Friday, May 29, 2015

Job done!

It's finished! After seven weeks, Kantara was finally ready to leave by the end of last week. And she looks wonderful! She glows, she shines. And the signwriting, too. A compass on the sliding hatch at the back, another, smaller one on the gas locker hatch at the front, an "eye" motif each side of the bow, a scroll on each side, one across the side doors and the other on the port side, and her "Kantara" writ large each side of the rear of the cabin. Underneath each name, Jon has painted a white ellipse for Grace to paint castles on, suitably adorned with roses, and she'll add some roses further along the sides, as well.
Compass on the rear hatch
Moored outside the workshop

The colours have such depth, such lustre. It's a joy to behold. Kantara was taken out of the shed on Tuesday, and we moored up just outside it for a day. It's going to take four weeks or so for the paint to harden fully, so there's no cruising for us until the end of the month when we're to be joined by Michelle for a week. But of course we had to drive her back, so we did that yesterday, having spent Wednesday restoring to their places all the bits and bobs John had had to take out of lockers.

We did the journey back from Debdale in the one day. We'd normally spread it over two, but we wanted to get her off the cut as quickly as possible, to reduce her chances of getting scratched. There were few boats out, and we avoided damage to the paint.
Foxton Locks

Back at Yelvertoft, we finished tidying up, and waited for the rain to come, to wash the dust off Kantara. And that came today.
Watch this space!
You can see my reflection in it!
Compass on the gas locker hatch
The eye motif
When we got back to the marina, there was a new arrival on the horizon...

...installed by the marina owners. Perhaps we'll get free electricity!

On the subject of which, we've decided to bring in Simon to sort out some very basic but elusive problems with our domestic power. John isolated the batteries while he worked on Kantara, but it seems the isolators don't isolate, and the batteries may have been drained too low by several relatively low loads over the duration of the six or seven weeks spent there. Or the batteries are OK and the two year-old charger has developed a fault; whenever I switch it on, it just wants to charge at high voltage most of the time, and shows no inclination to decrease the charge over time.

Oh, and it may be that only one of our four solar panels is working. And it may be that that has been the case from the start. If that is the case, then we've been doing very well off just the one unit, and we'll have an amazing supply of electricity when the other three are restored.

We've got a lot of littlish jobs to do now, and the new carpet's going to be fitted next Wednesday. After that, we'll go back to the house to collect the rest of the stuff we need on the boat for the rest of the year.

And then, we cruise!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Almost, but still a week to wait

We had a busy day yesterday. It threw the rain at us as we made our way north to Debdale via Braunston and Clifton Upon Dunsmore. To Braunston, to buy a replacement water pump from Midland Swindlers (aka Midland Chandlers), the current one having started to leak just a few months after the expiry of its warranty (how do they make that happen?); to Clifton to take our old carpet to the House of Carpets, for them to use as templates for our new carpet. The weather was truly foul, but we were fortunate to have a dry spell long enough to take the painted solar panels in to John at Debdale, to be refitted to Kantara, along with the wooden panels for the side hatch and the rear doors, on which Grace has started the job of repainting. Completion will be done with the panels in situ.

I was surprised to find the boat not nearly as finished as I had hoped, but John assures us that it will be ready to drive away next Tuesday. And he'll actually have to have it done by the end of the week, since he and David will be at the Crick Boat Show over the Bank Holiday weekend (when, of course, it will rain hard!)

The paintwork which has been finished is looking really good.

Jon Leeson was there, too, to make a start on the signwriting, and we finalized a few details with him before leaving them all to blooming well get on with the job!

Looking back over recent posts, I realise that I've failed to record for this log the fact that, at the beginning of the month, Said the Maiden won the prestigious Isambard Folk Award, and went along to the Bristol Folk Festival to claim their prize, and to perform as one of the headline acts. In turn, this has already led to a number of other gigs, and other possibilities. Their excitement continues!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Nearly there!

...we hope! We went to Keighly in Yorkshire last weekend, and visited Sofabed Barn, the only people we could find on the web who make decent sofa beds for narrowboats. Tailor-make them if need be. We spent ages there, trying them out, quizzing the boss-man, and finally deciding upon the sofa for Kantara.

We'll place an order in due course. First, we have to get the boat back to Yelvertoft.

While we were in Yorkshire, we took the opportunity to spend an afternoon enjoying the delights of the moors. We didn't roam far, but the weather was good, and the scenery delightful.

On the way back, we stopped off as planned to see Kantara. Her roof was finished, the rest of her was fully primed and undercoated several times, and ready for the finishing coats.

We went back a few days later to collect the solar panels for painting. We'd taken the rear door and side hatch wooden panels back on the Tuesday, but forgot the solar panels. However, that was fortuitous because Jon Leeson was there, the guy who's doing the signwriting for us, and we were able to discuss that job with him. He was great. He gave Grace lots of advice about painting the roses and castles, and much encouragement, too.

So, back to the house with hours of cleaning, sanding, painting and varnishing. All to a deadline now, since John expects everything to be finished by the end of next week.
The stern drawers, repainted
The contents of those drawers!
The door panels, before repainting
The solar panels, finished and drying