Friday, 21 October 2016

A Trusting bunch...

Boaters that is... well to be more specific, a bloke called "Steve" (aka  the barnacle from canal world forums).  Let me explain.

Last week, I was browsing various topics on the boards and came across one about solar panel mounting brackets.  Within the posting was a link to some brackets on Ebay - oddly enough, I have the same ones already in my 'watch list'...

They were to be a back up plan if I couldn't be arsed ran out of time to make my own.  In short they were aluminium and £38 a pair (we need 3 pairs)...

ANYWAY - back to the posting...  a fellow forum contributor made a post referencing this barnacle chap, saying that at some point in the past, he'd made a batch that were much better quality.  I sent him a message and he got back to me to say he did have a few pairs left and I could have them at £30 a pair.  I duly sent him our address and requested paypal details so I could make payment.

IN the post this week, a rather heavy box arrived, containing said items:

4 pairs of very well made, stainless steel brackets - MUCH better than I could have made and not a sharp edge in sight!

He even included a tub of various fixing that might be useful.

I did of course log on to thank him and request payment details again... to which he's replied there is no rush as he's not gotten around to sorting out a paypal account yet.  

HOW Trusting is that? - Very much appreciated though.  Top bloke!

Also this week, whilst work HAS been (and continues to be) all consuming, I have managed to make a few fender hanging brackets on the band saw at lunch time.  We had a bit of nylon left over from the Ghost train we made last year so I downloaded a photo of one from midland chandlers (sorry fellas), printed it out and then traced it on to the nylon and then cut it out - the result being this:

I challenge anyone to tell the difference between this and one costing a fiver!

The final thing that I sorted this week, is the water-borne lacquer from Morrells.  It was recommended by the joiner fitting out the boat and it was a bit of a struggle via internet means to find a supplier, doing it the old fashioned way, i phoned their head office direct who put me in touh with a local stockist and today on route (strangled I admit) home from work, I bought 10 litres of the 10% sheen - it should give a nice mat finish to the birch lining at the same time of giving stain resistance.  It worked out just short of £80 inc vat.... it had BETTER be good 

You may notice I've still got the anchor rope on the lounge floor behind the sofa... I think it's fair to add "splicing ropes" to the lists of jobs I'm rubbish at.... at this rate, it's going to end up a granny knot!

Tomorrow morning, (Sat) we're making our last visit to the yard to go through the boat handover...  I need to transfer £10k each day to the builder for a few days as it's clear, I'm not going to be able to get to the bank before Thursday now.

Until next time

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Index number and window fitting BY dummies part 2 ;0)

The CRT plates arrived in the post on Thursday so the boat officially exists now:

How exciting!

We've not done much boat related other than buy a few more things - a space saving pan set was Andy's idea and this has gone in the attic with all the rest of the gear.

I breifly attempted to splice a rope on to the anchor chain following some instructions... for all the use THEY were.  They reminded me of those on the back of a REAL dickie bow tie... step 1 and 2 easy....  step 3 a little vague and step 4, Tah dah!...  ie,  NOT a chance.  I'll have to "you-tube" it!

It's been  bit of a manic week again though.  I don't know if I'm coming, going or have been and gone at work...  and on Thursday the rest of the windows and front door arrived.

As you might imagine, it was raining when we got home from work but not deterred, we decided to fit a bedroom one anyway (as any sane window fitting person WOULD do)...

It wasn't so bad and has gone from this:

to this

The plan HAD been to start on the bathroom one on Satruday morning, moving on to the big lounge window and then the kitchen and door.  On Friday when I got in from work, I decided to make a head start and did the bathroom on my own.  It went well enough but I did end up breaking a tile AND falling out of the attic, catching a belt loop of my shorts on the loft hatch -  

It may look flimsly but I can vouch it can hold the weight of a 44 year old ginger - leaving me dangling by my pants in the air... it took a fair amount of scrabbling about to get sorted out.  *note to self ... do NOT bugger around in the attic looking for tiles when Andy is out at work*...

No matter, it's done now:

The lounge window WAS a pig - it's just too big at 302cms wide by 140 cm high... it weighed a ton and how we didn't smash the old one taking it out is anyone's guess

It was quite a relief to get on to the kitchen one which was much easier... as was the door.

As you might imagine, I've spent today tidying up inside with upvc strips and applying frame sealant to the outside.  It's been a very tiring weekend but it's done now and we're both very pleased with the result AND the money saved.

If you need windows and can't afford them (like us) then it's NOT that difficult to do them yourself... and we saved an awful lot of money!

Until next time...

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Time dragging...

It feels like forever since I was last here ... on the ... er 10th lol.  Oh well.

Can it really only be 2 days ago?... hmmmf.  Oh well,

It's all go this week with deliveries... the rest of the radiators arrived yesterday - in a change from our plan, we went for Type 21's instead of 22s to save a few inches.

Wickes had a "sale" on-line and what with my trade discount there, they ended up the cheapest place to buy them - the exception being the 30 cm high by 140cm wide one (foot of the bed) which they didn't sell.

Also arriving yesterday were the 2 x 15 m 16mm black centre lines (that's a bit of a mouthful isn't it?) and this thing:

Any ideas?

It's a bilge alarm... JUST in case.  I know most folk don't bother with them, but given the bilge pump is manual (our choice) - with an automatic one, it's hard to "know" it's working... until it does if you follow.  At least with a manual one, you can check it daily and be assured it's operational.   THAT said, there is always the possibility you forget to turn the stern greaser and don't go anywhere for a few days whilst the engine bilge slowly fills with water.  This thing has 2 wires you attach to the side a little bit apart and when if water reaches them, it completes the circuit and triggers the alarm.  No doubt it will become faulty at 3am at some time in the future but for now, we'll sleep safer knowing it's keeping an eye out for us.

Today when I arrived home from work, on the step were various other items:

I'm a bit miffed the tiller bar isn't drilled though - I know it's only a hole but I'm bound to scratch it when I drill it out...  the anchor btw is NOT the one I ordered 3 months ago... for some reason, the seller cancelled that order and refunded me. This is a 14kg danforth from Limekiln again along with 3 meters of VERY heavy chain.  I had hoped to have ago at splicing the 12mm red rope I ordered to attach to the chain tonight but alas, that didn't arrive - I suppose it will leave a bit more excitement for another day.

Writing of excitement... remember how happy I was with the collapsible bucket? - well we now have another addition to the collapsible family:

Ta dah - 1 colander.

In none-shopping related news, last night I insured the boat  and then called CRT (with the information on the certificate of conformity to hand) to apply for the index number and license it. 

 Apparently, they make a charge for the index number unless you license it at the same time...  so I licensed it (for circa £840 quid including the 10% prompt payment discount, only to find the licence runs from the 1st of the month (ie October) so given we don't get it until the 27th, a 'wasted month' really... oh well - without it being licensed, the insurance would have been invalid on delivery anyway so it was unavoidable.

Tomorrow the rest of the windows (for the house) are due to arrive and subject to the weather, we'll fit 1 after work and the remaining ones over the weekend.    This means we won't be able to go over and check on progress on the boat until the handover on Sat 22nd... well I say handover - more a run through on trust the outstanding work WILL be completed when it arrives on the lorry the following Thursday.  We've got to go to the solicitors to sign our wills that morning so the first we'll see of it will be at the marina here when it arrives.  Exciting and terrifying in equal measure ;-)

Until next time...

Monday, 10 October 2016

27th it is.... ready or not.

On Saturday we went over to see the boat and check on progress.  The final bulkheads are now in position and a few lights/switches in.  Paul was working away when we arrived and thanked us for the flowers I sent to his wife - She's having a rotten time with the radiotherapy and they had the desired effect so that was good.

There still looks to be lots to be done and we've hit a bit of  a snag with 1 of the glazed side hatches.  WHEN we drew the original plans, we hadn't taken into account the door to the bathroom from the lounge - ergo, half of the glazed panel cannot fold back on hinges on account of the door frame getting in the way.  The options to get around this were either having a solid 2ft "lift out panel" or a half lift out and half hinged one.  We've gone for the latter - ok so it'll be  a bit more of a faff but at least that way when if I break it on the floor, it'll only be half a broken window lol.

We also spotted a 230vac socket missing in the kitchen area ... half my fault, half theirs - it was on the plan but I HAD missed out the one under the gunwale for the washer so Paul moved it down there and neither of us spotted it missing - given the lining is now up and wires cut, we'll manage without OR at some point I may fit a pop up one into the work-top.

I discussed with Paul our crane dichotomy and he said he's confident he'll be able to have it ready for the 27th.  When Chris arrived, he was reluctant to agree yet.  When we came to leave, I had a chat with the 2nd in charge and explained the financial implications of us having to have our own contract crane and he said he'll give Paul a lift to ensure it's done on time.

With this conversation ringing in my head, this morning I booked the road transport - to be finalised when I speak with Ed from Stanley Marina tomorrow to confirm HE's been able to book his shared crane for the Thursday - it doesn't leave him much time as he's on holiday the day after but someone somewhere HAS to give.  I've resigned myself to the fact the boat might not be totally finished when we take her but with so much money on the table, if that's the case - then so be it.

I've now got the certificate of conformity from Chris so I can contact CRT to get it listed and sort out the licensing.  I'd planned to do that today when I got in from work but have just realised it's out of office hours now so WILL do it tomorrow.  It's not right of course but should "do" to get a number from them to make the insurance easier to sort out... we can correct the details in due course I'm sure.

Yesterday, we took a walk up to our mooring to see if our neighbours had moved up yet and although they haven't. we were able to introduce ourself to the woman the other side of us - She's called Claire and has a baby on the way... that might prove restrictive when I want to make sanding/sawing noises but I suppose I can always untie and float down towards the flood lock for the noisy bits.

17 days and counting!

Until next time...

Friday, 7 October 2016

Our sort of people...

It's been a busy week - mainly with work but also deliveries of things I ordered at "insomnia clock" on Sunday morning... I like that phrase. It's one of those that does exacctly what is says on the tin affairs.

Since starting the Duloxetine *other pointless anti-depressants are available* I've barely slept more than a few hours a day....  she warned me they make you sleepy (they do) and I can fall asleep within an hour of taking it... what I can't do however, is STAY asleep.  Instead, 3-maybe 4 hours (if I'm lucky) later I'm wide awake.  Saturday night/Sunday morning was the worst so far - I gave in trying around 2.30am and got up to make lists and do "stuff" (quietly).

I was browsing on website and came across various things on our list so I ordered them, paying by paypal.  I put a note on asking if they might be able to do anything about the postage price (which their system had put at £40)...  - the website suggests calling before ordering to see if they can do it cheaper but at "insomnia clock" on Sunday morning, I doubted anyone would answer.

Imagine my pleasure when opening the parcel to find a copy of the order/my note highlighted along with an envelope with £20 in it!

THEY are our kind of people.  Whoever it was that did it, didn't HAVE to...especially in today's money grabbing society.  GOOD old boaters!

To continue "karma's journey" I  spent the money on a  bunch of flowers to send for Paul's the joiner's wife (she's having radiotherapy at the moment) as a 'thank you' for the out of hours efforts, Paul is putting in to finish the boat.

Writing of "money" - (I seem to do a lot of that),  I received an email from the builder yesterday with the final invoice ... it's a lot of money... an awful lot  and as the bank won't le me do on-line transfers for more than £10k at at time, I'll have to either go in to a branch to get them to do it OR space them out over the last week or so.  

We DID have a lovely surprise on Wednesday though - a dear friend came to visit and left us a  cheque for £500 to pay for one of the glazed side hatches as a boat warming present.  It's a lot of money and whilst accepting it didn't feel right, the sentiment behind it was quite genuine and  humbling without  being belittling if you follow . Andy especially will appreciate the extra light it will let into the otherwise all porthole saloon - some of you may remember, I was against spending such a large sum on what is really just an overpriced 2ft square of glass... The "gift" guilt-ed me into paying for the other side to be done too though so Thank you Richard...  we REALLY do appreciate it.

STILL on the money front, I've had various conversations this week with the crane company - he's been up to Selby to do his risk assessment...   it's changed since he was last there so he'll need a bigger crane (again) and this has put the price up (again)... and if we want a "slinger" (this is a bloke in a hi-vis jacket who holds the rope) it'd cost ANOTHER £250.  Suffice to say, I will cling on to a rope for dear life instead!!!

ALL that said (well written) I called into the boat yard at Stanley Ferry on the way home from work tonight to see if they had any better ideas.  As it happens, they now have a planned "shared" lift coming up ... probably/possible/hopefully, the last week in October... i.e. a few days earlier than our revised plans.  IF the builder is able to get Ellis ready by then, we'll be able to save quite a lot of money.... I'm not holding my breath.

Tomorrow, we'll nip over again and see how things have moved along this week - I know they're sick of us turning up, but  if they communicated better *read replied to emails faster* I wouldn't feel quite so vulnerable.  

It's all fine... we're nearly there and then the work can begin!

Until next time...

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Bulkheads going in and living in a democracy...

You'll remember that on Saturday morning we planned a visit to see the boat - it'd been 2 weeks since our last one but given Paul had been unwell, we didn't expect much progress.  How wrong we were.
We arrived before the gates to the yard were open but Chris turned up shortly afterwards so off we trotted to the boat.  Paul was already at work and it was good to see him.  He's feeling OK but does have pressures on his time due to his wife undergoing radiotherapy... as such, he mentioned he's working early mornings and late nights to keep things moving along - for which we're appreciative.

 He mentioned that he was going to rig some temporary lights up unless we had already bought ours... in which case he'd wire them in for us - ... I was cautious in accepting as in the "extras price list" they charge £10 per light...    Chris joined in the conversation and offered to do them as a freebie as it would make their lives easier...  that's a result then.  That did mean arranging a courier on Monday morning but using I selected 24 hour royal mail with £250 insurance cover for a little over £16 which was quite reasonable... I received a confirmation text from them about today confirming they're been delivered and signed for by Chris.

Apologies for the photo stream not being in any order - Andy was snapping away whilst I chatted and nosed around.
View from bathroom bulkhead into longe/kitchen

Rear dinette/cabin
Kitchen into lounge (bathroom bulkhead not yet in)

Bedroom to the front

View into kitchen/lounge

view from kitchen into rear cabin/dinette

It was quite a positive visit - at first we were amazed at how big the lounge felt... until we realised the 2nd bathroom bulkhead was not yet in  lol.  It'll be fine... cosy!

Paul mentioned that when fitting the lights, he may as well fit the light switches so I included them in the parcel - they're nothing flashy just polished chrome from screwfix .... we've got the power sockets to match with usb sockets in them too.

As far as we can tell - it's on schedule to be completed by the end of the month.  I've still not had confirmation from the crane bloke or the lorry chap but the last time we spoke, they were prepared to do a Saturday lift /carry.  If things have changed, we may have to move it to a Monday instead.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When we left the yard, we were full of enthusiasm and did a bit of a straggled route home to visit Wendy and Eddie on their sail-away.  They've had it for a little over a year and living on-board since March.  When we arrived, poor Eddie had the engine hole open and was struggling with their Webasto ... the header tank was empty which indicated a leak "somewhere"...  As they had it professionally fitted, they'll be taking it back to the chap who did it to sort.  It didn't stop them filling it up and then switching on to show us how fast it warms up - I must say, it IS impressive.  Much faster than the house system.  I had a good nosey around his pipe work and noted the size of the radiators.  He's used type 22s which do chuck out a lot of heat .   On my plan, I've opted for type 21s which don't output quite as much heat (although we've a lot more of them)  but are a few inches thinner.... horses for courses.  

It was nice to catch up with them whilst they're in the country for a change... oh the joys of being retired and spending the kids inheritance.... GOOD for them!

On return home, I sorted out an order for JG Speedfit plumbing connectors and bought the remaining radiators - they're "due" next week but the fittings arrived today.

The observant among (amongst?) you will notice the filling loop.  I realise the system is open vented and "usually" filled from the header tank but that will be a pain to do in a confined space - it therefore seems logical to me to fit a non- return valve and filling loop to the main cold supply to speed up the initial filling of the system... I don't think I can overpressure it as the pump is only rated at 2bar anyway... well that's the "thinking" behind it.

What else has been going on? - er well, on Sunday, whilst having another go at tidying the garage (to make space for the new windows which are due to arrive next Thursday) we were discussing our continued 'life laundry' process in preparation for moving on to the boat.  Today when I got in from work I went to get a glass (for water) and found the kitchen cupboards annotated like this:

Apparently, we need to identify things we DO and don't need in the boat kitchen...  I mean, it'll not be the least bit annoying for the next 12 months or so, having chucked stuff out early will it?  grrr...  I'm having to stand my ground in regards the number of plates we keep... you may note that apparently we won't be needing a tea-pot :-(   I LIKE having a tea from a tea-pot!!!


Further discussion is required!!!

Until next time..