Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century...

Boat related goings-on are fast and furious at the moment! We've been around the Napton Junction area for some time now, moving the boat well in advance of our 14 day allowance of course, but having to stay roughly in the same area because of all the work we're having done.

In the last fortnight we first had a visit from Nick Sherratt, a 'Field Service Engineer' who works out of Welton; a most excellent bloke and a real all-rounder by the sounds of it, in his own words; "there's nothing I don't do on boats!". In a matter of an hour or so he had converted our mind-boggling 12/24v split system into an all 12v system (mildly less mind-boggling). I know what some of you are thinking, that there are benefits to the 24v system - but our electrical needs are so simple that overall we decided that the superior availability of 12v parts was enough to tempt us to having just the one system. The only thing that remains is to sort out a way of running 240v appliances now - either by purchasing a 600 watt inverter or by sourcing an alternative way of taking 12v and stepping it up to 240v. Luckily we have no washing machine, tumble dryer, TV etc to worry about.

Martin Kedian, famed for his work on Bones side hatch earlier in the year, amongst other things - had finished constructing our amazing brand new amazing stainless steel water tank of amazingness! In preparation for the new tank we had to destroy the interior front end of the boat - good thing our stove hasn't gone in yet, eh?! We had to remove the corner cupboard (due to come out anyway, for the stove), the central heating pipe that ran parallel to the front bulkhead (which involved draining the entire system of course) - which we hoped was going to be all of it, but Martin's visit the day before the fitting revealed that due to the size of the tank we needed to remove laminate flooring, the plywood underneath and all of the concrete ballast in the front end! AGH! So for one day (gloriously sunny, unlike the rain-soaked ones before and after it!) we had our new tank and our precious blocks of concrete out on the towpath:


The job seemed like an incredibly quick one to this layman, who watched as Martin and Trevor cut into the bulkhead to provide a hole through which the new tank would fit:


This is a man half-proud of the progress being made, half-terrified of the huge hole that has just appeared in the front of his boat...


After that it was my turn to spring into action, slapping down three tins (!) of anti-rust paint on the surrounding old tank walls, with the new tank temporarily removed of course. It dried in the sun very quickly, so we set to lining the old tank with a couple of rolls of insulation (to keep the water in the new tank from freezing in mid-winter), before fitting the new tanks back in, connecting them together and screwing in the filler pipe.

After a few very well-earned cups of tea and a good night's sleep we set to moving the boat from Napton Junction down to a marina nearby where we filled up with water for the first time! Due to the changeover of electrical systems we also had to change the main water pump, the shower water pump and the bilge pump - which are all working successfully!

This morning I finally finished negotiating about the Honda Generator that turned up a fortnight ago and spat petrol everywhere - it was returned, serviced and should be due to arrive tomorrow. HURRAY! Here's hoping it works this time... The gennie will provide us with emergency 240v power, and our new battery charger will mean we hopefully won't have any problems with dead/dying batteries - but then again, this is a boat, and if there's one thing I've learnt - boats break! All good fun though, in a quintessentially English sort of way...

I am extremely pleased to say that Jem is recovering well, and the current plan is to move on down the Oxford quick smart, negotiate the non-tidal Thames and then the K&A at least as far as Devizes. We'll see....

And now, to cleanse the palate, a few photos from recent weeks/months:

The working boatman's Familiar graces Wils with a surprise visit at Cosgrove:


The centenarian President passed us on its way to Crick I guess:


"HERE I AM!" Jem scares the **** out of me, next to the handspun wool drying in a very convenient place:


That same wool going to good use in the construction of a rug on the peg loom, beside Jem's creature creations (SHAMELESS PITCH TIME: Rugs and creatures are currently for sale! Either click here to visit our Etsy page; or send us a message on blogger, or comment on this post etc):


A pint of the first batch of brew: Brown Bear Ale! A huge success it was too! Sitting next to our trusty wool cards. If you see us out and about on the cut, give us a shout and we'll give you a bottle or two if we've got some brew made up! (Is that a dangerous promise to make in a blog?)


Always good to see heavy horses on the canal!


In other news; I finished building a backstrap loom, and I'm slowly learning how to use it, and hopefully in time more elaborate blankets/rugs will be possible.

Brain melting from blogging, and it's sunny outside so....