Monday, 25 August 2014

Fruitful Weekend

A few bits happening on the boat front at the moment. Apart from the varnishing side I’ve decided to rehash the wheelhouse doors. The big mistake I made with the first build was to measure the originals and use the same dimensions, but as you can see here the door is an inch shorter than the frame.
The plan now is to make the door bottom 1 inch taller but that means that the tops have to be an inch shorter. The reason for doing this is that the door top has to be narrower so as not to catch when it is folded down and the result is a hole each side of the door when the wheelhouse is up. Not much to worry about but it is annoying me and it does allow some water to get in especially of the wind is from the side.
What with this and making new shutters for the front windows at home there is a shortage of sapele so it looks like a trip to Market Harborough next week to get some more. Doing all this cutting the table saw blades seem to be running rather hot indicating they are losing their edge. Tried cleaning and a quick rub up with a hone but not a lot of difference. Rather than buy a new set I’ve ordered a machine specifically designed for sharpening circular saw blades. It’ll be interesting to see if it is any good when it arrives.
The past couple of days has been out with the Grantham Canal Society running trips for the public over the bank holiday weekend. This time we were running from Woolsthorpe to give the regulars a change of scenery from Harlaxton. Loads of bodies on Sunday and certainly more than I had expected today.
Unfortunately not such good weather as yesterday but most people still wanted to sit out in front to enjoy the ride. Plenty of positive feedback and enquiries about becoming active members.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Surprising Update

With the last blog entry I copied a link to Maplin customer services (Got to increase the ratings somehow) as it seemed only fair to let them know my comments.
Had a response within 15 minutes and further e-mails through the week-end. The upshot being my complaint is being taken up with the store manager and a donation is being made to the Macmillan charity. Quite a positive result all in all.
Otherwise it’s still a case of harvesting and varnishing. Plums are in full flow at the moment so if plum juice has the same effect as prune juice we should at least be regular in our habitsJ

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Bit Of A Surprise

Still pottering about with a couple of trips down to T-A to bring back bits of the wheelhouse woodwork for varnishing.
Yesterday with Karen having a bit of time off work we had intended to take the boat out so we could get alongside to touch up those annoying scratches but the weather forecast made that rather pointless.
Instead we opted for a meal at the Otter on the way to Kegworth which was first rate as usual and then on to Pillings Marina. Going through Loughborough I decided to pop into Maplin to stock up on some lithium batteries  but ended up picking up a few extra pieces  as well.
One of which was this weather station that was on offer.
Down at T-A just a quick visit to remove the cabin doors for varnishing and home.
First job was to set up the new weather station. Opened the box to find that most of the components were missing!!!!
A quick check to make sure I had the receipt and repack the box(or is that repack the packaging). Now it’s getting on for 4 o’clock on a Friday and so it’s a mad dash for the twenty or so miles back to Loughborough to try and get this sorted out.
Arriving a Maplin it was identified that I had the box for the display model. Rather than an apology I was asked why I hadn’t noticed it wasn’t as heavy as it should be. Jaw hits floor – perhaps I should have compared the weight of all the boxes in the stack. Anyway replacement was issued without question but the to my amazement the empty box was again added to the stack on display!!! I don’t suppose there is much storage space in the shops but this is ridiculous.
Another twenty miles home, hopefully not taking my frustration out on other drivers.
Today  the weather station is up and working well, cabin doors have been rubbed down and had a coat of Impreg in preparation for varnishing while Karen has been sorting out the garden.
Just came in to order some circlips off the Beal website and to rub salt into the wound found that CR2032 batteries that I bought in Maplin for £3.99 each are available for 45p so I have ordered 5 at the further reduced rate of £2.20 and am interested to see how they perform.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Or should that be a blinding flash of the obvious?
After scratching the new paintwork I’ve been wondering about ways to keep Trudy-Ann from rubbing against the bank. Well last week I ordered a new wheelbarrow wheel to replace the one ravaged by hawthorn cuttings and as soon as I saw it I ordered two more.
I’ve seen wheels used elsewhere but they always seemed too bulky and soon showed signs of rust, these seem to be made for the job.
Otherwise there has not been too much happening over the last few weeks other than some enjoyable days down on the Grantham canal. It may be classed as a remainder but it still sees plenty of use
In the garden all the fruit seems to be about two weeks ahead of the norm so it has been a case of lots of picking, freezing or juicing. Certainly getting our five a day at present.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Slowing Down Continued

Work party over and only a day late we’re back.
Yesterdays work party consisted of clearing the weed from the by-wash at lock 16 and doing a bit of strimming around the depot while others carried out some work on Centauri and other stuff up at lock 18. WRG and CRT reps arrived to set up for next week, which looks like it’s going to be a busy one. The plan being to prepare a hard standing  site at lock 15 ready for the plant and machinery needed for the restoration. It sounds like it may be heralded as the new way forward with Grantham Canal Society, Waterways Recovery Group and Canal and River Trust all working together to improve our waterways. If this all comes to fruition don’t forget you heard it here first. J
Today just a quick trip to T-A to retrieve bedding and the like that may become stale if left on board and a few catch up jobs around the house.
Back to the trip.
Monday morning saw us away through the Beeston and Nottingham canals through to the Trent. I must say I was impressed with the state of the waterway having expected to find it like Leicester but it turned out to be a pleasant run without that run down feeling. A quick stop at Sainsbury’s on the way through for Karen while I dog sat.
Getting back out onto the Trent we passed Lock 1 on the Grantham canal.
It’s a shame that this lock will never be used again but if all goes to plan the new route will come out further downstream and below Holme Lock and the watersports centre.
A lot bigger that what we are used to but one reason for this trip is to see how we would cope with the larger locks if we want to go through to York in the future. After mooring we walked up to the lock and spoke to the lock keeper who was most helpful and explained the best practice for navigating these locks and pointed out this was the deepest and the following locks would only drop us about seven feet whereas this was 14. Through Stoke lock and moored at the pontoons at Gunthorpe bridge. Friend Ian Joined us and treated us to a meal at the Unicorn, a very pleasant way to spend an evening.
Having lost so much time to rain at the start of the trip we decided to turn back the following morning (Tuesday) rather than go through to Newark. This run was to be a new experience for us as well, owing to the fact that we had the headroom to run with the wheelhouse up.
Leaving Gunthorpe.
Just a short run and night stopped at the moorings above Holme lock
Chose the higher mooring as the preceding lower bank has a concrete shelf protruding under the water. Perhaps not the best decision because the new paintwork got christened even with loads of fenders. L
Ah well it had to happen some time.
Spent the evening watching canoeists practicing
And trying to take arty photo’s
On Wednesday it was  steady run back to Devil’s Elbow because Karen wanted to get some wax on the other side of the boat before I scratched it any more.
This seems to be the dogs favourite spot.
Back to Pillings on Thursday to tank and pump out (Which we can do at the same time now that the openings have been separated) before mooring up and home.
A good relaxing break – but why do weeds and grass grow twice as fast when you are away?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Slowing Down

With the completion of the work on Trudy-Ann getting so close I have found myself trying to rush things so it seemed like a good idea to back off and concentrate on doing the best job I can. With that in mind work has stopped on T-A for the moment but the driveway gates are up at last
and the old ones are now firewood.
Karen had a week off work coming up so we decided it was a good time to try the boat out, intending to set out on the Friday for a trip to Newark and back but that idea was soon kicked into touch because of rain. Us being the fair weather boaters that we are. Stopped in the marina until the following morning and headed north to Devils Elbow because Karen was wanting to get some wax on the new paintwork
If we are busy the dogs are left on board to stop them wandering off when we’re not looking but they like to keep tabs on what we are up to
The following morning (Sunday) it was off again towards Nottingham through Trent junction
Making sure we were out of the way of the local speed merchant.
It started raining again so we called a halt at the mooring after Beeston lock. Amused by a swan that appeared to have taken exception to the fenders on the narrowboat opposite.
Anyway I’ll have to finish this tale later as it is time to disappear for another GCS work party.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Getting Through The Task List

Still chasing my tail. Every job sorted seems to make one job more. The new pedestal for the toilet has been made in oak to match the floor
But while I was at it, it seemed sensible to move the toilet as I was fed up of sitting with my nose against the shower cubicle.
Still got to be finished off but you get the idea. It actually takes up less space but gives the feeling of more elbow room. In this position there is more room behind the toilet so I was able to replace the copper single step plumbing reducer with a tapered reducer from Vetus which hopefully will reduce any back pressure. Either way it can’t do any harm.
The gang plank was showing signs of going rusty so it was brought home and rubbed down before a good coating of silver Hammerite.
When the covers were taken off the self tapping screws were also found to be going rusty so all the holes were re-drilled and tapped.
Brass machine screws now hold down the tops.
Also been doing a few bits of panelling on the control desk which is now nearly complete.
The seat lockers in the wheelhouse have now got new ash faced tops. Once again made more jobs by deciding it was a good time to paint the inside of the lockers and line them with rubber sheet that I had left over from the step treads down from the wheelhouse to galley. While I was at it also made some rubber liners for the roof bars to protect the new paintwork from getting scratched J
The new paintwork is starting to look grubby already do gave it a quick wash down but it is ready for a good polish to stop the muck sticking.
New water filler cap fitted so the fore deck is fully watertight again.
At home the new driveway gates still haven’t been fitted but have had six coats of paint applied and are ready to hang. Held up a bit by the drizzly weather we were having last week, seems a long time ago now.  Looking at the old hinges it was decided to get a complete set of new gate furniture as heaven knows how old it is.
Out at an old colleagues retirement party in Nottingham last night and felt obliged to point out how much hard work is involved in this retirement lark.