Sunday, 19 June 2011

Captain log Earth time approaching longest day.

Well a big week, lots of work cleaning up, sorting out etc, but progress is being made and things are starting to become ship shape and Bristol fashion. Yesterday made a dash across the marina to pump out the toilet holding tank as an overflow was imminent. Didn’t  do too well on the maneuvers around the marina but didn't hit anything.Arrived back at our berth dried off and went down to the local to meet the lads who work for and with the Marina. Great crowd, had a few pints of Pedigree [nectar] met a few boaties, have a pub lunch meet with one couple for Sunday lunch. Nice dinner of sausage and faggot casserole. Went to bed tired and happy.
Saturday morning managed to sleep until 0730, wonderful. Spent the morning sorting things, and we are now pretty sorted. Walked to the shops 10 min away, finding food really cheap, of notice cheese, a big round of Camembert for 8 pounds [16 dollars] Roll mop herrings 3 dollars a jar. Petrol more expensive, and not so many cheapy Chinese shops. Sarah took herself o town on the local bus, and I fine tuned the bicycles and took a small ride, mad me realise just how unfit I am. Sarah came back from town full of the joys and suggested that it was time that we left the safety of the marina for a cruise. There was a decent wind blowing and yours truly El Capitano made a real pigs ear of leaving the Marina. Every time I thought she was lined up the wind moved her and I hit more than a few pontoons but no boats, a decent experienced Captain would not have done that.
Very pleasant afternoon on the canal did a great swing bridge manoeuvre not to mention a pretty cool 8 point turn without touching either bank, not bad in a lump of steel 53 foot long in a turning spot of 40 foot.
We are now tied up on the canal bank surrounded by nature, and believe me there is a lot of it, rum and coke in front of me stuffed peppers in the oven, bit of luck could be roast Swan tomorrow..
Lets see what tomorrow brings……………………

1 comment:

  1. Love it Unc! Thanks for the great series of mental pictures!
    C, S and girls


A brief history

This is a blog set up by Chris and Sarah so family and friends can catch up with their travels on the British waterways in the summer of 2011. In 2010, I went to England with the idea of getting a narrow boat built. I had specific requirements so I thought that a new build may be the way to go. I e mailed to numerous boat builders, a great percentage of whom ignored me. The problem of having a family name of Laycock is that hotmail and a few others think that I am a porn star. At an early age you learn not to put C Laycock on your school books. But I guess that my nephew Paul did worse. Anyway I spent a very pleasant few weeks driving around the beautiful English countryside visiting boatyards, marinas, boat builders and just a few pubs. I had narrowed it down to two builders and in the last week I was in Devizes Wiltshire when I came across "Avalon Mist" 54 feet of throbbing neglected narrow boat. The past owner had lost interest, hadn’t maintained her and to add insult to injury had been made redundant. After a very short negotiation I was able to buy her for a pretty fair price. On the day the sale took place I had to beg her to take her trainers and a few rather suspect items of clothing, in other words she left everything. Lock stock and barrel.

Soon after the purchase I flew to California to meet Sarah and have a short holiday. Once back in NZ I started to try and organize works. The first thing that I learnt was that the marina does not allow any contractor on site, only their chosen ones, the excuse given is a concern about insurance, the suspicion is, graft, pay back, baksheesh, call it what you like. It is possible to take the boat off the marina to have the work done, but not really practical.

The first job to be tackled was to “winterize” the boat, i.e. drain off all the water, check the anti freeze in the engine and central heating and fit an automatic bilge pump.

No real problem there except communication, the mechanic just didn’t answer e mails. Difficult to do business like that.

The nice marina lady had a quiet word with him, and things did improve, thanks Debs you have been a star through out . He later confided in me the reason for this was that he was dyslexic, apparently a malady [he] claims affects a lot of mechanics.[It turns out that he is a great mechanic and a nice guy to boot].

That goes pretty high on my list of lame excuses, the top one being a really nice Irish guy Pat, who I had employed as a carpenter years ago when I lived in London. He was always a bit late for work, when I finally collared him about it; he said he could never decide what to wear to work.

Nice one Pat.

I digress, the boat was winterized, which was just as well as it was a cold one and the whole marina froze over.

Next job was to have her taken out of the water, have the hull stripped back to bare metal and have a bit of over plating done. There were a couple of areas where there was pitting, and I though if she’s out of the water, may as well do the job right, so a small amount of over plating and then the hull was blacked, and the engine bay partially de-rusted and then back in the water.

Seems like a good job was done, I had the marine surveyor who had done the original survey, check out all the major works and give me written reports and photos, so all good except once again communications.

I then came across a great guy, the partner of the woman who runs the marina and a carpenter/narrow boat fitter outer .He replaced the stern deck and did a great job, also did a great job on de-greasing, de-rusting and painting the engine compartment. A job I should have done myself, but I just didn’t fancy it, not only that be was great with communications and chasing other people up

So that takes us up to present.

There needs to be a bit of electrical work, not much. The outside is badly in need of paint, Sarah and I can do that and a bit of a tidy up inside, and then she will be a really nice boat.