August 2013 – Another Sander Bites the dust!

Sunny Intervals

24 C    14 C (night)

We arrived back from my parents’ yesterday afternoon and the boat was like an oven. The coolest place to be was outside, so it was a joint effort to seal the bow doors with clear sealant. Today I could finally start on the bow deck. I was supposed to do this originally until I saw how bad the bow doors were. I removed all the bow decks items again to begin sanding with the orbital sander with 120 grit. This was going to be a slow job, Si offered his assistance for awhile. When we swapped back and I used the sander again it was making a funny noise with a funny smell. “What did you do to it?” I think guilt must have kicked in because he offered to get the angle grinder out. Si then remained on the back deck while I went off to do the Sainsbury shop. On my return he had nearly finished, I made him lunch and we swapped over. He had ground back the majority of the deck paint; I just needed to finish off the edges with the detail sander. Afterwards I hoovered the back deck and washed it down before taping the edges up. After all that prep it only took 10 minutes to do the first coat of Hammerite. In between tasks, Si was sanding the stern hatch; two edges were in place now, just one final one to glue into place tonight. 


However, this evening didn’t go to plan. Ness had other plans… The emergency vet. Halfway round the walk she started gagging and frothing at the mouth, then would eat grass like it was life or death. I’d never seen her like it before! She worried us so much we took her to the emergency vet where she got an anti sickness jab and a thermometer up her bum.

Monday 26th August 2013 – Final Coat for the Bow Doors

Sunny Intervals

26 C     15 C (night)

Today we were off to my parents’ house for a very much deserved few days break. Before we could go I needed to get the last coat of varnish on the bow doors, and while I was at it another coat on the taff rails. I did the bow doors first because they would definitely need to be dry on our departure so that we could close them! It was a big job well done, and not one I had expected to do in our two weeks off. The original plan was just re-painting the bow deck. While I was varnishing Si sanded down the kitchen door frame upper section on the pontoon so that by the time I got round to varnishing the taff rails all the dust would have blown away. Finally we put everything back in place on the bow deck, cold frame, plant pots and lots of logs… We thought the marina wouldn’t be too impressed if we left them out. 

Sunday 25th August 2013 – Weather Forecasts…..all Wrong!

Sunny Intervals + Light Showers

25 C     14 C (night)

My plan today was the penultimate coat of varnish on the bow doors and another coat on the taff rails, the only issue was whether it was going to rain? We looked on 3 websites, they all said different. One said showers at 10am, another at 1pm and the third said no rain at all. We made our own interpretation and thought it was worth the risk. I did a coat on the taff rails and then took the dogs out for their morning walk, watching the clouds on my way round the lake. On my return I painted a test area of white paint. Originally I had bought matt Dulux Kitchen paint, colour Timeless. It is tough paint but is matt and has a very slight texture to it. The scrapes and squashed insects and occasional food splashes don’t clean off very easily. I was looking at alternatives i.e. egg shell, to have a surface that would be wipeable. It was on an off chance that I discovered that Dulux have just introduced Bathroom Timeless, perfect! Well not quite because no-one seems to have it in stock. I looked on the Dulux website to find that DIY stores can mix it up. So off I went and bought 1L to test it out. 


Si concentrated on the stern hatch. He had started it yesterday and had measured and cut the 3 strips which attach to the side hatch. Once again a curved roof is going to make this more difficult! He now needed to fine tune the 3 pieces to fit together. It was all going well for both of us, until I took the dogs out for their evening walk and halfway round it began to rain… Nooooooooooo!!!! Not one forecast said it would rain at 5pm! They were all wrong, very wrong! I phoned Si to see if he could take preventative action, but he was having dramas of his own. He was biscuiting the hatch side surround and because it has only 3 sides he had taped in two lengths of 2x2 to make it a rigid square. Unfortunately one piece fell out as Si was using the router to biscuit, landing on his head, which caused the biscuiter to bounce and take a chunk out of the face of the side hatch. On my return I turned into pragmatic Jacq and said that all we needed was a bit more trim to hide it. Sadly it wasn’t the only thing to get ruined. Our little tub chair now has a hole in it. A piece of wood was duck taped up temporarily and fell off, the 45 degree mitred edge went through the fabric. Si was so gutted, he loved that little chair. To make him feel better I found a replacement, which is real leather. I said Nana (I received a little inheritance) would buy it for him; she always liked to spoil him. And at the end she was just as much his grandmother as mine, so I’m sure she’d approve.

Saturday 24th August 2013 – Dreaded Shopping

Heavy Rain

19 C     17 C (night)

My main task today was shopping. We had planned to go together, safety in numbers, because we both hate it! But I decided I would go buy myself. I needed more work clothes, and bits and bobs. Si made a start on the stern hatch surround. The main part was in place and he now needed to make the oak trim that will attach to the bottom edge of the sides. He’d been waiting on the last timber order to be able to continue with it. Si cut all the pieces to size and mitred the joins at 45 degrees. I’d only put two coats of varnish on the taff rails yesterday, but the varnish was doing its job because the rain was pooling on them, looked very pretty. So much so I had to take a few photo’s. On my return (after spending lots of money: 2x dresses & 2x tops) I gave Si the new male to male aerial cable connectors I was also tasked with purchasing. He wired up the back of the box I’d put in on Thursday, attached the new cable and hey presto, a working TV with no aerial cable coming through the bow or wardrobe doors!!!

Friday 23rd August 2013 – What you Think is Going to be an Easy Task!

Sunny Intervals

28 C     17 C (night)

Today Si’s task was to make the last part of the kitchen door frame, the upper section. First he sanded down the top portside part of the kitchen door frame on the pontoon. He was hanging around waiting for a sander to become available. I had both the orbital and the detailed sander plugged into the extension lead on the back deck because I was sanding down the rest of the taff rails. I presumed they would be easier than the bow doors because they’re flat. Wrong! The varnish is so thick it just clogs up the sanding pads. I kept on swapping over the different sanders, just to give my arms a break. In the end I was very happy to give myself a break and offered both sanders to Si. It must have taken me over 3 hours to sand them back, much longer than I anticipated. I really wanted to get two coats of varnish on, because tomorrows' forecast was rain all day. In the meantime Si continued to cut oak to curved roof shapes, cutting away bit by bit. By the end of the day he had cut the 3 pieces, biscuited and glued the upper kitchen door frame section and I had put 2 coats of outdoor varnish on the taff rails. To say we were knackered was an under statement.  

Thursday 22nd August 2013 – Another Big Job out of the Way, Thanks to the Rain.

Rain

24 C     16 C (night)

Although I was complaining yesterday that it felt like ground hog day, today the rain had scuppered all our plans. Sadly Maisie (my parents’ dog) is scared of the rain. I woke up at 1am in a panic because the taff rails I had sanded and filled were exposed to the elements. In a vain attempt to save them, I wrapped plastic sheeting around them; probably too late, but it made me feel better. I also laid out a towel on the top of the internal bow steps, because I had removed all of the sealant around the doors and on the drip, to varnish them. Luckily the bow doors were fine but the taff rails were a hopeless quest. In the morning I woke quite early and sat in the lounge blogging, but eventually I went back to bed and joined Si, Maisie and Ness who were all fast asleep. I do feel like I achieve when all the dogs want to do is sleep, it also helps us on our boat building quest. We looked at the weather online to be informed it was going to be raining all day, well what do I do now? I discussed a few jobs with Si and decided to sort out the aerial in the bedroom. The final master plan is to feed the cable down the back of the wardrobe, through the bow water tank cavity and back up the other side to where the aerial socket will be, neatly behind the TV. 


I started by cutting the hole for the back box of the aerial socket. This took an age, 5 holes drilled in stages up to 8mm, then hand sawing the square. My next task was to work out the cable route and drill holes to guide it down, through, across and back up. It was a whole days job which involved Si at the end to help me guide the cable through, plus he’s a now a master at putting on the connectors to co-axial cable. Sadly we didn’t quite finish because we were lacking a male to male connect from the socket and if we wanted to watch TV tonight it meant we had keep the original F type to male connector. At least it was a big job out of the way. We were pleased with ourselves but the dogs weren’t impressed that they couldn’t go on our bed; it was covered with the contents of the bow steps and our drawers and wardrobes to allow us access. Si’s boat building relied less on the weather. He did need to sand the kitchen portside lower door frame that he’d unclamped this morning, but he could do that between the showers. His sash clamps had spent every night in the middle of the floor, but today they were getting some air by clamping the last piece of kitchen portside doorframe upright in to place. While the glue was drying he moved on to making the upper portside kitchen frame, it sounds simple when you say he routered, biscuited and glued it together, but this one had angles and cut out shapes.  

Wednesday 21st August 2013 – Ground Hog Day

Sunny Intervals

24 C     16 C (night)

The days were getting a little like ground-hog day: walk the dogs, sand the bow doors, varnish. Si’s mornings where also similar: unclamp the 2nd bedroom casing, sand it down on the pontoon, attach. At least we were both getting quicker, I’d finished by 1pm, but what to do next? What else needs repairing? The taff rails on the stern deck for starters. Where the 2 planks join together is terrible, the wood is cracked and black. I used the orbital sander, followed by the detailed sander on just the middle section. We searched through one of the plastic boxes in the 2nd bedroom trying to find the wood filler. We found 3 different types but this reduced to a choice of two when we opened them up. I decided on my weapon to fill the cracks in the taffs (!). Si attached the ceiling casing for the 2nd bedroom and moved onto the kitchen portside doorframe, with more routering and biscuiting. Tonight we are going to treat ourselves to a Pizza Express; well we are supposed to be on holiday!

 

Tuesday 20th August 2013 – That’s a Big Common

Sunny Intervals

25 C     12 C (night)

My morning started early, trying to avoid the heat again for the dogs’ first walk. On my return I sanded the bow doors again but this time with a softer 240 grit, to smooth off the wood before varnishing. I followed this by frog taping the glass and the steel edges. Finally I could get on with varnishing, this took for ever. I must have been sat there for 3 hours in total with just two breaks, one for a sausage sandwich and the other to take photographs of Si’s latest catch, a 20lb 4 oz Common Carp. He was well chuffed with himself, his last catch was May and this was his largest common carp! After all the excitement, Si continued his boat building. He was attaching the recently glued 2nd bedroom upright frame. Once again the mallet reappeared, I was quite happy with him using it until he reminded me the shower tiles were on the opposite wall. Luckily it fitted on with only gentle taps. Once this piece was in place, Si started routering the 3 oak pieces for the 2nd bedroom ceiling frame, finishing off with biscuiting them all together. This will be followed by another a late night gluing session; gosh we know how to live it up! 

Monday 19th August 2013 – More Repairs

Sunny Intervals

24 C     12 C (night)

I stayed up very late last night to wish my big sister a Happy 40th Birthday. A lye-in was required, but not too much, though last night was extremely late too. I was up and walking the dogs, trying to escape the hot part of the day. I was struggling for work to do because Si wanted to router and biscuit, i.e. make a mess, which clashes with everything I want to do. Instead I decided that I should repaint the front deck! I did the stern deck 2 years ago but didn’t get around to sorting the bow deck. It had several patches of rust, bubbling paint and was just generally untidy. 


I went off to Homebase for some red oxide, Hammerite and a few rollers. I then started clearing the bow deck, especially the stack of logs Si had cut up over the last few months. They do make a lovely feature looking through the bedroom bow doors, but they hold an army of spiders! Once cleared, I noticed how bad the bow doors were; in places no varnish remained. It seemed more logical to do the bow doors first then the deck. I then spent the next 4 hours sanding the bow doors with 120 grit, using up 10 sanding triangles. I finished it off with a wipe down. I couldn’t get all the stained black out where the watered had damaged it. Si recalled that the man who made them had only put one coat of varnish on. While I’d been sanding Si had unclamped a section of the kitchen door casing which joins the 2nd bedroom casing, He took it outside for a once over with the orbital sander. His first attempt to put it in place didn’t go to plan; he thought it needed a helping hand with a mallet. I had a different of opinion, because my beautiful kitchen tiles were on the other side of what he was hitting. Instead, he took the option to router the wall panel back. He showed me the issue where he’d attached a piece of wood to use as a guide. The wall definitely was not straight! Unfortunately the router chipped the ash faced ply but that can easily be hidden with a bit of filler and paint. He then went on to router and biscuit the pieces for the 2nd upright casing for the 2nd bedroom frame. I took the dogs out for their 2nd walk of the day while Si tidied up. On my return I prepared for a barbecue, a non spitting one this time… Prawns, halloumi and pork & veg kebabs… Delicious! I was in bed by 10pm, Si took the opportunity with all 3 of us in the bedroom to glue the next part of the 2nd bedroom frame.

Sunday 18th August 2013 – More Wood to add to the Wood Mountain

Sunny Intervals

24 C     16 C (night)

The start of our 2 week holiday! I took the dogs for a walk, in an attempt to tire them to get them out of our way. Sounds cruel, but my parents dog, Maisie comes running every time we open the fridge, closely followed by our dog! I varnished the bedroom/corridor door frame another 3 times throughout the day; in between Si’s routering, the food shop and wee time for the girls. Si had collected the latest wood order (£396) from his parents on Saturday morning and had created a new pile. Oh for the day when the lounge and corridor are free from stacks of oak and ash. Si’s boat building consisted of routering straight elements of the 2nd bedroom oak door frame. Well, I call it a door frame, it’s more of a casing. We decided against a wall for our 2nd bedroom, because it would turn it into a tiny box room. Instead we are going for the open plan idea, with a curtain. We saw it on a boat a few years back and liked the it. Si followed routering by biscuiting these pieces together. After cooking a beautiful roast dinner, Si got on with gluing the U shape oak casing together. 

Sunday 11th August 2013 – More of a Hindrance than a Help

Sunny Intervals

24 C     16 C (Night)

It had been less than 24 hours with 2 dogs and already we were struggling! Ness was overjoyed with having company, but every time one moved the other would follow. Our boat does not have enough floor space for 4 human legs and 8 dog leg’s. Ness slept in her own bed, Maisie slept in ours. We did get her into her dog bed but that lasted until we were asleep. I was desperate to do more boat building but Si wouldn’t be able to do his stuff because he would be making a mess. Instead I decided to help him by clearing and tidying the 2nd bedroom to give him access to measure and fit the 2nd bedroom oak doorway casing. We created several piles: rubbish, take back to parents, find a new home, and stay. It took several hours and made the room look quite large, well when I say large, large for a cupboard! In the end it didn’t really help Si boat build because he ended up helping me. Before I left I did manage to put the first coat of varnish on the master bedroom oak door frame. On the non boat building front, Si collected the stainless steal runners for the stern hatch from our neighbour. One day we will hopefully get the hatch to run, it will be a big job to do but so worth it, especially so that we can stop looking like moles!

Saturday 10th August 2013 – A little bit of Guilt… But just a little

Sunny Intervals

23 C     13 C (night)

Last weekend there was to be no boat building. We took a weekend off to go surfing and camping in Bude. We had a great weekend doing something we hadn’t done in over 4 years. It was that long ago, Ness was still a pup! This weekend I was going to make up for it by sanding back the plugs I had filled last weekend, and painting a coat of white paint on the lounge/kitchen ceiling side trim and beading. It was a bit of a rush because we were waiting for my parents to arrive. We were taking them to Heathrow because they were going to Australia for 3 weeks to visit my sister. While they were away we were looking after their dog, Maisie, otherwise known as Princess Biscuit Barrel the 3rd. We keep talking about getting a 2nd dog so this may help us decide whether we can cope with two. In the evening Si measured up to put together, what we hope, is the last of the timber orders. This is in preparation for a 2 week boat building push later this month.

Sunday 28th July 2013 – Bingo Wing Exercises

Sunny intervals

25 C     14 C (night)

Now that Si had sanded back the beading, it was my turn to sand back the plugs in the ceiling trim in the lounge and kitchen. That equals a lot of plugs, somewhere in the region of 75. Once I’d sanded them flush, I used filler in them in an attempt to make them so smooth that they would disappear once painted. It didn’t look that much when I had finished but I had certainly worked on my bingo wings. 

Saturday 27th July 2013 – All the Gear and No Idea

Light Rain

28 C     15 C (night)

I have been attempting to take under water photographs by leaning off the pontoon. It would be easier if could do it when snorkelling but that’s not likely when I know what people put in the marina!!! Have a look at the July gallery to see our underwater world. Si continued to smooth the beading flush in the lounge/kitchen, he lasted a few hours with his new spoke plane and then decided to give up and use the orbital sander. We seem to do this a lot: buy cool stuff for specific jobs and then revert to stuff we already had. I can’t moan at him though because I’m just as much of a kit fanatic, though mine is more kayaking and photography. 

Sunday 14th July 2013 – Special Delivery

Sun

30 C     18 C (night)

My parents were coming to visit today, so no boat building, just tidying and cleaning. They were bringing our post which would assist in future boat building. A delivery from Axminster had key items in to help sand back the edges of the beading on the ceiling trim: a spoke plane. Parents also kindly went via Swindon’s Go Outdoors to pick up a gas barbecue for us. I’d done my research, we wanted a gas barbecue so that we could use it on the back deck and it needed to be compact. We christened it that evening but realised that if we were going to continue using it on the back deck, our barbecues needed to consist more of pork, prawn or halloumi kebabs, because spitting fat from sausages and burgers had covered the paint work!

 

Saturday 13th July 2013 – Another Low Point

31 C     16 C (night)

Sun

Not much boat building for the last few weeks. We were supposed to be having the first week in July off to concentrate on boat building, why do we bother making plans. I was pregnant but at the 10 week scan the heartbeat was no longer there and the following week I miscarried. My last few weeks involved lots of appointments at the hospital and bed rest, so today was my first attempt at boat building. To top it off, we were in the middle of a heat wave and the boat was 36C inside… Too hot!!! Boat building was out of the question; all you had to do was look at something and the sweat would roll off you.  Si did manage to make the trays required to hide the LED wiring underneath the kitchen shelves. Made from 12mm oak, he had routered out the back freehand to allow the wires to sit in. I varnished these x4 front and back and Si screwed them into place. And that amounted to all our efforts over the last fortnight. 

Sunday 23rd June 2013 – ‘I thought we were building not dismantling?’

Cloudy

18 C     12 C (night)

Today Si took down the temporary kitchen door with the intention of dismantling it. It was only ever a temporary fix, but boy it was good. It had done us proud by stopping the cold air, and the dust from boat boatbuilding, getting to the bedroom. We had been waiting for the warmer weather before removing it because it was so valuable. Unfortunately, once the oak door frame (matching the master bedroom) is in place, the temporary door will be too large to go back on. Over time we will need to make 3 doors: the bathroom, master bedroom and kitchen, with the bathroom being the priority for selling. For the others I had thought about using a heavy duty curtain; the thin temporary curtains on the bedroom and bathroom are doing quite a good job. The other news this week is on our pontoon; a name plaque has been attached to our finger pontoon: ‘September Air’, we felt quite touched. We have had 4 different spots on the marina so far. We had been asked to move from this pontoon last summer, to make way for a bigger boat, but luckily they changed their minds. Does this mean this is September Air’s home???

Saturday 22nd June 2013 – Lost Mojo

Cloudy

19 C     12 C (night)

We need our boat building mojo back. Our lye-ins seem to be getting longer and the boat building shorter. It’s not helped by only seeing each other 2 or 3 nights a week because of my new job. The grand total of our effort today was Si cutting a length of wood for the kitchen door frame, but even this was made impossible with the temporary door still in the way. My grand effort was varnishing the trim Si had glued last weekend, the bow door and kitchen shelf plugs. Luckily the varnish is re-coatable within 2 hours, so you can just get away with completing 4 coats in one day!

Sunday 16th June 2013 – Adding more Trim

Cloudy

18 C     11 C (night)

While I was painting the 2nd coat on the corridor ceiling trim, Si was attaching 8ft lengths of beading to the master bedroom walls. He carefully glued them and used duct tape to hold them in position. Good old duck tape, a multitude of uses. This was a slow and meticulous job because each corner is cut at 45 (ish) degrees to get a perfect join.    

Saturday 15th June 2013 – To do This, you Need to do That!

Light Rain

18 C     10 C (night)

Today I sanded back the plugs on the corridor roof trim and filled any dents. I taped the roof trim up with frog tape and by the afternoon I was painting the first coat of white to allow Si to be able to add trim at a later stage. We are getting to the point where specific jobs need to be done in a specific order. Si did a lot of boat domestics, so his boat building efforts were cutting back inner bow door and kitchen shelf plugs to allow them to be varnished. 

Sunday 9th June 2013 – Hunting in the Wardrobe!

Cloudy

15 C     10 C (night)

Today Si spent the whole day in the starboard wardrobe, sounds bad doesn’t it! There was a perfectly good reason: he was on the hunt for a buried coaxial cable. We had never intended to have a TV in the bedroom, and for the first 2 years we had no TV at all, but we now do and we watch it most nights. We had originally threaded the coaxial cable from the box on the bow all the way through to the lounge. The temporary fix (for the last few years) was that the aerial cable has come through the gap at the top of the bow doors, directly into the back of the TV. This is only an issue when you want to use the doors as doors, because you can never get them bloody shut again, and every time the cable gets more damaged. With the warmer weather we  wanted to use them again. Eventually Si managed to discover the coax by cutting holes in the back of the wardrobe. He then and added a splitter box to allow us to have 2 feeds. It is a vast improvement, we now just need the starboard wardrobe door open to plug in the aerial! When we get time we will feed the cable through to the portside to come up behind the TV. 

Saturday 8th June 2013 – Used too Much!

Sun

18 C     9 C (night)

Another slow day without much productivity on the boat building front, more domesticated stuff. Unfortunately this is what happens when you live in your building site. Si did manage to mount his big Erbauer router onto the router table because his DeWalt router had given up and had to be returned. The Erbauer needed modifications to be able to use on the router table, including a quick-clamp fixed to its on button, because it had no means of locking the power on. Probably wouldn’t pass a H&S check but it’ll do the job. 

Sunday 2nd June 2013 – The Forth Bridge

Sunny Intervals

19 C     9 C (night)

Today Si attached more trim (ceiling to wall) in the bathroom and master bedroom and around the Houdini hatch. It takes an age to make it, to put it up, and we have so much more trim to do!!!!!

Saturday 1st June 2013 – Ceiling Trim

Sun

18 C     8 C (night)

Si was in a trim making mode, although due to it being the ceiling trim (where walls and ceiling meet) it is a lot more involved than the beading. The ceiling trim is wider and cut at a 6 degree angle. The tip of the angle trim is so fine, it needs to pass through the router table again to stop it from breaking off. He made 4 lengths of 8ft trim for the master bedroom and bathroom. After the intricacy of this he went onto make more beading, although it is still fiddly, there is not too much to think about, apart from watching your fingers near the router bit!

Tuesday 28th May 2013 – Off Again

Heavy Showers

12 C     5 C (night)

We were off work again today, courtesy of the Queens birthday. Best wishes ma’am. Unfortunately Ness and I were on the road at 9am to get back for my cars MOT. It did allow Si to router another 80ft of beading and not worry about Ness traipsing sawdust through the boat. Luckily my car passed with flying colours and Ness was pleased to be back with Granny & Grandpa, oh and not forgetting their dog, Maisy. I think the happiest one of us about my new job is Nessie. She loves the company of Maisy, her Grandparents spoil her rotten, and the garden is the best thing in the whole world. 

Monday 27th May 2013 – The Crick Boat Show

Sun Intervals

18 C     6 C (night)

I arrived back at the boat on Saturday, arriving just 30 minutes after Si. He had been down in Cornwall for 2 days on his annual sea fishing competition. He won on his boat this year, securing his place in the ‘A’ team for next and 14th overall out of 80 odd fishermen. Often it’s the luck of the draw where the skipper takes you but they were also competing with force 7 gales. Yesterday we went to the Crick Boat Show, originally it was for us to purchase all the accessories for moving the boat to Lechlade. Now that the game plan had changed, we decided to go for a day out, but we needed a new starter battery because ours is as dead as a Dodo. It also would give us ideas on how to make our internal doors and be nosy at other people’s trim. Overall the boats were lovely and made us want to build a 2nd, but when you look into the detail, some were appalling. Yes they looked swanky with the granite work tops and expensive cooker but then you see 6 inches of random trim missing on the ceiling!!! Back to today’s boat building effort: I varnished 2 coats on the starboard gunnel wall trim in the lounge and corridor. Dan popped around for a cuppa and to talk about our hatch runners. We then attached our new TV aerial holder to the boat. We purchased it, and a pole, at Crick. Not cheap at £60 for the unit but boy does it look much smarter than a parasol base. 

Saturday 18th May 2013 – Catching Carp

Cloudy

16 C     8 C (night)

There was no boat building last weekend, I was too occupied preparing for my new job and moving home. I am moving back into my parents house during the week, because they are 22 miles from my new work, rather than 78 miles from the boat. My new job is very different, plus I went on promotion. My office is set in the most stunning and idyllic grounds and so far I’m enjoying it. It was a big week for both of us, because Si had been on a course all week away from home to. His involved exams!!! Proudly he did amazingly with 93% + 100%. To make his head swell even more he then caught a 25lb 4oz Carp when he got back. Si glued elements of the stern hatch door surround together before leaving the boat at 4pm to join me at my parents for my birthday weekend. Nothing glamorous: sorting out our shed and tipping a load of stuff. However, in the evening we went out for a lovely meal courtesy of my parents. This weekend the strain of being apart was showing, and it had only been 6 days. We made a decision not to move the boat up to Lechlade yet, and as soon as we had agreed it, the stress disappeared. There are several reasons why: the major one is that by moving the boat 110 miles up river Si would be homeless or have a very long commute. I also realized that I didn’t want to stay on the boat by myself. Lechlade marina is very different to what we are used to. We are spoilt with good security, good shower and washing facilities and good dock masters. I do not have any qualms of staying by myself at Penton Hook, but Lechlade is a completely different kettle of fish. We also realized that by moving the boat it would put pressure on Si to get another job; if he rushes the process it might not be the right job for him. Another factor is that the boat is worth more if we try to sell her down in London. With all of this in mind we have decided the boat will remain at Penton Hook until we finish her, once finished Si can start looking for a suitable job and at the same time we’ll put her up for sale. We are hoping to achieve £100,000 so that we don’t lose anymore money, because we are still paying back the £20,000 Simpsons took from us…

Monday 6th May 2013 – First Wash in 2 Years

Sun

22 C     10 C (night)

We had a lovely evening with our old pontoon neighbours, dinner was lasagna followed with chocolate fudge cake, their favourite. To be fair they are my signature dishes and it was at their request. There was to be no boat building on the inside today, more TLC on the outside. Well a wash at least. The outside seriously needs TLC, repairing and repainting. We think the boat hasn’t been washed for over two years. A lesson to every boat owner, this is extremely bad boatmanship! We canoed over to the neighbours we had over for dinner last night to borrow their industrial boat shampoo. It was a long day; we did a thorough job, but ran out of steam to do the portside, especially as we’d been going for 6 hours. The boat was now a spider/bird poo free zone. We had a sweep stake before that would change… 5 minutes or 4 minutes?

Sunday 5th May 2013 – Watch Your Fingers!!!

Cloudy

18 C     7 C (night)

Today there was not too be much boat building, mainly cleaning and cooking, because we had our old pontoon neighbours coming for dinner. I did manage to tack the 4th blind, and attached and put another café rod up with the help of Si. Si managed to fit some more trim in bathroom; this time using his new Axcaliber Mitre trimmer. Basically it’s a guillotine for wood and definitely not fingers because it would take them cleanly off! Si has been after one for sometime, drooling over the Axminster catalogue of an evening. He used his Christmas & Birthday Axminster Vouchers to buy it. It looks ok, it’s just we have no room for what I’m seeing as another boy toy; however he see’s them as essential man tools. On his first few attempts it just squashed the wood, but he learnt you need to take off slither at a time. One very happy boy!

Saturday 4th May 2013 – A Year has Past

Sunny Intervals

17 C     8 C (night)

We had the day off yesterday for a family day because it was the 1st anniversary of losing our son. We went back to where we got married on the river in Hampton and placed flowers in the river. Then we had lunch in the pub over the road. Considering it was an emotional day, we had a good day. Last night Si had glued the stern hatch together, using the massive sash clamps. So this morning we put it back in place. Si was concentrating trimming the bathroom while I was painting white the beading in the bedroom. Although I now had learnt a lesson: not to use the paintable sealant until after I’ve painted the beading. The gaps show up far more once painted. The last part of the evening was making a chocolate cake………….yummmmmmmm!

Sunday 28th April 2013 – So wish we had a Girly Switch

Sunny Intervals

12 C     0 C (night)

Well we’ve been away from boat building for a while. Last weekend was a friends wedding, with my parents Nessie-sitting at the boat, even staying the night, they seemed to enjoy it, luckily for them the weather had picked up. Yesterday we were looking around Lechlade marina, I saw it a few weeks ago but Si hadn’t seen it in years. I start my new job, near Swindon on 13th May and we’ve made the decision to move the boat the first week of July.  Lechlade is a small town with 3100+ residents, but it does have a Chinese, curry restaurant, fish & chips, 5 pubs, pharmacist, butchers and a green grocer, what more could you want?! The river trip is going to be 110 miles with 39 locks; we already have one crew member signed up… Shufty. I’m still scared due to our lack of bow thruster. I did have a quick look at getting one retro fitted, but it’s not worth it. I did read a funny post discussing who should have a bow thruster, the 50/50 rule. If you’re over 50 and your boat is over 50 foot, apparently you need one. We’ve heard them called “girly switches” too. We just wished we had spent the money on at least the tube when the steel was built, reminder for the next boat! Anyway today we took it in turns to plane the bedroom ceiling beams. Si carried on beading around the Houdini hatch, but first need to drill out the plugs to unscrew the beams joining the hatch, because they weren’t flush. He copied a previous trick of padding it out with a washer. I was back in the bedroom using the paintable sealant to cover up the gaps between the roof and the beading. We also put up another roman blind, it has been sat in the 2nd bedroom for ages. It was only when I tried to pull it open that I realized that it looked awful. Damn, forgot to tack the lining to the amethyst material! Another job for next weekend…

Sunday 14th April 2013 – Slow Progress

Sun

20 C     11 C (night)

At last - sun! Unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect of getting us up early; instead we stayed in bed for ages watching the reflections of the water on the ceiling. I walked Ness and had a shower, while Si started to prepare the router to create more beading. By the time I returned we realized his time could be better spent sanding back the beading we had fitted in the bedroom yesterday so that I could get on with painting it. While he started on that I went off to do the weekly shop. On my return we swapped jobs. I took over sanding the beading and he started to measure and cut another five 8ft lengths of beading in the lounge/kitchen. I had to keep returning when it was time to glue and nail them in place; it’s definitely a two man job. It didn’t take long for me to get frustrated sanding, my arms were killing me and progress was slow. I got Si to show me how to use the plane and off I went to see if it would be any quicker; a little but this was still going to be long-winded job. By the end of the day we had achieved another 40ft of beading and sanded back one bedroom ceiling strut.

Saturday 13th April 2013 – Brainwave Stops Damage

Heavy Showers

12 C     4 C (night)

Last Sunday Si’s parents visited for the afternoon. We had lunch, walked Ness and had a takeaway curry. The last time they had seen the boat was September, so there where big differences, like the sofa, and subtle differences like the roof trim. Last Monday I gave the paintable sealant a go, filling in the gaps where the roof trim wasn’t straight; sadly the 45 degree joins were not meeting. Also the nail gun had damaged the wood on entry. There are two issues with the nailer: 1, it needs a flat surface; 2, the violence that the nail is delivered, making accuracy harder. This is where I had a brainwave! Why not pre-drill a tiny hole and use a panel pin. Si found me a piece of scrap beading to have a go and it worked a treat. We started work in the bedroom, attaching the 8ft long beading. Si had cut and glued the short edges last week, so with one end cut at a 45 degree angle, I would put the beading into place for Si to mark the cut needed for the other end. Once cut to length, I drilled the beading (originally every ft), Si would then put the glue on the ceiling ready for us to put the beading in place. We’d work as a team to hold and nail it to the roof trim, remember the roof is curved! Good team effort! We got quicker and realized that in fact the pre-drilled holes needed to be more like every 6 inches. It took us a good few hours but we had put 5 strips up in the bedroom, finishing the ceiling. All we need to do now is sand the beading flush to the ash faced ply trim and paint!

Saturday 6th April 2013 – Not so Easy

Sun

10 C     0 C (night)

I dropped Ness off at the groomers at 9am, which gives me a good early start to make another blind; this is number four for the lounge. I am getting quicker, but  its hand sewing the lining to the plush amethyst material that still takes an age, but it looks far more professional. I have seen some more Laura Ashley fabric which is a contender for the 2nd bedroom - stripy amethyst. Si attempted to fix the beading I had painted into place; it goes around the top of the bedroom wardrobe, but is not as easy as originally thought. The joins are not exactly 90 degrees, and the glue wasn’t strong enough to hold them into place, so they required the nail gun. There are quite a few gaps but that is why I have bought paintable white sealant! He also glued 4x 4ft beading on the shorter sides of the bedroom ceiling; he duck taped two guide pieces on the edges to be able to cut the 4ft pieces to the right length, much easier here because there are no curves involved.


In the afternoon I went  to have a look at Lechlade Marina; it’s a consideration to move the boat up there soon, or wait till March 2014 due to the penalty we would have (£300 extra a month) for breaking our annual contract. The only issue is that there is a narrow boat part sunk at Oxford making the river impassable. 

Friday 5th April 2013 – Deep Clean

Cloudy

8 C     2 C (night)

This morning was a rushed affair. I was off to my parents this afternoon because Ness had an appointment with the groomer, and I wanted to get on the road before 2pm to miss the traffic. I wanted to do another coat of white paint on the master bedroom ceiling trim and beading, to enable Si to attach it this weekend. Then I moved onto deep cleaning the boat because Si’s parents were visiting on Sunday. We don’t often get visitors but it is handy because it forces us to properly clean the boat. While I was doing this Si was hovering and making sausage sandwiches. I managed to get packed and was on the road at 2:30pm so totally hit the M25 at the wrong time, so diverted to the M4/A34. Si got his router table out again and continued to make more beading, he must be bored by now! 

Thursday 4th April 2013 – How Useful… a Beading Holder…

Snow Showers

3 C     1 C (night)

Yesterday we had a day off, we had done 5 days of boat building and we needed a break. We had plenty of ideas but in the ended opted for a slow morning, lunch at Pizza Express, a 2-hour nap and a DVD. Although in the morning Si did plug the recently attached bedroom and bathroom wall trim, but he was struggling to get the ash plugs to fit in. I normally sand down the ash plugs to make them fit; Si had a quicker way… drill a bigger hole. Today Si started on vast amounts of beading, this took the whole day and filled up three hoover bags but he created 120ft. I was in the master bedroom, trimming back the plugs with the Japanese saw and sanding them flush. This took me quite some time and a lot of arm-ache. I removed all the curtains and rails, taped the surrounding areas to be painted and cleaned it all ready for painting. The first coat of paint was slightly watered down to make it easier. Additionally I started to paint the beading that would fit around the top of the wardrobe. To assist me with this Si made me a fantastic beading holder, 4 pieces of wood with V grooves cut out for the beading to rest on, with rubber to stop the beading slipping. Made my life much easier! By the time I had done the 2nd coat it was already 7pm.

Tuesday 2nd April 2013 – Banished by MDF

Sun

8 C     -2 C (night)

Today was day five of continuous boat building and we were both officially bored, so we decided tomorrow would be a day off. I was finishing off coats of varnish and paint while Si went off for a shower. I did the last coat of varnish on the lounge plumbing box side and the 32mm bedroom trim, the 3rd coat on the soft closer cases, bedroom and bathroom door frame and finally painted white a second coat on the 12mm ash faced ply trim for the bedroom and bathroom walls. Very productive! Ness and I were banished to the bedroom because Si was cutting MDF to make a new guide for his router table, to allow him to attach some feather boards he’d bought a while back. This was so that he could guide through 12mm wide strips to router the roman ogee shape for the trim, rather than doing it freehand. I made use of the time in the bedroom and did another coat on the bedroom and bathroom door edges and started the laborious job of sanding down all the ash plugs in the bedroom ceiling to prep the area to paint white. It certainly was working on my bingo wings! I took Ness out for an evening walk, which ended up being longer than expected because I went via friends who have a matching dog to Ness. Si took the opportunity to put his new router guide into use and was starting to make trim. To get this into perspective, the bedroom ceiling requires 70ft of trim, with a further 100ft. for the walls. This just gives an idea of the time it is going to take to cut it, glue it, sand it and paint it. A loooong time! In the evening we screwed the trim I’d painted in place, this was a ceiling strip in the bedroom and two borders at gunnel height in the bedroom and bathroom. Although they require plugging, and beading adding top and bottom, it made the boat look a lot more finished. 

Monday 1st April 2013 – I’m not missing out on 15% off

Sunny Intervals

8 C     0 C (night)

First thing this morning was to varnish the plumbing top box side with a 3rd coat, and then the soft closer casings. Si cut the bedroom and bathroom wall trim to size, measured where holes needed to go and then plugged them. He was desperate to put them up but I realized parts of the oak door frames in both bedroom and bathroom needed varnishing before the 12mm ply trim butted up against it. Si then sanded back these areas on the door frames; he did start off with sand paper but gave in to the machine. I went out to Homebase because it was 15% off everything day. I came back with two more café rods for the 2nd bedroom, they’re not going to go up for a while because I haven’t even chosen the fabric for them and I still need to make two more Roman blinds for the lounge. On my return I started varnishing the relevant areas of the door frames and painted white the trim that Si had cut. Si went around the boat plugging any oak and ash, wherever there was a hole. I ordered more hinges and 2 more knobs because somehow we had miscalculated our last order from Rutland.

Sunday 31st March 2013 – More Varnishing!!!!

Sunny Intervals

6 C    -2 C (night)

Happy Easter!!! I know I’m far too old for Easter, but birthdays, Easter and Christmas is the only time you can get a way with having chocolate for breakfast. And this morning didn’t disappoint, Kinder Eggs. Even better because we were hung over! We got up much later than intended plus we’d lost an hour with the clocks going forward, but we’re not complaining the nights are going to be light!!!!!. I continued to varnish bedroom uprights, gunnels and the last coat on the plumbing top box. Si finished off the trim for the bedroom ceiling and plugged it. He also made holders for three door soft closers for the kitchen cupboard, we have had them for ages but they just weren’t that urgent to complete. When we went to put the plumbing top box into place, I realized that the side of the plumbing top box had not been varnished! So I masking taped the floor, sanded it and varnished two coats before putting the sofa back. Nessie had suddenly developed a limp which required us to carry her to the green. She’s fine on soft surfaces i.e. grass but as soon as it’s concrete or pontoons, the limp is extreme. We love our baby girl very much but boy is she a drama queen!!! It tends to be the salt the marina put down this time of year. We made ourselves, and her, feel better by having steak and chips, with Ness having some steak too; surprisingly she had no limp when we called her down for the leftover steak! 

Saturday 30th March 2013 – Battle of Clean & Dirty Work

Sunny Intervals

8 C    0 C (night)

I was up early varnishing more coats on lounge uprights, drawers and the lounge plumbing top box, so Si could get on with routering ash faced ply in 8ft lengths to trim the bedroom stern wall and bathroom bow wall. When we made the bulkheads we used two sheets of 8x4ft ash faced ply horizontally, leaving a small gap in the middle, hence the 8ft trim now being cut. Also he was cutting an 8ft piece for the ceiling of the bedroom (stern end), although this was trickier because it needed to be shaped around the bedroom doorframe. I carried on varnishing in between Si’s downtimes (smoking, fishing etc.). This now included the bedroom gunnels and uprights, in preparation to paint the bedroom ceiling white. The idea is if I accidently get white paint onto the plain wood, if it’s varnished it will wipe off rather than be permanently in the grain. In the afternoon we had a visitor, Shufty, who brought us all presents, ours included alcohol but Ness isn’t much of a drinker so she got dog treats. Later on we strolled to the pub.

Friday 29th March 2013 – Lets Get Ready to Varnish

Sunny Intervals

6 C     -2 C (night)


Last night we sat down and made lists; lists of big jobs and lists of what we wanted to achieve by the end of our week off. This morning didn’t start too great, not getting out of bed till 10.30am. I did try nagging but it fell on deaf ears, including Nessies. I walked Ness around the lake and by the time I returned Si had pulled the router table and workmate out to get to the plumbing top box for me to be able to varnish and so that he could sand the lower wall upright trims to make the beading flush with the ash ply. During the week he had glued the two bedside drawers’ together ready for me to varnish. He then moved the plumbing top box into the corridor for me to start varnishing, because it is too long to varnish in the 2nd bedroom, it could have been done but we would have either had to attempt limbo or high jump every time we wanted to go to the toilet. I was now varnishing 3 items: the bedside drawers, the newly added uprights and the plumbing top box. By the time I finished it was almost time to start again! In between coats, I made 50+ oak plugs. Si took over responsibility for the ash plugs and made 25+. In the evening we decided to move the lounge furniture around (!). We swapped the router table/workmate with the sofa. Originally we thought the sofa would be two heavy on the portside, but the draft we get down our necks from the side-hatch gave us the incentive to move it.  

Saturday 23rd March 2013 – Collecting Wood

Cloudy

0 C     0 C (night)


This morning Si cut the two drawer fronts from 18mm ash and cut the plugs back he had glued in yesterday when attaching the skirting board. By 4pm he had left the boat to visit us in Oxfordshire. Mainly to pick up the 8ft ash faced ply in my parent’s garage. We travelled back on Sunday afternoon in convoy.

 

 

Friday 22nd March 2013 – Last of the Drawers

Heavy Rain

6 C     2 C (night)


I went back to parents last night, leaving Si boat alone. I was supposed to be making a blind but in the end I ended up washing Ness most of the time. The weather was filthy and every walk Ness returned from, she looked like she had been dipped in a vat of black slimy mud. Si cut the bedside cabinet drawer carcasses out of 12mm MDF, he routered the edges straight and rebated the 6mm groove needed for the base and finally biscuited them together. He also made a batch of oak plugs and fitted the bathroom and bedroom skirting board to the wall. 

Sunday 17th March 2013 – Congratulations

Heavy Rain

8 C     -2 C (night)


Si was out on a stag do yesterday, so I took the opportunity to clean the boat and have a chilled out day. I had spent so long preparing for the job interview I was shattered but, I had been successful…!!! Celebrate the Good Times!!! Come On!!! The job is near Swindon so we will need to look at moving September Air either further up the Thames or on to the Kennett and Avon Canal, but all in good time because Si needs to find a job too. Today we attempted to feed the aerial cable back through from the lounge, in an attempt to give us enough length to be able to split it. This is to give us a TV aerial socket in the bedroom, without it having to go through the bow doors. There was a lot of jiggling and pushing but nothing… Back to the drawing board. Boat building that did work today was attaching the other kitchen end panel. To do this Si needed to remove the 300mm wire basket in the end cupboard and take the opportunity to set it back by 2 cm to stop the door banging on it. 

Saturday 9th March 2013 – Recalibrated the Tank

Light Rain

7 C     4 C (night)


During the week, Si glued the upper portside doorframe and had sanded it smooth. With this completed, he could now attach and permanently screw the door frame in place. There was no boat building for me this weekend, my job application had been successful and my interview was on Tuesday, so I was madly preparing. Si worked around me, talking to myself (answering practice questions). He attempted to recalibrate the water tank gauge, recently it states it is empty but every time we filled it up it overflows very quickly. It turned out we still had a quarter in the tank, even if the gauge showed we were bone dry. He also attached the painted bathroom wall and ceiling trim. Slowly, bit by bit, it’s coming together, looking more finished. Tomorrow my parents were coming down to visit, hopefully bringing the large sash clamps we forgot. Fingers crossed for interview on Tuesday.

Saturday 2nd March 2013 – Ignoring the Paints Instructions

Sunny Intervals

9 C     -3 C (night)


Today I painted the bathroom ceiling and wall trim that Si had made last weekend. If you read the paint tin it says re-coatable in 6 hours, but it's dry within an hour. By the end of the day I had given them all 5 coats. Si gave the lower portside a damn good sand before temporarily attaching it because he needed it in place to start the upper section of the door frame. He marked up the oak, cut, routererd and finally biscuited. 

Sunday 24th February 2013 – Mr & Mrs Forgetful

Cloudy

2 C     0 C (night)


Yesterday we both came back from parents, the purpose of the visit was to pick up the large sash clamps Si needed to be able to glue the hatch surround and bring back some 8ft lengths of ash faced ply. We failed on both counts! We realized the 8ft lengths were not going to fit in with the luggage, myself and Ness and as for the sash clamps; they completely slipped our minds. It wasn’t a totally wasted journey, we had a good evening with lots of food and alcohol. On our return Si tackled the master bedroom portside doorframe. This was being constructed in a similar format to the other side. A U-shape surround made out of oak. He had previously cut the pieces to the right size and routered them straight, today he biscuited and glued them together. He also made two pieces of trim for the bathroom, but we decided to make them out of proper ash and router the beading into them, rather than have three separate pieces, a lot less fiddly.

Saturday 16th February 2013 – Carpet v Oak Flooring

Cloudy

10 C     3 C (night)


Enough of the application form! I started varnishing skirting boards, ceiling trims etc. Si biscuited the 3 sides of the hatch together to create 3 sides of a square and drilled the plug holes. He was going to glue it together but realized he didn’t have the very long sash clamps,. These are now living in my parents shed. To get it out of the way, he temporarily screwed it into place anyway. Over the week we had been discussing flooring options. The original plan was to carpet the master bedroom and put oak flooring through the rest of the boat. We have now done an about-turn; the oak engineered flooring will go in the kitchen/lounge and carpet for the rest of the boat. It will be cheaper, quieter and warmer with more carpet. We were ready to get the master bedroom carpeted, but now that the plan has changed, we will need to wait until the boat is finished because the corridor and 2nd bedroom will continue to be dump rooms for a while longer. 

Friday 15th February 2013 – Rebating Mode

Sunny Intervals

10 C     2 C (night)


We hadn’t been boat building for a few days, we had just needed a break, plus yesterday was Valentines Day. Today Si made the shower ceiling trim out of 12mm oak. It will run from the two oak surrounds but its main purpose is to hide the join between the PVC shower ceiling and the white painted ceiling. Si rebated the back for it to fit over the 6mm PVC and drilled the plug holes out. Whilst he was in rebating mood, he attacked the 3 large hatch panels. He was rebating the backs to allow us to spray foam between the oak and the steel frame. Otherwise the condensation from the steel will rot it in months. He cut more stern door surrounds to length and routered the backs of these pieces, not for spray foam but because the steel welds were protruding stopping the surround being flush. 

Tuesday 12th February 2013 – A Tench to Add to the Collection

Cloudy

2 C     1 C (night)


Neither of us had motivation for writing application forms or boat building. The slower mornings and the TV evenings were getting longer. Saying that, Si did put up the kitchen shelf and attached the led light to the underside of it. He then jigsawed 3 lengths for the stern hatch out of 18mm oak and routered them straight. He glued four 72mm ash faced ply trim and beading in the lounge and bedroom. A nice pile of varnishing was appearing for me and would give me the opportunity to have a break from writing competence statements. To top the day off Si’s bite alarms went off at midnight. He caught himself a beauty, a 4lb 12oz Tench. In my PJ’s, in February, I took loads of photo’s of him holding her; that’s love for you!

Monday 11th February 2013 – A Break in the Bloody Weather

Light Rain

2 C     0 C (night)


Si used the first break in the weather to sand the skirting boards and plumbing top box outside with the orbital sander. He then measured and cut the corridor skirting board to length.

Sunday 10th February 2013 – Bloody Weather

Heavy Rain

5 C     2 C (night)


This weekend was the start of a week off. We were hoping for some warmer weather, but the forecast was for cold, wet, and a bitter wind, just bloody miserable. Although there was plenty of boat building I could get on with, my main task this week was to complete a job application for a post at Shrivenham that would be a promotion in grade. Si’s task today was more practical than mine (very jealous) he rounded over the starboard lounge plumbing top box and the bedroom and bathroom skirting boards. Finally he got the pillar drill out and drilled the plug holes in the skirting boards. 

Sunday 3rd February 2013 – Lacking Productivity

Sunny Intervals

10 C     -1 C (night)


Today amounted to me varnishing the completed 2nd attempt kitchen shelf support and Si cutting 12mm oak to create the skirting board for bedroom and bathroom. Better than nothing but not the most productive day of boatbuilding.

Saturday 2nd February 2013 – Grey Grout Out Black Grout In

Sunny Intervals

6 C     -2C (night)


During the week I re-grouted the bathroom floor, it’s a job I’ve been meaning to do for a while. The grout is supposed to be black but on drying resembled more of a patchy grey colour. I later discovered this was due to mixing too much water with the powder. To make the job easier to clean up I used frog tape to cover the edges of the tiles, it took me longer to prepare than it did to re-grout but was worth it. We also put two more café rods up for the other two blinds in the lounge. Si biscuited and glued the 3 parts to make up the starboard lounge plumbing top box and sanded down the smaller kitchen shelf support, ready for me to varnish.

Sunday 27th January 2013 - Not Purchasing a Residential Mooring

Heavy Rain

10 C     6 C (night)


There was no boat building yesterday, we were too hung over. We had gone to the yacht club on Friday night to commiserate the purchase of the mooring going Pete Tong. To cut a long story short, we are positive we were gazumped. The evidence: we know someone else looked at the mooring after we had offered the full asking price and that they had offered more, but he had told us that he didn’t want to get into a bidding war. The advertised mooring rates were £2,500 pa, but in the lease it stated the mooring fee was going up to £3,500 and it would be reviewed every four years. We were disgruntled we had not been told this because we had worked out our finances on the advertised price. We re-worked our finances and decided to still continue so transferred a 5% deposit. The next thing he wanted was another £750 to pay his solicitor fees. In the original conversations and emails he had said he would pay the legal fees! We decided to send him an email with 3 options: 1. He pay the legal fees as previously stated. 2. To split the legal fees. 3. To return our deposit. Within minutes we receive an email stating that “the trust had been broken” and he would return our deposit, which he did. We then discovered the mooring was being re-advertised for more money!!! Anyway back to the reason our hangovers were so bad. We had only gone to the yacht club for a couple and by 10pm we had run out of money, but the pints kept on coming! We finally staggered back at 2am. So today we were making up for lost time and attached the header for the 3rd blind and fitted a café rod at the bottom of the window to keep the blind flush to the wall. Finally we attached the fire blanket to the kitchen end panel. 

Saturday 19th January 2013 – Purchasing a Residential Mooring

Snow

1 C     -2 C (night)


Well, what a week! On Sunday night I saw an advert on Apollo Duck for a residential mooring on the Basingstoke canal. It was owned by Surrey County Council and was being sold for £38,950 with a 25 year lease which had just been renewed. I phoned the chap and we went to look at it on Monday (Si’s birthday). The location wasn’t as idyllic as the photographs suggested because they had been taken the previous summer, and it was now a wet winters day, but we could see the potential. The two downsides where that there was no sewage, although next door had put in a septic tank; and there was a tow path between the mooring and the adjoining strip of land (the width of the shed). Even with the downsides it was a residential mooring with a shed, meaning we could keep the boat a lot longer. We spent Si’s birthday working out finances, it would be very tight but it was possible. On the Tuesday we offered the full asking price, which was accepted! 


Back to the boat… The electric supply had been shocking this week; the inverter was clunking all over the place. There was a break in the weather and we took the opportunity to move the boat to pontoon R, directly opposite us. We had to jump start the engine to get the engine going, the starter battery was well and truly dead. Once moved, we brought the cars round and were greeted by our old new neighbours. One thing that is lovely about living on a boat is that you can change your view and it makes the whole boat feel so different. The TV aerial saga was continuing. The recent internal aerial Si bought lasted a week; every day we were losing more channels until all we had left were the BBC’s. I had spent some time researching aerials for boats and caravans because we wanted an aerial that did not require power. I found a 20 pronged log-periodic TV aerial. It received good reviews and was only £20, worth a try anyway. It was easy to set up but we needed to attach it to something. I came up with the idea of using the parasol base and a left over piece of wardrobe rail, it did the trick nicely. We didn’t even have to retune, we had hundreds of channels and the planes did not interfere with the reception. PERFECT!!! On the boat building front I was attempting to re-paint the fireproof board. It sits around the top part of the wood burning stove flue. The condensation had got to it and the paint was bubbling. I sanded the fireboard back in an attempt to repaint it white, but to no avail because it kept on flaking. We now need a rethink on a replacement that will be more robust. Si was remaking another shelf support for the kitchen portside shelf, but this time it needed to be smaller. We had made a rookie mistake and forgotten about the kitchen light switch underneath!

Sunday 13th January 2013 – Recreation Craft Directive

Sunny Intervals

2 C     0 C (night)


September Air has now officially been awarded an RCD – Recreation Craft Directive. There was a rush to get her through because we wanted to change our insurance provider to a cheaper company. It means we can now sell her if we wanted to and do not need a boat safety certificate for 4 years. Strangely enough it means our boat will be classed as a 2013 boat, I know, fuzzy logic… Si continued with the lounge starboard plumbing top box but moving onto the straight part. He trimmed the oak to the correct width and routered the 6 degree angle on the back, for it to fit up against the wall. He also cut strips of 12mm ash faced ply to 72mm width and glued these on the lounge lower wall, to cover where the wall panels join.  

Saturday 12th January 2013 – Quick Fixing

Light Rain

4 C     0 C (night)


Last weekend there still wasn’t any boat building, but this time the reason was that we couldn’t be bothered! We had enjoyed not boat building over Christmas far too much and now couldn’t find our mojo to get on with it. Instead we gave the boat a sort out, especially finding homes for all our new Christmas presents. To give privacy for our guests during Christmas, I had purchased a wardrobe rail and a pair of eyelet curtains for the bedroom and bathroom doorways. The problem was that the curtains only cost £17, meaning that they were very thin. They looked ok in the day but as soon as you turned a light on you could see everything through them. Si had the good idea of purchasing another pair to double up the curtains, a quick fix. Although boat building had been lacking, Si’s fishing quota increased with a 25lb 4oz Carp. We can only presume the freak warmer weather and our next door neighbour bunging bait in by the bucket load this week had brought her in. 


I had gone back to parents to make roman blind (number 2) while Si started on making the curved part of the lounge starboard plumbing top box from 18mm oak. This was going to take a lot of cutting, planning and patience. In between this he was trying to work out the conundrum of the stern hatch, because it involved so many pieces of wood overlapping and rebating, working out the right combination would feel like an achievement. In the afternoon he purchased a TV aerial from Argos, last of the big spenders… £5. It was to replace the battered and bruised one which now could only pick up 3 channels. To be fair to it, it was an internal aerial duck taped to within an inch of its life, living outside. The two extendable arms now resembled chopsticks, with every tumble snapping them shorter and shorter. He gave the new one a similar treatment of duck tape to weatherproof it. The cost was worth it, Si had all the channels back including the 5* and 5 USA, always good for NCIS and a CSI. We do realize this is yet another quick fix and that we do need to find a more permanent solution. 

Tuesday 1st January 2013 - Is this the year we finish the boat?

Sunny Intervals

10 C     6 C (night)


We had 10 days off work over the Christmas period with no boat building; instead we entertained friends and family. My folks arrived Christmas Eve, sensibly staying at a hotel in Chertsey. The original idea had been for them to stay in their caravan. A good decision because the temperatures were dropping and the river was very much in flood, probably onto the caravan site! Christmas Eve we lit the wood burner when mother complained it was cold. When parents left in a taxi to go to midnight mass, it was 26C and we were nearly passing out. We opened all the windows and I spent the next 2 hours wrapping presents in PJ’s and a vest top! Christmas Day, I picked my parents up from the hotel and brought them back to the boat. We opened our stocking presents and had brunch, followed by a walk over the fields. On our return Si started the food fest of Christmas dinner, for desert I had made a white chocolate cheesecake. Dinner was stunning, the cheesecake tasted good, it just didn’t look the part (it failed to set). We had a lot of laughs over the toughest set base and runny cheese. Our dining room table was make-shift: AKA the router table. We double checked that it wasn’t plugged in! It looked very pretty with a centre piece, silver place mats, white table cloth and napkins, although parents did have to provide their own stools. Parents finally got back to the hotel at 2am after trekking back across the fields. 


On Boxing Day we were heading west to Si’s family for a couple of days. We believed we were going to his sisters for a buffet because we were still full from yesterday and could not eat any more food! We were wrong, it was a 3 course dinner, we surprised ourselves how much we continued to eat. On our return to the marina the next day, we needed wellies to get to the boat! The water had peaked at the highest we’ve ever seen it: 4m 58cm. It’s usually around the 3 metre mark. The boat was now higher than the road and the car park. Walking through the willow branches to get to the boat had been novel to begin with but now became very tiresome. 


Luckily by the 29th December when my auntie and uncle were visiting, the river had gone down and wellies weren’t required. The last time they had seen the boat was at Sharpness on hard standing. They were very impressed which is always nice. December 30th was preparing for our friends Mike, Lindsay and Barkis (another Wheaten Terrorist) coming for dinner on New Years Eve. It was our chance to reciprocate for all the times they had fed us. We had a lovely evening, especially Si’s cooking, Moroccan stew, so good Mike went back for fourths. I attempted the white chocolate cheesecake again, luckily this time I was armed with a trade secret which resulted in a set cheesecake….hooray! 

Sunday 23rd December – A lot of Effort but the Boat looks the Part

Cloudy

13 C     10 C (night)


It’s a shame we didn’t have another four weeks as with out momentum we would have nearly completed the boat! Si was attaching the lounge starboard plumbing box side, well, more bending it into place. For a while Si had struggled with how to attach it due to it requiring a bend to match the swim but also it needs to be 18mm ash faced block board. The answer appeared to be brute force, and lots of fixing blocks. I was stapling velcro to the varnished blind headers with my new staple gun and screwing 5 screw eyes into each one, followed by drilling pilot holes and then screwing it into place. We threaded up the blind and attached it to the header. The next 10 minutes was just us opening and closing the blind. It made such a difference to the room… Homely! The rest of the day was operation deep clean and making room for visitors. The workmate and tool box were banished to the 2nd bedroom; the router table was going to be our dinner table. We finally sat down at 10.30pm for dinner, but all was worth it as the boat was looking good! Merry Christmas Xx

Saturday 22nd December 2012 – Comes in Three’s

Heavy Rain

13 C     7 C (night)


Manic, manic… Preparing for Christmas as this year, we are hosting. Si glued the other side to the master bedroom oak lintel, so once again we had massive sash clamps at a dangerous height, well, not for me, for once a plus for being short! I tacked the 2nd blind I brought back last week, to make sure the lining and fabric were well attached, to create the strong folds. I varnished two of the ash strips Si had cut for me, to create the blind headers. We also had the plan of moving the boat to the pontoon opposite, it is only our pontoon with the electricity fault. But that plan failed when the engine wouldn’t start, not even turning over. To me that was a flat battery, knowledge from owning a Metro, but Si said he thought the starter battery was linked up to the leisure batteries in series. Does that mean a major engine problem? We thought it was going to be one of those days when Si then noticed a load of clear gunk down the stove flue pipe. We took down the flue surround, when it snapped in two… great! Underneath we found that it was the fire cement; a lesson learnt to harden it as soon as you re-do it. We didn’t light a fire last week because it was so mild. Si pushed it back into place and just reattached the fire board; the wood surround was confined to the workbench for fixing. A few hours later we lit the fire, what a stink from the cement hardening. 

Sunday 16th December 2012 – Back to the Drawing Board

Sunny Intervals

10 C     6 C (night)


Unfortunately after I had finished varnishing the newly put together kitchen shelf Si found out the shelf supports didn’t fit around the light switch. Back to the drawing board then. Si glued the bathroom oak lintel/ door frame top section using his massive sash clamps. Individually they are over a metre of heavy metal. Just incase of a catastrophic slip, he protected the bathroom floor and shower door with wood. 

Saturday 15th December 2012 - A SOFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cloudy

11 C     7 C (night)


Finally, this morning we fire cemented the stove and chimney, a messy job. I felt like a dentists assistant using the vacuum cleaner to clean up the debri as Si was picking off the cracked bits. I say cracked, but it was more damp and soggy. We presume the condensation has got to it because we haven’t used it for 9 months. Today was an exciting day, my parents were bringing their old sofa for us. They had recently purchased a snuggle seat for their conservatory and kindly offered us their old one, with the bonus that it fits into their 4x4.  I couldn’t work out if Ness was going to be more excited by Maisie (their dog), my parents, or a Sofa. Well the jury is in, the sofa won, followed closely by my dad (Grandpa). We hadn’t even got the bottom cushions on when she started bundling it and attempting headstands. We had a Chinese for dinner and all enjoyed the sofa, well the two dogs had it for the majority of the time! After my parents had left Si glued and clamped one side of the master bedroom upper ceiling lintel frame. I struggle to describe each element, so I thought the more descriptive words the better. 

Sunday 9th December 2012 – Two down, Three to Go

Sunny Intervals

9 C     4 C (night)


I hadn’t reached my target and managed to complete one more blind, but I did make the other 3 linings, not a total failure. I was also making 4 silver pendants and 5 charms, plus helping Daisy Roots who kindly fire my silver, by covering the studio for the day. Si spent today working on the 2nd kitchen shelf, it has been knocking around for ages. He’d made the shelf supports with the first shelf, but needed to make the shelf up. He biscuited and glued it all together and finally sanded it down in the evening. He plugged the 2nd bedroom oak fascia surrounds and started on one of the lips and biscuited it to one fascia. The electrics were still all over the place, but on discussing it with our neighbours we found we were not alone. Si also mentioned it to a boat engineer who happens to moor on our pontoon, the only one of us with a volt metre on board. Guess what? I was right, it’s dropping to 130v and spiking to 300v, so is it a coincidence our toothbrush charger and electric blanket are now caput? 

Saturday 8th December 2012 – Don’t Patronize Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunny Intervals

6 C     3 C (night)


Today I had gone to parents to make more roman blinds. This would be my last visit before Christmas so I had set myself a target - to finish them all… yeah right! I was pleased to be going home for the warmth, yesterday I had spent the whole day without electricity, 5C, inside!!! I had gone to the marina office to ask why, they said the electricians were putting gang plank lights in and so had turned off the power to the pontoon. I also mentioned our issues with the electrics and the office said that it sounded like the problem was our boat and that 240v could not drop - it’s either on or off. Since the power cut we also had a new neighbour; was this a coincidence? I was under the impression that 240v can drop and spike, so to confirm my opinion I spoke to the chandlery owner who agreed that if you are the last in  line you could get less power so I spoke to my dad. By 3pm the boat had got so cold that I had to put Nessie’s fleece on her and I couldn’t feel my fingers - with gloves on, so I sat in the car with the engine running and heaters on full. I saw the two electricians working so went to ask when were they turning the electrics back on? Their reply was “we haven’t cut off power to your pontoon”. They had a look at the fuse panel and our pontoon had tripped, fantastic! So I had been freezing all day for no reason, I asked them about 240v dipping and sending our inverter crazy. They said it’s not possible, 240v power can’t dip, it’s either on or off. I did query it but I was being treated like the dippy blonde. I said “my dad says it does” to which the electrician said “And what does your dad do?” Really patronizing! I replied “he’s an electrician on fighter jets”. This is where I finished the conversation but what I was really thinking was “stick that where the sun don’t shine”. I am a polite person but as soon as someone patronises me, I see red. It’s one of the reasons my father taught me about cars, not to be patronized by men! Rant over. For now. Si cut ash strips for me to create the roman blind headers. He also started the skirting boards for the bathroom and master bedroom. He was scratching around for the timber so the bedroom skirting will be in two pieces, but you’ll never notice with Si’s skill.

Wednesday 5th December 2012 – Kennel Cough Day

Light Rain

4 C     1 C (night)


Si was off work today due to a case of kennel cough, luckily not him! We’d gone to drop Ness off at the dog sitters yesterday but when we got there she said we may not want to drop Ness off (as I heard a dog spluttering in the kitchen). Poor Ness had to come to work with me. We didn’t want to leave her on her own on the boat because the electrics are all over the place, flickering, on, off, the inverter clunking all the time; we keep swapping our power lead over but still no better. Si made use of his day by attaching magnetic catches to the freezer and recycling cupboard doors. He made a start on the master bedroom upper/ceiling door frame section. He also re-attached the recently varnished washing machine cupboard doors; it makes such a difference reducing the draft in the lounge!

Sunday 2nd December 2012 – Finished Blind – Just the One!!!!!!!!!

Sunny Intervals

5 C      0 C (night)


I came back from parents today with a finished blind, very chuffed, it looked the part to!  I went to try it on the mock blind header, only to find out both were hook Velcro, so would not stick together… Bugger! So Si held it in place to see if it would work, and it did. I also bought the bedroom window Celotex back with me; the curtains are good, but nowhere near as insulating as a piece of Kingspan! We’ve just put it in the starboard window for now, it cuts out all daylight and the mornings are dark and miserable enough! I took over the lounge with the two bathroom shower oak end caps/door frame/trim to varnish the insides before they are permanently put into place. Not sure if it’s required but just in case any moisture does get in, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In the 2nd bedroom I was varnishing the washing machine doors, a proper production line.

Saturday 1st December 2012 – L’s into G’s

Cloudy

6 C      -1 C (night)


I was at parents again sewing more blinds, why do we have so many window’s? Si cut and fitted the oak fascia for the master bedroom portside doorframe. This needed to be done in two parts because they are at different angles. He now had two L-shape door frames glued and sanded and ready to biscuit together to create the final G-shape. He biscuited them and glued them into place in situ. The bathroom and corridor had become a dangerous gauntlet with all sorts of clamps sticking out at various angles.  He moved onto the second bedroom and cut the oak fascia’s for all 3 surrounds. We decided not to put a wall in here to keep it more open plan, but built a surround to make it feel like it could be a different room, we will eventually put a curtain up.

Friday 30th November 2012 – Floods, No Electric, Duff Blinds!

Cloudy

5 C     -2 C (night)


We’d had quite a week, the river level was rising fast, to the highest we’d ever seen it. So high I was worried about my car, the water was only 15cm off the car park. We’d risen to 4.44m and had overtaken the last highest in 2009. It’s all on the very informative EA website: 

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/riverlevels/riverstation.aspx?StationId=7214&sensor=D 


This was not our only issue this week because we had no power all of Tuesday night, with a temperature of 5C in the boat. We ended up not having dinner. We do have a gas hob & oven but it was too cold to cook, let alone eat. It came back on 10 minutes before we left for work on Wednesday morning. It actually gave us a kick up the backside; I’d bought the fire cement to redo the flue but we just hadn’t got around to doing it – that’ll teach us! During the week I’d been trying to work out why the Roman blind wasn’t pulling up into nice pleats; it looked more like scrunched up fabric. I’d looked at the costs of replacing the 4mm rods with 10mm rods but first thought I’d try the 10mm rods in the mock blind. Ahhaaa! It didn’t work either; presumably the blind had been kept straight for awhile so had lost its pleats. Then it suddenly dawned on me that the two materials needed to be attached together to work in harmony. I put 3 tacks in below each rod pocket… I’m the man!!! It worked both with 10mm & 4mm rods, a sigh of relief. Si sanded the washing machine cupboard doors and was creating quite a queue for varnishing. Luckily during the week I had been varnishing the freezer cupboard doors and finished the final coat today. Si cut and biscuited the inside of the G-shape door frame, this was joining the bathroom lip to the inside of the bathroom door frame. 

Sunday 25th November 2012 – What do you Mean “It Looks Funny”!!!!!!

Heavy Rain

12 C     2 C (night)


In between Roman blind making and cursing, I bought a fire-wood basket from Burford Garden Centre with our wedding money. It didn’t look too big in the store but filled my cars back seat. I liked it because it’s on wheels and has enough room for logs and kindling. I didn’t manage to complete a blind so I bought the mock blind back with the new rods and bar installed. I was a little worried about the size difference. The mock blind had 10mm rods, the new ones would have 4mm. The bottom bar in the mock is a piece of scrap wood but the new blinds are a solid aluminum bar… Guess what? It didn’t work… Si drilled the holes for the hinges and door knob on the boiler header tank door. Followed by hand sanding the first part of the G shape door frame down to an invisible join. He showed me his weekends efforts and what his next jobs would be. At what point do you say ’Honey, I’m not sure that’s going to look right?’. The issue was that I thought the bathroom door frame (in the corridor) should go to the roof. Si thought it should finish 5cm short of the ceiling with the ash trim between the ceiling and wall. He thought it looked fine, but I’m a foot shorter and I couldn’t see the gap between the trim and oak door frame, so in my opinion it looked wrong. After a temper tantrum from Si, which was fully justified, he came round to my way of thinking (!) but it will mean slightly tweaking the shower end cap/door frame. 

Saturday 24th November 2012 – Creating Alphabet Door Frames

Heavy Rain

10 C     2 C (night)


We had been enjoying the sight of the newly made freezer and washing machine doors on the stern steps cupboard, but sadly they needed to be removed for a final sand and for me to be able to varnish them. After this Ness and I said our goodbye’s because we were off to my parents for more Roman blind making. Well I was - Ness would be patrolling the garden. Si routered 2mm off the edges of the boiler chimney cupboard door to allow enough gap to be able to open and close the door.  He then made a start on the left hand bathroom/master bedroom door frame, but this was extremely complicated. The previous two were U-shapes whereas this was a G-shape (4 sides). He cut the oak and biscuited the first part, which created an L-shape with the lip inside the master bedroom. 

Friday 23rd November 2012 – The Yacht Club Challenge

Heavy Rain

12 C     6 C (night)


Today Si sanded down the shower end cap/bathroom door frame, until it was smooth as a babies bottom. He cut the inner 6mm MDF ash faced to size for the boiler chimney cupboard door and glued and clamped it all together. On my return from work we went off to the Yacht club again, we are making up for lost time. You are allowed to go 6 times a year before you have to become a member and this will be our second visit in 2012, better get a move on! 

Sunday 18th November 2012 – You Tube to the Rescue

Light Rain

10 C     1 C (night)


Today Si biscuited, glued and clamped the other side of the U for the shower endcap/doorframe. While it was drying he cut up a plank of oak for the boiler cupboard door, he routered the edges straight, followed with the router to rail & style’s to fit the 4 parts together. It’s a shame he only has one more cupboard door left to make, as he has these down to a work of art! I was struggling roman blind making; it had been so long since I’d done the mock blind that it took a few attempts followed by watching a couple of You Tube clips, I now had a plan of action. 

Saturday 17th November 2012 – Jigsaw Door Frames

Sunny Intervals

10 C     1 C (night)


This morning I was going to my parents to start roman blind making, but before I went we did a stock-take, because I would go via Screwfix. I also loaded my car with wood off-cuts that we’d sorted out, pieces we probably won’t need, but just incase we will store them at my parents. Si started trying to work out how to assemble the other shower endcap/bathroom doorframe. He had his work cut out because although it is a U-shape, there is a ceiling in the way. So once finished the cuts will look like a mountain range, quite a bit of jig-sawing! After cutting it to shape he biscuited one side of the U, glued and clamped. 

Friday 16th November 2012 – What a Waste of a Beautiful Sofa

Sunny Intervals

9 C     6 C (night)


Si drilled counter bore holes (screw digger) at the top and bottom of the sanded shower end cap/fascia to keep it in place, at 190cm in length it’s bound to warp.  He then jig-sawed more oak planks to start the master bedroom and bathroom door frame. We moved our breakfast console table to the middle of the kitchen to measure possible sofa’s. Unfortunately our beautiful £1000 Sofa Workshop sofa-bed (now 4 ½ years old) is too large for the lounge, gutting because it’s such a beautiful piece of furniture. We’ve decide a Snuggle sofa from either Next or M&S will fit perfectly, because it won’t look oversized. Later in the evening we went to the Yacht Club for a few pints.

Sunday 11th November 2012 – Roller Fluff

Light Rain

11 C     2 C (night)


In my haste yesterday painting with two types of paint, I didn’t label the rollers as to which was wall and which was cupboard paint. I tried the sniff test, but couldn’t be too sure, so had to get two new rollers out. It was only when the kitchen end panel dried did I see the clumps of roller fluff… Gggggggrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh!


Si added a piece of wood to the bedroom ceiling doorway to lower it to match the height of the kitchen door. He then sanded down the shower end cap/fascia, it looks amazing, you can’t see the joins of the wood. His final job of the day was to clean out the engine bay. 

Saturday 10th November 2012 – Don’t Stand Still, I’ll Paint You

Cloudy

10 C     8 C (night)


I felt the need to boat build today so I started filling any ceiling panel that needed an ash plug. Armed with a mallet and wood glue, off I went on a mission. My next task was to paint MDF primer on the last kitchen cupboard end panel. By the end of the day I had painted two coats of primer, rollered one coat of cupboard paint and put a coat of paint on a wall in the bathroom. The wall was grubby and badly marked and needed to be done before the oak end cap goes on. Si trimmed the 2nd oak side piece for shower end cap and used small biscuits instead of dowels, glued and clamped it to dry overnight.

 

Friday 9th November 2012 – Mini Adventure

Sunny Intervals

12 C     8 C (night)


We were both off work today, Si boat built while I was on a mini adventure. Si jig-sawed and routered a 12mm oak plank into 3 pieces, a front and two sides for the start of the shower wall “end cap/frame/trim/surround”, from floor to ceiling. We decided it was best to start with this one because it should be the easiest!?! The other shower end cap/surround is part of the bathroom door frame; far, far more complicated!


My mini adventure consisted of a trip to Iver for flue cement, Slough B&Q to spend wedding vouchers on varnish & more paint rollers, plus I wanted to look at flooring. I’d like to get it in before Christmas… pipe dream. I bought two samples of engineered oak, £3 a sample but cheaper than making a mistake with colours. Finally I went to Staines-upon-Thames (recent name change) to collect a wicker box (bought with wedding money) and the Roman blind material from Laura Ashley for the 5 windows in the lounge/kitchen. LA is definitely becoming my favourite home-furnishing store, especially when they have 30% sales on.


In the evening Si dowelled one side of the shower end-cap to the front fascia, it took 10 dowels which was very fiddly so decided he would attempt biscuits on the other side. He then proceeded to glue and clamp it to dry overnight. We put our wicker box in place on the 2nd step, to house all our hats, scarves and gloves.

Sunday 4th November 2012 – How we Miss the Van

Heavy Rain

9 C     2 C (night)


Yesterday we both went back to our parents – Somerset & Oxfordshire. Si needed to collect the remaining wood from his father’s garage, and could only travel solo because the 8ft lengths go from the front seat to the boot. He had tested in the week whether he could get 8ft planks into the car. Bloody car, oh how we miss our gutless van. I went home because Ness had a date with the groomer and stayed an extra night, while Si attached the recently varnished boiler cupboard side & front. 

Friday 2nd November 2012 – Yuck, Yuck and Yuck!

Sunny Intervals

11 C     4 C (night)


Si had been gluing the boiler chimney cupboard trim during the week, a strip each night. Today he sanded it down but was slightly over zealous on the edge and sanded it down to the MDF - nothing routering a little strip off won’t cure. After that it was ready for varnishing. I was modifying the bedroom curtains, sewing tacks to keep the lining and fabric together while Si was investigating why the water wasn’t going down the kitchen sink. He took off the P-trap… YUCK YUCK and YUCK! Luckily most of it was loose, so with the help of a hosepipe, outside, he cleaned the P-trap to look like new. Unfortunately the chrome plug attachment came away from the sink as well and needed sealing again, taking 36 hours to dry; we could feel a takeaway coming on for tonight’s dinner. 


By the evening I was on my 3rd coat of varnish on the boiler chimney cupboard fascia’s. Si started cutting more boat trim to size and finding homes for it, but it made us realise trimming the boat is going to be a very sloooooooow process. The method to create the trim is: router a plank of ash with the desired edge beading, cut it off into a strip with the jigsaw, followed by running it through the router table to get it exactly 12mm wide and straight. Might take a while…

Sunday 28th October 2012 – Mess Day

Sunny Intervals

10 C    1 C (night)


Si was boat alone, I’d left at 8.30am for a day of photography experience, taking photographs of new born babies. He decided he could make mess, so set about it with gusto, making ash trim for the majority of the day.

Saturday 27th October 2012 – How much a Metre?

Sunny Intervals

9 C    2 C (night)


Today we went shopping, mainly to purchase more fabric for the lounge/kitchen windows. If you are ever designing a boat please take on board (excuse the pun) having 13 windows is excessive! They let a huge amount of lovely light in but, not only are they all single glazed, which creates a lot of condensation but also makes the boat colder and costs a fortune to dress!!! The fabric was in the sale, 30% off, and even then it was still £28.50 a metre. I know we’re buying it from Laura Ashley, but it would be very similar prices at John Lewis etc. In total £170 and I still need to purchase the roman blind rods, string, Velcro and hooks.  On the practice blind I made several years ago I used dowel and washers and now feel we need to go a little bit more up market considering the cost of the fabric! We also picked up a little, mini, tiny oil filled radiator for the bedroom, the idea being the bigger one currently in there will go into the lounge. Essentially, it couldn’t cope with the size of the room, so back to the drawing board. 

Monday 22nd October 2012 – Lounge Looking Good

Foggy

15 C     12 C (night)


Si drilled the holes for the hinges and door knobs on the washing machine and freezer doors and attached them in place; it was a nice surprise returning home to see them in place. When we have a dry day we can sand them ready for me to varnish. 

Sunday 21st October 2012 – While the Wife’s Away!

Light Rain

12 C     10C (night)


In our absence Si took the opportunity to cut the boiler cupboard MDF. He managed to make both sides, cut and router the hole for the cupboard door and make the hole for the boiler control unit. 

Saturday 20th October 2012 – Boat Party

Sunny Intervals

14 C    8 C (night)


During the week Si had glued all 4 doors to fit the washing machine and freezer cupboards. Although they fitted perfectly, they now needed routering 2mm off each side to be able to fit the hinges on, but to also be able to open them! He used the shims to measure the gaps required and routered teeny strips at a time. In the evening we went to a party over the water, we were only going to stay for an hour… 6 hours later……mmmmmmm.

Sunday 14th October 2012 – Stern Step Doors

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12 C    2 C (night)


This morning he unclamped the door he had glued last night and started on the next one. Once all sash clamped up, he made a start on finishing the 2nd bedroom ceiling roof trim. He then drilled counterbore holes in the ceiling trim to be able to screw it to the ceiling and for it to be plugged. 

Saturday 13th October 2012 – Curtains Done

Sunny Intervals

13 C    5 C (night)


Yesterday I had completed the port side bedroom curtains; today’s job was to finish the starboard side, hand sewing the ribbon on to create the pleats. Si continued with the stern step doors with the router. He cut the four 6mm ash faced MDF inner panels to size and glued the first door. While he was waiting for the glue to dry, he cracked on with more ash roof trim.

Friday 12th October 2012 – Enough wood after All

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14 C    8 C (night)


Today I felt I was finally on the finishing straight with the curtains. They looked the part but needed rearranging every time you drew them; the pièce de résistance was hand sewing a length of ribbon on the back to create equally spaced permanent pleated curtains. Si was making a start on the washing machine and freezer cupboard doors on the front of the stern steps. Originally I had bought netting wire to make mini curtains instead of doors, because we couldn’t afford the wood, but some how Si had found spare planks, so decided to knock the 4 doors up. He cut them into the desired lengths and started putting them through the router table to trim them straight and to router the rails and stiles.

Sunday 7th October 2012 – Finishing the Little Bits

Sunny Intervals

13 C    8 C (night)


We had a chilled day Friday, and Saturday we were getting ready for a family friends 1940’s 40th Birthday party in London. My parents were invited to so they had pitched up their caravan at the Chertsey site for overnight accommodation. I went to visit my parents to walk the dogs, while Si glued together the two pieces of ceiling trim to the mushroom vent surround. He also removed the drawers from the kitchen unit to get access to the side carcass to secure the end panel in place. I had finished it several weeks ago and it had been leaning against the drawer unit. It was one of the many small things on the list to do, but once done makes a big difference. We can now attach the fire blanket and fire extinguisher to the end panel. 

Thursday 4th October 2012 – Shopping!

Sunny Intervals

16 C    6 C (night)


I still was full of cold so spent my time sleeping ridiculous hours. Si started on the 2nd bedroom cupboard fascia to cover the boiler header tank and vent. Once again he had to deal with all angles and curves. He didn’t get very far as he didn’t like Ness & I being aboard while we was cutting the MDF. Instead he started cutting the ash trim for the ceiling in the 2nd bedroom. Unlike the other mushroom vents, this one was in the middle of a join, requiring the ceiling trim and mushroom vent surround to be attached together. This couldn’t be made out of ash faced ply and needed real ash. Luckily the mushroom surround had been made a long time ago, it was now just fitting the surround to ash planks though it turned out to be easier said than done. In the afternoon we decided to cheer ourselves up with a visit to John Lewis, the vouchers were already burning a hole in our pockets (what are we? Five!). We purchased new bed sheets, duvet set, hand towel for the bathroom and bath mats.

Tuesday 2nd October 2012 – Our Honeymoon

Light Rain

18 C     8 C (night)


This week was supposed to be our honeymoon, typically for us it didn’t go to plan. We had thought it would be nice to go to Devon, stay in our favourite pub and go surfing. The weather this week was disgusting plus there was no surf and to top it all off, I had come down with a stinking cold.  So, nothing for it, can you guess what we did? Today was the first opportunity to boat build because Sunday was taken up with family visiting the boat and the Monday was spending the last few hours with my sister and husband before they flew back to Oz. My attempt today was to hand sew the bow door curtain. I had sewn the hem at my parents but upon hanging it, the lining was peeping out in a couple of places.  Si started making the frame for the 2nd bedroom boiler vent cupboard to cover all of the boiler piping. He used a mixture of 2x2 and 2x1 to create the frame. We also continued to open the wedding cards, considering we had asked people not to buy us anything, we were overwhelmed by the money and gift vouchers people had given. Here we come John Lewis!

Saturday 29th September 2012 – ‘We’re Going to the Chapel and we’re going to get Married’

Sunny

17 C          9 C (night)


Well, today was our wedding day.  We had an amazing and beautiful day. The sun shone for us at Garrick’s Temple Hampton. It was just our immediate family to the service in Garrick’s Temple, it was both personal and beautiful. In the afternoon we had a family meal in the Bell Inn across the road. We then moved up to the function room where more of our family and friends joined us. We hired a solo vocalist / guitarist for the entertainment and he was fantastic, the dance floor never emptied. During the evening we played a slideshow of the boat build from the beginning to present. A big thank you to Clair for taking the most amazing photographs; and Allison for the beautiful looking and tasting cake. 

Thursday 27th September 2012 – Manicures and Boat Building don’t go together

Cloudy

18 C     10 C (night)


During the week I was making wedding favours, orders of service, confetti cones but more to the point - varnishing madly! Anything that was put under my nose I varnished: steps, swims, doors. Most brides are beautifying themselves the few days beforehand. Well not me, I was varnishing and repairing the shower, regrouting and siliconing the shower corners. I did have a manicure yesterday, but I ruined that in the car on the way home, let alone before I started boat building again. Bless her, the beautician even put me in my car, strapped me in and turned the ignition so that I wouldn’t ruin them. Are the police aware that women who have just had a manicure aren’t safe to drive?! It was a lovely French polish colour, but I didn’t feel it was quite me, so I was going to redo them Saturday morning with good old clear nail varnish. I’m definitely the less is more kind of girl! Today Si was on a mission to fit the two bottom steps and the recycling cupboard door because tomorrow, we were setting up the wedding venues and sorting the last minute preparations.  He was attaching them with dowels and glue and letting gravity take hold (thank you Isaac Newton).

Monday 24th September 2012 – Shower Repairs

Light Rain

16 C     11 C (night)


Today I started on the shower, repairing the cracks. We double checked in the bathroom vanity cupboard that the wet patch in the 2nd bedroom wasn’t coming from a leaking pipe. Having ruled that out the culprit was definitely the cracked grout. I had bought a tool from Homebase to scrape out the grout but it was utterly rubbish, in the end I used a screwdriver. I bought some new readymade grout, the previous stuff I made up myself and I was now wondering if the consistency was wrong, so to be safe I bought a tube of supposedly flexible grout for £12.99. I fully re-grouted certain parts but also revamped other parts that had tiny hair-line cracks. Within half an hour I was sponging off the excess and taping up the tiles and shower tray to redo the sealant. It probably wasn’t necessary to redo around the shower base, but better to be safe than sorry.  All of this effort will hopefully give us a working shower for our wedding day. 

Sunday 23rd September 2012 – Bridesmaid Look Completed

Heavy Rain

12 C     8 C (night)


Today was Nessie’s haircut for the wedding. I was a little worried she’d come back a little short, but she came back de-matted and looking beautiful, just right for a bridesmaid! And to make it even better, Linda the groomer gave this cut to us as a wedding present, how nice is that. 

Saturday 22nd September 2012 – Give me Normal Windows

Sunny Intervals

17 C     6 C (night)


My sister and her husband had landed in the week. I managed to pick her up at the airport this time (last time I was in hospital). It was amazing to see her, I hadn’t seen her since Christmas but especially since Wilf being born. Most of the time 10,000 miles seems so far but through April, May, June and July it felt like my sister was right with me, holding my hand every step of the way and I owe her a lot for her amazing support. Anyway an emotional greeting at Heathrow I then dropped them off to collect their hire car. Today was the first day I would spend quality time with her, well nearly. I would be finishing curtains on the one hand while catching with the other. The bedroom curtains have taken me so long, due to being attached top and bottom, whereas the bow door curtain took me less than a day. Luckily this proves I’m not too slow when it comes to normal curtains and gives Si hope if we ever move into a house. As I was nearing finishing the 5 curtains, Si was attaching the two oak step tops. They had been finished for months but there was no point in ruining them until we had all 4 completed, and he was very close to this. To finish the final look of the stern he made two oak swim tops, not the biggest pieces of wood but very fiddly because the backs are at angles, and the fronts follow the curves of the swims. 

Sunday 16th September 2012 – He-Man Required

Cloudy

19 C    8 C


All the cuts were made on the 2nd bedroom oak top, today was all about sanding and varnishing. Si systematically worked through the day varnishing every hour. The varnish is re-coatable in two hours but with the use of the amazing painting pyramids, he could turn it over and do a coat every hour. Four coats on each side, and it was ready to go in, for which he waited until my return because it now needed gentler handling due to it being finished. We both lifted the top in, it was bloody heavy so I have absolutely no idea how he managed it by himself.

Saturday 15th September 2012 – Acquiring a Wardrobe of Skill

Sunny Intervals

22 C     8 C (night)


On one of my previous curtain making weekends I had completed the bow door curtain - apart from its length.  I needed to hang it to find this out which meant attaching the curtain rail, but before we could do this we needed to attach the bow door trim. We have had the trim since the bow doors were put in - only 3 years ago! Si is desperate to redo the doors, they do look pretty and even come with their own ventilation system… gaps that is, and not small ones at that! What is grueling is that we paid a lot of money for them, but at the time Si didn’t have the wood working skills. Fast forward 3 years and he now has a whole wardrobe of them, and could easily do a better job. Anyway we measured and cut the curtain pole, put the brackets up, attached the curtain rings and put the curtain up…. wow, it looked so homely!  Another reminder that we are getting closer to the end.  I pinned the curtain to take back to my parents for another weekend of sewing. Si continued the afternoon on the recycling cupboard door, it was all glued, and now needed trimming to fit. With a final sand it was now ready for me to varnish 4 coats front and back. Si started on making the cuts in the massive panel that will be the 2nd bedroom top. Surely this would be an easy job? Nope, it has to fit under the starboard wall panel, round the boiler ventilation pipe and the header tank pipes. Every cut that Si made, he would then maneuver this massive piece into place to check the fit. I hate to think how many times he carried this piece in and out, especially with his dodgy back. 

Monday 10th September – The 2nd Bedrooms New Purpose

Cloudy

22 C     16 C (night)


Si continued with the recycling cupboard door, he cut the ash faced MDF to size, being very careful how he cut it; we still need to get several more door panels out of a single sheet of ash faced mdf, and it’s very expensive stuff! Once cut to size he was ready to glue and clamp. He then made a start on cutting the planks for the second bedroom oak “desk” top, and to biscuit them together. It rests on the boiler cupboard and the temporary legs from the old top of birch ply off-cuts. The 2nd bedroom is now going to become an office, I have already seen the 27 inch Mac that I like! It will look totally awesome on the oak top, but unfortunately has a £1500 price tag - this will not be happening. We were very lucky we hadn’t converted it into a nursery, it would have been a painful reminder. We have now decided, that if we do ever have a second baby we will not buy anything except a few nappies and baby grows, then I will send Si out to Argos to purchase everything. 

Sunday 9th September 2012 – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle????

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28 C    10 C (night)


Si started making another door, it was quite apt because he was using an old plank of wood to make the recycling cupboard door. It sounds posh, but all it contains at the moment is a large Tesco “bag for life” that we put the glass bottles (my beer) and cardboard in. I now empty it once a week, and we have no room for the cans (Si’s beer). This is another problem living on a boat, you don’t have a massive recycle wheelie bin; we have to take it to the supermarket.  Anyway Si started the doors oak frame, cutting them with the jigsaw roughly to size, followed by the router to get straight edges and finally used the rail and style router bit, to create the 6mm groove for the ash faced MDF centre and to cut the stiles to fit the frame together.

Saturday 8th September 2012 – Puddles Forming

Sunny Intervals

27 C     10 C (night)


During the week I had varnished the plumbing top sides and tops and these were now fixed in place. Si cleaned the engine bay out because there was quite a puddle forming in the bottom. Not surprising with the start of colder nights forming condensation, but really it was the amount of rain filling in the channels. While he was feeling brave, he had to do exactly the same to the corner step as he did with the bottom step yesterday, cutting it into lots of pieces. With both steps glued back together, he could now router them straight and cut the piano hinge to size.

Monday 3rd September 2012 – To Cut or not to Cut

Sunny Intervals

24 C     14 C (night)


We hadn’t been able to boat build this weekend, as we were at Si’s Aunty & Uncle’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. A good do, with great food and it was lovely to meet more of the family I’m about to marry into. Si’s first job this morning was to biscuit each plank of the corner (fan shaped) step, to be able to glue and clamp it together. Having done that, he carried on cutting the bottom step. He now had 4 pieces and needed to glue 3 of them back together to make the static part of the step. 

Monday 27th August 2012 – Curtain Failure

Cloudy

22 C     11 C (night)


On my return from parents I tested the first curtain for fit only to be very disappointed. The weight of the curtain pulled it forwards so that the curtain rail showed. After much swearing I realized that pinning underneath the top rail stopped this from happening, so it would be back to the sewing machine next weekend. Si started working on the bottom stern step, the panel had been made up several weeks ago, but due to angles, and curved end panels, and the requirement for a hinge, this was not going to be an easy step. At least he’d had practice with the easier, straight bow steps first. After spending time gluing all the planks together he now needed to cut them up again to be able to make the hatch opening in the middle, and then fit it all back together again.

Sunday 26th August 2012 – A New Campaign, all Boats should be Free of Angles & Curves!

Sunny Intervals

22 C     11 C (night)


Si had previously made the plumbing box side, he now needed to make the oak top. This was not going to be straight forward because he had two radiator pipes and a curved swim to fit it round - it was not going to be a quick job. I you ever want to build a boat, make sure your walls don’t have angles and particularly no curves! He cut the oak plank into 3, to fit around the pipes and planed the backs to fit around the curve. A whole days work but very well done.

Saturday 25th August 2012 – Bugger…..Forgot the Overhang

Heavy Rain

23 C     14 C (night)


We had long discussions which way the grain should be on the stern corner step. There were three options, the grain going length ways, width ways or fanning the grain around, so it went from length to width ways. We chose the most difficult option, the third option! Si measured the 6 oak planks and cut the pieces to size until they lined up perfectly together. It was all going well until he cut the bedside cabinet to size and forgot to leave the overhang… bugger! He now had to biscuit another piece of oak on the back to extend it, router it and sand it again. 

Friday 24th August 2012 – Not One Router but Two….Lucky Boy!

Sunny Intervals

24 C    17 C (night)


Finally a day with no rain, I took the opportunity to sand down the master bedroom bedside cabinet top. I sat outside on the pontoon with the orbital sander. I then made an attempt to wash the roof of the boat, but only managed a quarter before I had to leave to head west for more curtain making. Si was now in possession of two new routers. We had found a good quality Erbauer, with a heavy duty wattage. Normally price £150 but was reduced to £99 from Screwfix. The plan was to attach the more powerful router to the table, but our plan was soon scuppered as the Erbauer on switch does not lock on. Plan B, the new smaller DeWalt router which is an exact replacement for our old one will be attached to the table. 

Sunday 19th August 2012 – How Many Planks Fit an Audi A4

Sunny

30 C      15 C (night)


The timber order had been delivered to Si’s parents in the week so he drove down on Friday and spent Saturday morning cutting it to fit into Audi A4 sized lengths. He only managed to fit in half of it in and had to go alone to be certain to fit that in. I was at my parents doing more curtain making. I know I’ve never made curtains before and I haven’t chosen the easiest method either, hidden tabs top and bottom…..that will teach me for being inventive!

Monday 13th August 2012 – Missing Panel

Light Rain

26 C     15 C


Si took the day off, he decided late last night while watching the Olympics closing ceremony. We are going to miss the Olympics not being on Radio 5 Live but at least it’s not long until the football season kicks off.  I started painting primer on the MDF oven surrounds & end panel. There should have been two end panels, but we could only find one. We both had that vague recollection of chopping the other end panel up, but neither of us could remember what it was for.  After a coat of primer I walked Ness, went for swim, then onto Homebase, Sainsbury’s, emptied the recycling, did more MDF primer painting and then Ness’s evening walk! Felt like quite a domesticated day. Originally Si was stumped what to do without his router, it is currently at the menders; unfortunately they phoned today and said it’s not worth repairing because it would cost £120 and for another £70 we can buy a brand new one. We chatted about what needed doing, I thought he’d taken off today due to feeling guilty about yesterdays lack of boat building, but he slept in till 11am. He glued more strips of trim to the bed side cabinet, then started on the lounge portside plumbing top boxes. He had already pre-cut the ash plumbing box sides a long time ago, but since then we have put the stove in place, so it now needed re-designing around the stove. 

Sunday 12th August 2012 – A Different Perspective

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26 C     14 C (night)


Not too much boat building today though Si glued and clamped 18mm ash strips to the edges of the bedside table front. We then went off and visited Garrick Temple to have a look (wedding venue), The Bell Inn (reception venue) and finally Jaya & Mikes boat. Mike had recently bought a little boat to go fishing in, and it was moored at one of our favourite locations in Hampton. We had investigated mooring September Air there but not had any luck. Mike wanted to take us for a quick spin so we handed Ness over to Jaya and climbed aboard. Seeing a marina from the water gives you a completely different perspective. It looked like a dump, not attractive at all! Today’s bad news was Si noticing the shower had been leaking. He discovered it while moving his sash clamps around in the second bedroom. There was quite a wet patch. On close inspection of the shower, the grout had cracked in several places but it was the two corners which were the worst. I did think when I grouted them that it was probably a mistake and I was right. The boat swells and contracts so much, it was inevitable. So I will now have to redo the grout in some areas and use sealant for the corners. You know you’re taking too long to build a boat when you have to do the upkeep during that process!

Saturday 11th August 2012 – Imaginative Finances

Sunny Intervals

24 C     15 C (night)


We arrived back home late afternoon from my parents because we stopped off in Oxford to give in our notice of marriage. It had been an emotional day anyway but it was also Wilf’s official due date. On our return to the boat I got in to admin mode, writing blog and re-jigging the boat finances due to the last wood order coming in at £890; unfortunately we still need more!!! Si attached the bottom electric cupboard doors but he wasn’t happy with the hinges. Unfortunately Rutland don’t do the beautiful hinges we’ve used on all the other cupboards in a small enough size, so we were relying on Homebase hinges. They are far cheaper though not great quality, making it harder for Si to attach and adjust the doors. The doors also slightly touch when closed and will need a slither taking off the edges but this will have to wait till we get another router. 

Monday 6th August 2012 – Upside Down Doors

Sunny Intervals

21 C     15 C (night)


Si glued the bottom stern step top planks together then routered the bedside cabinet front straight and the drawer holes to size. He rummaged through his wood pile to find enough ash to cut the edge trim to size. Si attached the door handles and hinges to the top 2 electric cupboard doors and fitted them into place. He wasn’t happy with the fit so started swearing about Homebase hinges being rubbish, until he noticed the handles looked too low, and then he realised he’d put them on the wrong way round! Homebase hinges are still rubbish though. And NEVER use the screws that come with them!

Sunday 5th August 2012 – Wedding Bells

Light Rain

21 C     12 C (night)


With less then 8 weeks till we get married there is a lot to do! We decided not to wait, the original plan was to marry next year after Wilf was born, but decided we didn’t want to remember 2012 as all a bad year. A lot of today was taken up meeting our Celebrant, who will be taking the service.  After discussing the wording and biding her farewell, Si made a start by jig-sawing the front of the bedside cabinet for an hour and then boredom set in! In the end we had a lazy relaxing afternoon. We felt so guilty that Si decided to take a day of annual leave tomorrow, to make up for this afternoon. 

Saturday 4th August 2012 – More Fish

Sunny Intervals

21 C     14 C (night)


There is something to do with Si catching fish with an audience at the moment. As we had a visit from Lindsay, so Si caught a 23lb Mirror carp “off the top”. Getting back to boat work he routered the biscuit holes for the bottom stern step top with his old cheap router. He then moved onto the bedside cabinet by cutting the side and front from Ash faced MDF followed by cutting the holes out for the drawers with the jigsaw. I started to varnished the 4 coats needed on the electric cupboard doors.

Tuesday 31st July 2012 – Fishing or Waiting for a Bus

Sunny Intervals

21 C     11C (night)


I decided to stay at parents for another day, so Si decided to take another day off work. He fitted and drilled the electrics cupboard door hinges into place. He thought his achievement of the day was catching a 16 ½ lb mirror carp. It appears Mirror Carp are like buses. With the fishing excitement over he finished the bedside cabinet carcassing including the drawer rails and supports.

 

Monday 30th July 2012 – Router Failure

Sunny Intervals

21 C     10 C (night)


Si sanded the electrics cupboard doors ready for my return to varnish. He started on the bottom stern step oak top by routering all the edges straight and marking out the biscuit positions only to find he couldn’t get the cutting bit out of the router. The router has been getting worse and he has had to use the water pump pliers to hold the catch to enable him to undo the bit collet. This time it seems much worse, and we don’t have enough boat budget to purchase another router. In an ideal world Si would love two routers, one for free work and the other permanently attached to the router table. Game over – either it’s a new router or find somewhere to see if it can be mended. Si went to Homebase to purchase carcassing timber to start the fixed bed side table, at least this job didn’t need a router.

Sunday 29th July 2012 – Birthday Celebrations

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18 C     11 C (night)


Si finished routering the electrics cupboard doors to size and made the hall shelf side supports. I left him to it, as I was off to my parents to join my parents to celebrate my fathers 64th birthday. It would have been nice for Si to come but he was desperate to make some progress on the boat. 

Saturday 28th July 2012 – Having a Sort Out

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20 C     14 C (night)


Si vacuumed the engine bay and bow deck. The boat is in desperate need of a good wash but with the hosepipe ban it hasn’t been possible, so a vacuum cleaner is the next best thing. After all his hard work, the roof and bow deck were covered in leaves again within hours. He continued with a bit of sorting out, storing all the wood burning stove stuff like logs, coal, kindling and ash bucket in the engine bay. I know we are nearly into August and we haven’t had a fire since March, and it will probably all need to be back out in 2 months. I finished the last coat of varnish on the hall shelf and then together we put up two more Laura Ashley hooks in the bedroom because we loved the hallway ones so much. Si went to Homebase because he needed more hinges to be able to router the doors to their exact size. The finishing touch of the day was fitting the bottom hall shelf, with the added touch of the baskets it was looking pretty good.

Monday 23rd July 2012 – Extending Holiday

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20 C     12 C (night)


Si decided to continue his holiday by taking an extra day off work and plugged the 3 oak shelf brackets. I varnished a few more coats on the last oak shelf, to soon finish off September Air’s hallway.

Sunday 22nd July 2012 – The Biggest Ever Catch

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23 C     12 C (night)


We are back from our French holiday. We were supposed to go away back in May, but all changed with the loss of Wilf. The lovely people who own the Gite let us re-book, so we took the tunnel on the 14th July to a piece of Brittany paradise. We were with my parents and it was a relaxing holiday that we all needed after the last few months. On the Gite’s estate was a Carp lake, which kept Si amused. Our neighbours were horses, pigs, cows and 200 acres of forest. We managed to spend a lot of time on the coast and got to go surfing at Le Torche. Today we both got stuck into boat building because we were suffering from guilt. Si glued the last electrics cupboard door together while I plugged the remaining holes in the roof trim. We were wondering what to do with the horizontal roof beams, because they did not meet flush with the side roof trim. We had investigated adding 2mm veneer to make them flush, but this was an expense, and a faff. Instead we undid the ends and placed a washer behind to bring it flush. A little Heath Robinson, but it worked. Early evening my parents popped in for a cup of tea on their way home from France but the cup of tea turned into quite a night. Within 20 minutes of their arrival Si caught his biggest ever catch. A 32 ½ lb Mirror Carp, it took 25 minutes to land her and she was a beauty. 

Monday 9th July 2012 – Visitors Marvelling at the Wardrobes

Cloudy

19 C     15 C (night)


This morning I was travelling back from parents while Si was cleaning the boat; his parents Sandy & Chris were visiting at lunch time. By the time I arrived, they had already been aboard for 10 minutes. Si showed them the progress, in which they seemed impressed especially with the wardrobes. We went out for a nice pub lunch before saying goodbye. I did a bit of varnishing but it was a bit too late in the day to get all the tools out for full-on boat building.

Sunday 8th July 2012 – Third Time Lucky

Sunny Intervals

22 C    14 C (night)


Today Si glued the trim to the 2 stern shelves and routered some more stern shelf supports. While he had the router out he also trimmed down the top and bottom trims for the oven surrounds again. This was the 3rd attempt because we believe there is not enough air circulating around the oven, which causes it to go out. On the last attempt we used the manufacturers recommended gap, which should have been sufficient. 

Saturday 7th July 2012 – Struggling to get a Straight Edge

Light Rain

18 C     13 C (night)


I drove to parents with Ness, she had an appointment with the groomer and I had an appointment with parents dining room table to start curtain making on. I do have a sewing machine on the boat, but not the space or the cleanliness to be able to make curtains. I got as far as making all four linings for the side curtains and believe me that was a challenge. The first one I made looked great, it was only when I measured it that I realised it was 86cm at each end but 84cm in the middle. In the end I had to sellotape the material to the table to get at least one straight edge to start with.

Monday 2nd July 2012 – Car Problems help to Build the Boat

Sunny Intervals

18 C     12 C (night)


Si glued and clamped the 4 electric cupboard doors together. I varnished the front of the stern steps and then we made a trip into Staines as Laura Ashley were having a 50% sale on curtain fabric. We purchased fabric to complete the bedroom curtains, in a duck egg blue colour and two coat hooks, all in the sale. I don’t think I had mentioned previously that Si has bought a new car, well, a 9 year old Audi A4 estate. Since selling the van we were down to my little car and with Si returning back to work we needed to go back to a two-car family. Not the greatest purchase so far, after two days it stopped working. Luckily the dealer took it back and fixed it; if we had driven the car anymore the engine would have blown-up. That was about four weeks ago. This week something else fell off but luckily once again the dealer paid for the work. We are off to France in 10 days and seriously thinking about taking my little car.  Due to the latest car fault Si was off work again, but at least he made the most of a bad situation… boat building.

Sunday 1st July 2012 – Redesigning and Creating a Hallway

Sunny Intervals

19 C     11 C (night)


We have had a total design change on the stern steps. Originally we were going to have a bookshelf similar to the starboard side, but we were concerned this would take up too much of the step area, and also make it feel claustrophobic. We have now opted for 2 shelves similar to the oak kitchen ones. I went online and bought 2 baskets to go on the top shelf, these will be useful for Nessie’s leads and poo bags.  By having the shelves we will also have room for 2 coat hooks, it will make the corner of the boat more of a hallway.  Si was multi-tasking with the router by doing the hall shelves and the electric cupboard doors.  On the electric cupboard doors he was at the stage of cutting the rails and stiles. Once finished he could assemble them together to get the size for the ash faced MDF for the inside panels. While Si was doing this I was off walking Ness; since I’ve got my physical strength back I am taking Ness for the majority of her walks, giving Si more time to work on the boat plus it will help me to get my fitness back.

Saturday 30th June 2012 – Searching for More Off Cuts

Sunny Intervals

22 C     12 C (night)


Well, after our last lazy day, we both got stuck in and boat built up to 7pm, almost like the good old days of Sharpness. Si dug around his ever increasing spare wood pile in the 2nd bedroom for off-cuts. He found enough oak to make more electric cupboard doors. We were rather chuffed at his find because this will help the ever decreasing boat budget. I started repainting the Houdini hatch, it had discoloured from the condensation. After several coats of white paint I siliconed the gap between the wood surround and the metal of the hatch in an attempt to reduce future condensation drips… time will tell.  I then moved onto repairing the kitchen corner tiles by chipping out the grout. Previously I had re-grouted the cracks, but with the permanent movement of the boat expanding and retracting, it’s time for the properly flexible option: silicone. 

Monday 25th June 2012 – Andrex Puppy Required

Sunny Intervals

22 C     12 C (night)


A lazy day today, but some days you don’t feel like boat building… The grand total of our achievement was gluing the toilet roll holder onto the white splash back. We now need an Andrex puppy to test it out.

Sunday 24th June 2012 – The Cost of Timber… Toooooooo Much!

Sunny Intervals

22 C     12 C (night)


We spent most of the morning working on the cutting list to order another load of timber. We realised how much we still need and that we can’t afford it all. So we have put the wood in priority order; plus we don’t have the room for it! As a temporary measure I will make curtains for the remaining cupboards that require oak doors. Si glued the white splash back onto the bathroom wall, this will make it easier to clean. It looks really good and if we ever do this again, I’d definitely do the whole bathroom, including the shower enclosure, in white glass.

 

Saturday 23rd June 2012 – Watercolour Painting

Sunny Intervals

22 C     12 C(night)


During the week I varnished 4 coats on stern steps fronts, and a little bit of watercolour paint. Si had got a little carried away with the sander and had gone through the ash face to the MDF. I used white and yellow ochre watercolours mixed to get the right colour, and it looks pretty good now varnished. You only see it if you look for it. 

Saturday 16th June 2012 – Dodgy Mirror Screws

Sunny Intervals

21 C      11 C (night)


Last weekend we were at Si’s parents for Sandy’s birthday and it was the first time we had seen the whole family since Wilf was born. Si had finished the bottom and 2nd step fronts and assembled these by screwing to the stern steps carcass and gluing the trim.  Earlier in the week we had collected the bedroom mirror and bathroom splash-back from Feltham glassworks. We attempted to put the bedroom mirror in place, being careful not to use long screws, we are aware there are 12 volt wires behind the wall. The mirror was in place and the last part was to attach the mirror caps to the screws, typically only 2 fitted. We will have to call in to get a few more screws from Feltham glass next week. 

Sunday 3rd June 2012 – Working on Electric Cupboard

Sunny Intervals

20 C     10 C (night)


Si used the router to straighten the edges on the electrics cupboard front and started gluing the ash trim to the inside edges.

Saturday 2nd June 2012 – Finders Keepers

Sunny Intervals

20 C     10 C (night)


Si put the oak kitchen shelf up, but only the starboard side; he has made the shelf for the port side which I have varnished but it can’t be put up till the kitchen door frame is done. He cut the two holes out of the electrics cupboard surround with the jigsaw. He also cut up a plank of ash, he had found in the spare wood pile, for the electric cupboard and stern steps trim.  

Sunday 27th May 2012 – In Need of Storage

Sunny Intervals

19 C     9 C (night)


Well the weather today was Hot Hot Hot, not complaining but unfortunately our large parasol and fan are stored at my parents. We have considered storage local to us but it’s just the added cost. Today my task was to repaint the kitchen wall white in preparation for the oak shelf. Over time working on the boat, the paint becomes grubby. We know we will have to freshen all the paint work eventually. Si started on the surround for the electrics cupboard from a sheet of ash faced MDF. It’s not ideal cutting the MDF in the boat and definitely needs to be done on non rainy days keeping the boat well ventilated. 

Saturday 26th May 2012 – Back to Boat Building

Sunny Intervals

19 C     9 C (night)


Today was the first day we both started boat building, it will not finish itself. I started with 4 coats of varnish on Si’s kitchen shelf and he concentrated on attaching the stern step fronts. He decided the best choice of fixing was dowelling, and due to it being a big piece, it required over 30. 

A Dedication to our Beautiful Baby Born Sleeping

Sorry it has taken a long time to post, at our baby's 20 week scan we were told he had a major and rare heart defect and at 26 weeks at 12.25am on 3rd May our beautiful son was born sleeping. We named him Wilfred Ralph Seviour-White, after our grandfathers, so they can easily find him and take care of him. The midwife team at St Peters hospital Chertsey were an amazing support. A special thank you goes to two midwives, Angie who delivered Wilf and supported us throughout and Micki the bereavement midwife who continues to support us. We are so touched with the level of support including the memory box they provided, we will be donating to the hospital's trust fund and SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity)


Physically it has taken me a while to get back on my feet because I didn't fair too well in labour and an infection followed it. We registered Wilf's birth and death and his funeral took place on Tuesday 22nd May. His coffin was filled with love, his first teddy, a snuggly fleece and lots of letters and photo's from his family. A short service, but perfect and fitting for our precious little boy. Below is the poem that was read out, the words have really helped us and will continue to:

Don't let them say I was never born,
that something stopped my heart,
I felt each tender squeeze you gave,
I loved you from the start,
although my body you can't hold,
it doesn't mean i'm gone,
this world was worthy not of me,
god chose that I move on,
i know the pain that drowns your soul,
what you are forced to face,
you have my word, i'll fill your arms,
someday we will embrace,
you'll hear that it was 'meant to be,
god doesn't make mistakes, '
but that won't soften your worst blow,
or make your heart not ache,
i'm watching over all you do,
another child you'll bare,
believe me when i say to you,
that i am always there,
there will come a time I promise you,
when you will hold my hand,
stroke my face, and kiss my lips,
and you'll understand,
although i've never breathed your air,
or gazed into your eyes,
that doesn't mean I never 'was',
an Angel never dies!

We are heart broken and devastated, and now realise nothing can prepare you, even though we knew the probable outcome. At some point in the future, when we are strong enough, we will have our own ceremony to spread his ashes. We want him to be a free spirit. It will be in the Gower, one of our favourite places, and somewhere we would have spent many a family holiday.

Boat building has obviously taken a back seat over the last weeks. Si has been pottering, doing small jobs here and there, but nothing substantial. We found boat building good therapy beforehand, so hopefully it will help us through the coming weeks and months.

Sunday 22nd April 2012 – Finished Wardrobe Fronts

Sunny Intervals + Showers

15 C    4 C (night)


Si kindly lightly sanded the wardrobes for me. I was struggling to varnish in tight spaces with dodgy knees and a belly I forget I have, so I keep banging into stuff. I had now reduced the time for each coat of varnish to 45 minutes, so could easily put my feet up in between. I managed to finish all 4 coats; it made such a difference to the bedroom, making it look larger. We still need to attach the trim to the inside of the drawers and varnish them, but they were well on their way to looking finished. Si made a guide rail for his router table as he was complaining he still had no descent straight edge. Once complete he continued routering oak for the kitchen shelves.

Saturday 21st April 2012 – Varnishing the Wardrobes

Sunny Intervals + Showers

13 C    3 C (night)


Although we were disappointed we hadn’t heard from the hospital, not receiving bad news meant we could focus on the boat this weekend and if bad news is coming our way at least I had a few more days of cherishing each kick, somersault and hiccup. Si finally got to sand the tall wardrobe door outside without being interrupted by April showers, although I think the neighbours would have preferred the showers. Si did apologize. He cleaned the bedroom wardrobe with the hoover and brush attachment so that I could set up to start varnishing. The plan was two coats today and two tomorrow. Si pulled the drawers out and stacked them on the bed, which didn’t impress Ness. My starting point was the top of the starboard wardrobe; it took me 90 minutes to complete the first coat. Si was in the lounge designing kitchen shelves. Originally he wanted head height cupboards but I’ve always been against the idea as I feel it will look too much like a caravan. So, over time, Si has come round to my ‘no caravan’ styling. He cut an oak plank to the correct size and started designing. The shelf needs to include a bottom lip (to hide the led strip lighting), a lip on the top to stop glasses from sliding off, and the shelf brackets.

Friday 20th April 2012 – The Weather Dictates

Sunny Intervals + Showers

12 C    4 C (night)


With no phone call from the hospital yesterday we were in limbo again waiting for the phone to ring. To distract us I carried on making the mock curtain, designing as I went along. Si wanted to sand the tall wardrobe door but this needs to be done outside because of the amount of dust it creates, but the April showers were not helping. All of Nessie’s walks had to be timed between the heavy down pours. But today looked the most promising so far! He set up his Celotex sanding platform on the pontoon, got the door outside, set up and plugged in the sander, when it started to rain. I knew it must be raining from the language coming out of Si’s mouth. He’s been desperately wanting to sand bits and pieces in the last two weeks but is up against the Almighty who had other plans. Instead he went back to the bedroom wardrobes to finish hand sanding them. He also fixed the last wardrobe drawer by realigning the frame to stop it banging when pushing it back in and attached wooden stop blocks to stop it going in too far. I was really chuffed because it was my big drawer and it was the last to be done. By the end of the day I had finished the mock bedroom curtain and I was quite pleased with my design. I had even sewn in a ribbon on the back to keep all the pleats in place. We now just need to agree on a fabric and at a cost of £20+ a metre there isn’t room for error…

Thursday 19th April 2012 – The First Shower

Sunny Intervals + Showers

12 C    6 C (night)


We both went to work Monday to Wednesday. It was difficult for me as I have quite a large bump and everyone thinks this is such a happy time for us, and difficult for Si as he’s in the busiest building and kept on bumping into people. On Monday evening we held the grand opening of the shower. We left the immersion on for two hours hoping it would be warm enough; I was the guinea pig. Not only did it work, but it had a pretty good flow to. Its not the quietest of experiences what with the water pump pumping, the Gulper pump gulping and the shower extractor fan extracting above your head, but it definitely beats sharing the marina showers with every man and his dog! I did attempt a second shower before work on Wednesday morning, but as I only got out of bed 45 minutes earlier to turn on the immersion, the hot water didn’t last too long = a quick shower experience. We had booked annual leave for today and tomorrow because we were waiting for results from the hospital. I started my second attempt at a mock curtain but this time I was armed with a sewing machine. It had been some time since I had used one so required the instruction book to set me on my way. I improvised a sewing table by using the two breakfast bar stools and a sheet of Celotex. While I was getting the hang of this sewing malarkey, Si was in the bedroom painstakingly hand sanding the wardrobe fronts to perfection, ready for me to varnish. This wasn’t going to be a quick job because all the ash trim needed to be sanded back to the same level as the ash faced MDF. 

Sunday 15th April 2012 – Magnetic Fun

Sunny Intervals

10 C    3 C (night)


We arrived back at the boat for 2pm and cracked on with boat building. I wanted to finish varnishing the oak steps and the wardrobe door, this meant going late into the evening but now the nights are lighter this is easily done. Si unclamped his glued shower plumbing access panel, sanded it down and was very disappointed it would have to be painted white. He thought that it was one of the best pieces he’d made, as the grain flowed round the edges perfectly (and, he admitted, got lucky with the fourth end!). He finished it off by recessing two magnets in the back and two magnets in the wall for easy access. He demonstrated how it clipped on and how easy it was to remove. I will need to purchase more magnets. I bought these from EBay for several jobs, but what with their usefulness and the fun Si gets out of playing with them I might just buy a few spare to keep him amused. 

Saturday 14th April 2012 – Preparing for the Big Turn On

Sunny Intervals

12 C    5 C (night)

 

Using boat building as a form of escapism, Si sealed the shower frame with clear sealant in preparation for the grand opening. I made a start on varnishing the 2 oak stern step tops and just one of the wardrobe doors because I only had room for 3 items in my varnishing boudoir. In the evening we headed west to my folks to collect our post and get a bit of TLC.

Monday 9th April 2012 – Getting Jiggy With It

Light Rain

11 C     8 C (night)


Si glued the back shower access panel together, placing it in his newly made jig and sash clamping it together. He then attached the toilet cupboard door, making the bathroom look even more complete. I was requiring more things to varnish so Si sat outside, in between the showers, sanding down the two oak stern steps and the two starboard side wardrobe doors.

Sunday 8th April 2012 – Router Tables First Outing

Sunny Intervals +Showers

13 C     7 C (night)


Si made use of his hard work yesterday setting up the router table by running some wood through it. He was very impressed! The table area is at least twice the size of the old one, and the dust extraction is excellent, making life much easier.  He also made another jig that I thought was specifically for the back shower access panel but apparently it’s to assisting in gluing all of his mitre joints. My boat building didn’t really materialize today; instead I baked my way through the day, helping to keep my mind off little ones problems.

Saturday 7th April 2012 – Hot water - from a tap!!!!!

Sunny Intervals +Showers

11 C     7 C (night)


I had been on bed duty since Wednesday afternoon, which meant Si was doing everything…Taking Ness for walks, cooking, washing up… the list goes on. So today I was determined not to spend all of it in bed. Si was finally tackling setting up his new router table. It has been sat in the lounge waiting for its final assembly for a month, but because this required drilling many accurate holes to mount the router, his trepidation meant it needed thinking time. To add insult to injury, the old router table had been sat (and used) on top of the new one! The difference between the two is quality and size, but mainly working height. The old router table was supposed to be attached to a work bench, instead Si would kneel down on the floor to use it, not the safest way. The new table came without a safety switch box (NVR switch), so Si removed the old one and screwed it onto the new router table frame.  Today was also the day for getting the calorifier wired in, hot water here we come. In the evening we turned on the immersion and waited for an hour, hot hot hot water!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday 6th April 2012 – Never painted a wall!

Sunny Intervals

13 C     0 C (night)


With the completed vanity doors ready for their new home, Si reattached the hinges and attached the doors to the unit. It makes the bathroom look almost complete and makes it look much bigger. Considering Si had never even painted a wall before we started building the boat, the boy has come far!!! He also replaced the electric cupboard handles with smaller versions we’d bought from Rutlands. The 25mm knobs swamped the doors, so we bought the smaller 19mm version, which look much better. We will use the old knobs on the larger stern steps cupboard doors; at £10 a knob the budget doesn’t have room for waste. 

Thursday 5th April 2012 – News just keeps getting worse

Sunny Intervals + Showers

9 C     4 C (night)


This week was supposed to be an official week off work for boat building, and our first whole week off since Christmas. Instead, the first three days were taken up with hospital appointments in London; intrusive procedures and a lot of crying. Our little one is more ill than we were originally told. We knew about the major heart defect but we were now informed that the enlarged artery was blocking his food pipe and probably soon to block his windpipe. There were also other concerns and they required more tests. We learnt his chances of survival were slim: 40% he’ll make it to the end of the pregnancy and 15% he’ll get through the first open heart surgery of many. But he’s very lively and often kicking hard, which we were told was a good sign, so we are hoping that with his stubbornness he’ll be our little miracle. While I spent the day in bed, Si had to go to work for the morning to shut some computer systems down. He was back by 2pm and started off using the wax filler kit to fill in the gaps in the bathroom vanity doors. Si had experienced an epiphany a while back; his dad Chris had shown him an oak coloured wax stick in his workshop. Si went straight out and bought a kit. It has 29 different shades of wax blocks with the idea that you match to the nearest colour after varnishing.  Although this was Si’s first attempt at using the kit, the results were astounding! It makes so much more sense to match the finished article. He then attached the recently varnished top and 2nd front step panels to the stern steps. We know they will take a battering so I put 5 coats on the front, to help them survive the test of time.

Friday 30th March 2012 – A Bad Week

Sun

17 C     7 C (night)


Today was an impromptu day off to boat build, saying that, we had only been in work 1 ½ days this week. On Monday afternoon we went to our 20 week scan,  obviously with a little trepidation, but we were not expecting the news we received. Our little one has several issues with his heart. It wasn’t until the Wednesday, when we saw a specialist, that the problem was confirmed as Tetralogy of Fallot with Absent Pulmonary Valve Syndrome.  We were told it was operable but it wasn’t straight forward and open heart surgery would be required as soon as he’s born.  Although devastating news we had faith in the specialists. I took my mind off the situation by varnishing the final coats on the bathroom vanity doors and the wardrobe oak top. I also had an attempt at making a mock up curtain for the bedroom. I have been hunting everywhere for eyelet curtains, but decided to experiment with hidden tab top curtains. Quite a painful process as I have no sewing machine, and my seamstress skills leave a little to be desired. 

Sunday 25th March 2012 – Déjà vu or just Repetition

Sunny

19 C     6 C (night)


Another stunning morning, with the sun streaming through the windows and Houdini hatch. Although I was up early writing the blog. I was still quite tired as we’d lost an hour due to the clocks going forwards for British Summer time. We’re definitely not complaining though; to have daylight when we come home from work is going to be amazing. Once Si was up and about, I quickly varnished the 2nd coat on the vanity doors and front steps, so that it would dry while we were walking Ness around the field. On our return Si glued more ash strips to the stern cupboard face, now he’d had to remove the whole panel to be able to glue the bottom strips, so it was now taking up the lounge. Si took a look at the kitchen 600mm wire basket because it is unusable now that the door is in place. He managed to refit it to enable it to slide out a further 4 inches, but it looks like a new wire basket will be needed. I managed another two coats of varnish before having to have an afternoon nap; my tiredness brings on sickness, oh the joys of being pregnant. Si beavered away attaching the fridge cupboard door front, so on waking the kitchen now looks very white, and almost finished! We took Ness for her 2nd walk around the field and on our return we enjoyed déjà vu as I painted another coat of varnish and Si glued the last remaining strips of ash onto the stern cupboard face. I nearly finished the varnishing, 3 ½ coats out of 4. Hopefully there will be enough light when we return from work tomorrow to do coat number 4… 

Saturday 24th March 2012 – Attempting to make up the Missed Boat Building Day

Sunny

19 C     6 C (night)


Last week Sunday was supposed to be a boat building day, but all stopped because Si was in too much pain with his tooth and to top it off he had woken with a swollen face, our diagnosis was an abscess. He went to a local NHS walk-in centre, hoping for antibiotics, but they turned him away saying it was a dental problem. Luckily I found a dentist open on a Sunday, quite a distance to travel but there was no way Si could go through another night of pain. He returned with two packets of high strength antibiotics, and the confirmation that he had an abscess and that the tooth would eventually need removing. Once on the antibiotics we thought his pain would subside, but on the Monday night I was so worried about him. I have never seen him in so much pain, he couldn’t find any position comfortable. I wanted to take him to A&E but we compromised on me phoning NHS Direct. They were fantastic and put me through to a dental nurse who recommended keeping the head above the heart, cold compress and no sugar. This excruciating pain may have been down to the Haribo Tangfantastic sweets I had caught him eating an hour ago; they’re so sugary they’re bordering on illegal! In the end, as advised, he was taking 1000mg of paracetamol with codeine and 400mg of ibuprofen, plus the antibiotics. The pain slowly subsided but he had now started to rattle from all the pills. 


Today he wanted to achieve a lot to make up for not boatbuilding last Sunday. He started to glue and clamp the ash strips in place on the stern cupboard face. He routed off the wardrobe oak top to give it its finished edge and completed John’s door. During this I had set up the 2nd bedroom to start varnishing the two vanity doors and stern front steps, managing 1 ½ coats out of the 4 needed. The varnish instructions state a drying time of 2 hours, but with the sun heating the boat up drying time was more like 20 minutes. It was the hottest day of the year so far and apparently warmer than in the Sahara. We ended the day with a walk for Ness, food shopping, hunting fish & chips and watching Match of the Day.

Saturday 17th March 2012 – Battling through the Toothache

Heavy Rain

11 C     7 C (night)


Although we had a 4-day weekend last week, the Monday had turned into a shopping fest. It was always going to be impossible to do both shopping and boat building. So we made the most of it and had a proper day out in Kingston, with lunch. The shopping trip wasn’t overly successful but we did come away with maternity trousers, 2 pillows and a bathroom bin. This morning hadn’t started too well either as Si had woken up with bad toothache, he was in considerable pain and spent most of the day popping pills but battled on by sanding down the bathroom vanity doors and the 2 stern step fronts. I renewed the frog tape on the kitchen doors to start putting cupboard paint on the recently trimmed edges. Si continued trimming the wardrobe doors; at least he could now attach the hinges as they were getting much straighter, albeit less square… He continued taking off millimeters at a time to get them to fit perfectly. For several weeks we have been living with an 8x4ft sheet of Celotex in the corridor. Driving us all potty, especially Ness because it’s the dreaded, scary Celotex. The easiest method to cut it would have been to put it on the floor, but I’m struggling to bend over the belly. So the sheet was carefully perched on the workmate and a directors chair whilst I cut it into strips. The strips will fit under the gunnels because we are concerned that the heat from the radiators is getting trapped behind the ply in the gunnel. With two thicknesses of Celotex, not only will it stop it, but the silver coating will act as a reflector. 

Sunday 11th March 2012 – Fitting a Square into a Un-square Hole

Sunny intervals

16 C     5 C (night)


By the time I returned to the boat, in the afternoon, the clouds had started to roll in. Ness was very pleased to see Si, but it didn’t take her long to assume her position on our bed; 2 days at my folks is extremely tiring. By the time we arrived Si had already cut the oak top for the stern side wardrobe top to size, before little ones paws could spread the sawdust through the boat. Once we were settled in I took to painting the edges of the recently trimmed kitchen cupboard door and the oven surround. As it was the side of the MDF there was no point in spray painting, this was for a paintbrush. To help me get perfect edges I used frog tape, a very expensive version of masking tape, but it is easily removable and won’t ruin the spray painted surface underneath. As I was putting the MDF primer on Si was in the bedroom laughing at the comedy of the starboard wardrobe doors. The doors were dead square, just not the hole they should fit into. One edge would butt up while the other was 1cm out. So bit-by-bit he would have to take off the edges to straighten them up. It meant a lot of backwards and forwards to the router table and ended up consuming the rest of the day.

Saturday 10th March 2012 – Working on Another Boat

Sunny intervals

15 C     9 C (night)


While I was enjoying the weather in the Cotswold’s, Si was soaking up the rays on the back deck. Funny how quickly you forget the cold harsh winter… Si spent quite a bit of the day working on a door that was for someone else’s boat. John had done us a favour with the van, by getting it MOT’d and attaching a new side door runner. To return the favour John needed a door in his cabin shortening in length and a plinth to attach it to. Although this job was going to be time consuming it was good practice for Si. In between doing John’s door he cut 12 lengths of 19mm x 12mm ash trim for the stern cupboard fronts. He then spent his time in the engine bay, cleaning it out and lagging the hot pipes in an attempt to keep the hot water hotter for longer. It will be of value when we have hot water!!! 

Friday 9th March 2012 – Boat Building Fest

Sunny intervals

11 C     6 C (night)


I was heading west to my parents till Sunday. Si had been looking forward to this weekend to concentrate on boat building without the distraction of Ness and a pregnant fiancée. He took advantage straight away by, trimming a few mm off the kitchen fridge door and the bottom oven surround using the router table. Although it means I’ll have to paint them again, at least they will fit! He then made a start gluing the 2 pre-biscuited oak stern steps. Once the sash clamps were tight on the steps, he put the hinges on the toilet door and the bathroom vanity cupboard and screwed them into place. He now could see exactly what edges required trimming, millimeter by millimeter he routered each edge to get the perfect gap around the doors.

Sunday 4th March 2012 – Progression goes in Reverse

Heavy Rain

15 C     7 C (night)


Gone are the days of being hung over on a Sunday morning. Si managed 3 pints last night and I pushed the boat out and had 2 J2O’s. I stuck out the party until 9.30 when we made our exit; I have a good excuse… the bump! We came back and watched Match of the day, since Arsenal had been successful. 


Today seemed to be chore day. I went off to do the weekly food shop and started the first of four loads of washing. I left Si attaching the kitchen sink cupboard door and on my return it was attached and looking really good. Until we tried to pull the kitchen wire basket out and found it was stuck in by the hinges. One step forward, two steps back; haven’t we heard this before? Hopefully Si will be able to get round it by buying 165 degree hinges. The next task was to attach the door to the built in fridge which turned out to be not so simple. To start with the instructions didn’t help. We had spent several days poring over them because they are that bad. I left Si to it as I was heading to the bathroom with a paintbrush. I needed to re-paint behind the radiator and next to the toilet before we put a sheet of glass there. The glass is required to create a wipeable surface next to the loo. To paint I had to wrap the radiator in cling film to safeguard it from the white paint. I spent at least an hour preparing the room before applying the 3 coats. Si had figured out the fridge door but unfortunately the door itself is too wide and he needs to shave off a few mm, which will then obviously need re-painting. Can’t quite say we have made progress today, more like going backwards. Honestly those kitchen doors keep coming back to haunt me. I’m now starting to think the M&S freestanding kitchen would have been a better idea.

Saturday 3rd March 2012 – Still No Sign of Using the New Router Table

Sunny Intervals

15 C     7 C (night)


Today was our first two-day weekend in ages. Unfortunately we are both getting used to 3 day ones, but we are going to have to slow down using all of our annual leave. I was up far too early so sat in the lounge next to the heater booking a holiday. Yes, a holiday to France! It has been overdue for some time - 4 years if you’re counting! So this morning I paid the deposit for the Gite and started booking the tunnel. Si surfaced and unclamped the wardrobe door that he had glued last night. During the week he had also glued the oak wardrobe top together. His task this morning was to biscuit more oak panels whilst his old router was still set up. We had the new router table but he hadn’t made use of it yet because it requires drilling large holes out of it to finish the set up. While he was busy making noise and mess I was in the bedroom using my laptop, looking for all the photos I had ever taken of the wiring in the boat. We have started to make a folder of all the manuals and diagrams for the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). I found a further 25 photos which I will print out in the week, to join the already substantial folder. Si started measuring and routering the edges of the toilet cupboard door and vanity unit doors to fit. Last Monday night I had finished painting the kitchen doors, so I could now clear my painting room to prepare it to become the varnishing room. The day had flown by and we needed to walk the dog and have showers still because we were going out tonight to a fellow boaters birthday party in the local public house.

Monday 27th February 2012 – Re-ordering Kitchen Cupboards

Sunny Intervals

11 C     7 C (night)


Today was the 4th day of our 4-day weekend and it was pure bliss! I was up first cutting more PVC table cloth for the kitchen corner cupboard, all in aid of a huge shake up of the kitchen cupboards. For a long time now the food has been in the corner cupboard but it has driven us mad; you can’t find anything! By swapping the food to the new pull out wire basket and the crockery into the corner cupboard, means much more order. I think Si’s OCD tendencies are rubbing off on me.  Si was in the bedroom, with the wardrobe drawers on the bed, much to Nessie’s disapproval. He was shaving parts of the wardrobe frame down to enable the drawers to run more smoothly. He also attached blocking strips to two more drawers; these are to stop the drawers from going past the flush point. 


I made a start at 4pm spray painting the last coat of cupboard paint on the two remaining doors and surrounds. Let’s just say I finished at 11pm. I was multi tasking though as I also was painting the bathroom mirror strip every hour with a roller. There is a lot of faffing when spray painting. Once a coat has been sprayed I have to dismantle the spray guns nozzles so they don’t get clogged up, let the paint dry for at least 15 minutes and then start again. It didn’t help that I had a major cock up. The spray gun has a powerful air flow and before I spray the door I test the flow of paint on newspaper next to it. The wet paint on the newspaper had blown up and stuck to the underside of the door, by the time I realized it was well and truly stuck. I had to carry on with the other pieces before I could sand it down and start again, hence finishing at 11pm.

Sunday 26th February 2012 – Farewell to the Van