Friday, August 23, 2013

A good week of work

We've been using the run-up to Michelle's visit, which starts tomorrow, to tidy up the paintwork on the boat's cabin. We washed her very thoroughly, especially the roof, which had been rather neglected over the past year, then sanded and touched up a number of areas where the paint was chipped or rust was coming up. We have a lot of the red paint for the boat, but no yellow, and the blue is fast running out. The problem is that these colours are no longer available, so when we run out, we have to choose something else as close as possible to the colour, or pay a lot to have a company mix them for us especially.

Having painted these areas, we wax polished the lot. It rained overnight, and it was rewarding the next morning to see the water in beads on the paintwork (except for on a few patches on the roof, where it had been difficult to see where I'd waxed and where I'd not!). I put the troughs of herbs and flowers back, having now to put them on non-slip mats because the curved roof is so slippery! More paint work was done on the taffrail, and that will be ready to refit tomorrow.

We went back to our house yesterday to collect a few things we needed, and we put the mooring ropes in the washing machine for a good cleansing. It's revitalised them nicely.

An impromptu barbecue and quiz was announced for the Bank Holiday Saturday, tomorrow, but was later postponed until Sunday because the local weather forecast says it will be raining tomorrow evening. This is a great shame for us, because Michelle will be with us on Saturday, and we were all looking forward to the event, but we'll be out on the cut on Sunday. Never mind - we're looking forward to the week's cruise, too.

A crew from the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service came to the marina today, to give a talk about fire safety on boats, and to give free fire checks on boats. It was very successful. Eight boats were represented at the talk, with several other owners having arranged for visits at other times. The talk was informative, interesting, and delivered with a good dose of humour mixed with the seriousness of the topic. Yelvertoft had had a boat fire the year before we arrived here, and several of those at the talk, including the firemen, remembered it well.

We had Kantara inspected, and she passed with flying colours. We were given one smoke alarm, being advised that it would be best to have one in the bedroom. We already have one smoke alarm and two carbon monoxide alarms fitted, but the firemen came with enough of each type of device to be able to give them out as they deemed necessary. It was a very worthwhile event, and we picked up a good number of useful tips from it.

While we were painting, I turned my attention to the gangplank, barge pole and boat hook which are kept on a rack on the roof. There are all wooden, and painted, but yet again the paint had been applied over bare wood. Consequently, water had got through tiny cracks in the paint and, at best, the paint was coming off all over the surfaces. Worst was the barge pole - a three metre, two-inch thick piece of pine (not actually the best wood for the job) - which snapped very easily when I tested its strength. The boat hook was in need of complete stripping down and proper repainting; the gangplank, likewise. A much better alternative was to replace them altogether.

Aluminium is the alternative material used for the construction of these three tools, and we found on the web "The Canal Shop", a chandlery at nearby Hillmorton Wharf, where the manager makes folding, aluminium gangplank/rescue ladder combinations, and barge poles. We were most impressed when he offered to deliver the 10 foot pole to the boat, free of charge, and it was waiting for us on the roof when we arrived back home after the shopping trip.

We also bought a telescopic aluminium boat hook, this from Wharf House Narrowboats in Braunston.

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