Thursday, April 30, 2015

Well, she's looking very different!

John sent us some photos yesterday. 105 of them. Half of them showing details of Kantara's structure and paintwork before he started the job, I presume mostly for his own reference. The other half show the boat at the end of the stripping stage, and then after priming.

She's on her way to the painting shed, John at the tiller.

You can see just how worn and faded the castles and roses had become...

By contrast, these roses are what Grace painted on recently, in practice for her final work when John's finished.

I think you'll agree they look so much better than the originals. Needless to say, Grace isn't entirely happy with them!

Kantara arrives in the shed.

All of her external fittings are removed, and a start is made on stripping off her paint.

Windows and doors are removed, the holes masked, and grit-blasting begins...

...and completed.

Andy from Andicraft is called in to weld a louvre in the one vent which we want to keep,

and he welds in steel plate to fill the three vents we want to lose. These have been more trouble than they're worth, and are deemed unnecessary.

Now she's ready for priming.

After which, she looks smarter already!

Since these photos were taken, a coat or two of undercoat have been applied, and today they'll start topcoat on the roof. We're really looking forward to visiting, next Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Making the most of it

The bulk of the gardening work's done. The pond, the bog-garden, and the slate path.

The path winds around the garden, slate pieces of various sizes, and it's got into something of a mess over the years. They get broken and create a lot of dust which then washes down with the other soil and dirt which falls on them, creating a sludgy mess on top of the weed-resisting membrane we laid them on. So we bought eight bags of slate, dug up, sieved and washed much of the original, and relaid it mixed with the new. Tedious but effective. We fixed the water-feature, too. Accommodated the leak simply by making sure the water leaked into the reservoir below.

What with Naomi's not inconsequential work on it, the garden's looking good. We're all looking forward now to the growth of Naomi's wild-flower lawn.

We've been doing boaty things too. Grace has repainted the seven drawers from the chest at the back of the boat, and investigated new net curtains for her. On Sunday, we'll be driving up to West Yorkshire, hopefully to buy a sofa-bed to replace the cuddle sofa, which Grace is finding uncomfortable, and which will give us sleeping options for guests which the other didn't offer.

Kantara had too many vents into her engine space, and these were causing several different problems. So we got Andy from Andicrafts at Debdale to close off three of them, and to replace the screw-on easy-fall-off grille over the remaining one with welded louvres. That's now done. We'll be calling in to see Kantara on our way back from Yorkshire on Tuesday, and we'll collect from John the wooden panels he's removed from the rear external doors and the side hatch doors, to bring back here to clean and restore. It'll be interesting to see how far the paint job has progressed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I saw it coming...

...months ago. We'd go back to Kantara at the start of February, and the weather would be unsuited to us for cruising. Fair enough, it's winter. But then, we'd take her for painting in March, and the weather would be perfect for cruising. I was right. I'm sorry, but I'm selfish enough to wish that it was raining lots and lots right now, so that being out on the cut would be a far less attractive proposition. I'd be missing nothing, being here at the house. But I miss the canals. Sigh.

Still, I can be positive about it if I force myself. We've been doing a fair bit of gardening over the past few days, and have made good progress. Tidied up the pond and planted a number of new plants. Cleared the bog-garden (that was once) of grass, stones and various other intruders, and planted several new things there, too. Paving stones down the middle, bark chippings all over to keep down the weeds and help hold moisture. And various other bits and pieces. We need to have a new fence put up, and mend or replace a water-feature which leaks. The good thing is that we enjoy gardening. And gardening in such good weather's even better. So I'm not complaining. Much. I still prefer boating. And the rain I'd wished for would be very good for the garden.

Kantara went into the painting shed yesterday. She'll be stripped bare by the end of today I should think. Poor old girl.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

At last...'s all done. Well, the blacking part, anyway. It all got a bit silly really. One person told us that Kantara would be back on the water on Thursday, another said Friday. Turns out, it would have happened on the Thursday had it not been that the hull painters had overlooked some touching-up which needed to be done where the crane slings had damaged the blacking. As soon as they did that, it meant that we had to spend another 24 hours out of the water, for the paint to dry.

And then there was the mistake with the baseplate painting. Even though I'd told them in advance that the baseplate had previously been coated in Ryflex and therefore had to be done in the same this year, and I reminded the guy who did the painting, they still managed to coat it with Cotex, which means that we'll never be able to have Ryflex applied in future. To compensate to some degree for this cock-up, they waived the several hundreds of pounds of the cost of the baseplate job.

Come Friday morning, it was time for Kantara to go back onto the water. But not before NB Lazy Daze was taken from the painting area to a hard-standing, and a 70-foot working boat was craned from the water into the back of a huge truck, for delivery elsewhere in the country.

Then it was our turn. Lifting the boat this time by means of four synchronised jacks, they drove her by tractor-drawn trailer down to the water to be craned back in.

From there, we drove around the marina to a mooring where Kantara will wait for John to collect her and take her round to his shed for the painting to begin. We packed into the car all of the things that we thought we'd need over the next six weeks, and drove back to St Albans. On Tuesday, we'll return to collect the drawers from the engine room, which we'll paint with the same cream paint as will be used for bits of the cabin, and the carpet, which we'll take in due course to the carpet-fitter, for him to use as templates for the new one.
It's all rather exciting!