We continue to live aboard Avalon Mist at Mercia Marina having been moored, continuously, here for the past 5 going on 6 months. The
Marina was busy over the
winter but now there are many available moorings as people move back on the
‘Cut’. I think after last year’s wettest drought, boaters are giving up on the
thought of a Spring season coming anywhere close to Spring as we know it but are not letting that deter them cruising.
An interesting thought, for us, is that by next winter, if not before, we will be living aboard DolcieBlue (DB) and she will be fit for a cold winter without having to buy electricity!!. We went to visit her a couple of days ago. Our road trip went very smoothly and we followed Sat Nav directions all the way with no thoughts that ‘She’ doesn’t know where we are or ‘She’ has got it wrong again. I used to be a great navigator and I could get us, by road, through
France, Spain, Portugal,
Netherlands and Germany with
little difficulty. We used to have a great road map book (Bartholomew’s) for Spain and Portugal. We could find our way whatever type of road. I first used Sat Nav on a road trip in California and I was hooked.
Now the print on paper maps is too small for me to read without my reading
glasses, I am a Sat Nav fan.
Back to our steel boat in the workshop at Long Itchington. We had been expecting DB to be an ivory beige colour and the portholes and houdinis fitted but due to the painter being sick, DB was a gleaming structure in polished steel ‘sitting’ on the floor. I ran my hand along her body (sounds saucy) it was cold and dirty but smooth. We climbed the ladder to climb onto her cruiser stern and carefully stepped into the Wheel House avoiding the gaping hole on the stern floor where the engine will lie.
|Awaiting the engine|
It is a long view down the roof length of the boat and clutching an imaginary wheel in the Wheel House didn’t make the length look any shorter! I’m hoping the view on the ‘Cut’ will put the length into perspective. At this point I don’t see myself as the new Tiller / Wheel Queen!
|View from Wheel House to Bow!|
I left Chris and
talking important build stuff that involves ‘measure twice cut once’ and I
stepped inside the cabin. It is exciting; it is huge and hard to imagine it all
getting ship shape! Its colour, for now, remains black and light. That is the
light shining in through the port holes, houdinis and side hatch openings.
Sounds like the build up for a circus performance.
|Chris & Gary|
I walked do the Bow-end, taking care not to trip over the metal strips that are at floor height once the ballast is loaded. Oh I’m getting so nautical in my vocabulary these days. Our bedroom will be down the Bow-end and the ‘bow thruster’ will be placed in the ventilated steel cupboard in front of the head of our bed. We have a porthole above our bed and as well as a view we can see the location of the big water tank and handy storage that is the Bow. The Bow will not be a sitting area and not cratch covered. We figure that we will have enough outdoor space on the cruiser stern as well as the joy of the Wheel House that can be kept covered when we are moored.
|Looking to Stern|
Even looking along the indoor length back to the Stern, the finished layout takes some imagination. A CAD drawing would be useful. Chris has done a floor plan and that is all we need but 2D would be good. I feel an IKEA visit fast approaching! A big job awaits and it will be exciting as Chris / we get underway. We’ve done big projects before. My mother notably said we build in an organic way.
Meanwhile we get prepared to receive DB as a Sail-away. I’ve phoned C&RT, (Canals & Rivers Trust) to confirm what paperwork we need to get done as DB will not be ready for a Safety Certificate but we need to register her. All good. They are used to this sort of thing and the paperwork from Colecraft and boat insurance will be enough to get her registered. Wow the registration will be close to a grand for the year!
Back on the road from Colecraft. We do not need Sat Nav for this bit. We take the country (B) road route, it is a relaxing way to go back and we have found the pub to stop at in Silsden. It is called the Cock Inn and is of the olde worlde build. Thatched roof and lime washed, and indoors many of the crucial oak beams are ill positioned for anyone above tall hobbit height.
Then we Sat Nav it to a National Park area, south east of
Burton-upon-Trent where Chris
has discovered a comfortable dog friendly circular walk. Della is hop, skipping
and running with the smells that attract her. She is always busy on her walks
but has her ear tuned in to our commands which may mean a treat for her. There
are friendly people walking their dogs, oh, and their children!
And back we went to AM. Chris has been busy undercoating AM in preparation for our undercover slot at Shobnall Marina in early May. We’ve booked a week to tart her up. We had booked for the first week in April but the weather was too cold to keep the paint brush thawed, let alone dry the paint. So the weather is slowly getting closer to warming up although I wouldn’t say we are in Spring. In fairness the drizzle is not falling as snow flurries. In fact, there has been very little rain, a lot of breezy cold wintry winds. If and when we see the sun there is warmth but the outdoor ‘air con’ effect is not right.
That’s enough weather report. On a parting note, I have a friend (well I have more than one) but this one was asking me if Narrowboats can be constructed from aluminum. I put this question to Gary the boatbuilder. I started with has he ever built a boat from aluminum and he said yes he has. I said oh really! He said that it was very expensive material, compared to steel, and not strong enough for the contact nature of cruising a Narrowboat. There you go Rob. Keep those planes flying, the skies are wider than the Canals!