Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Kitch-up Kontinued

The diarist in me wants to complete the saga to date!

So we did Dry Dock and after 3 days of mostly hull blacking toil and Dave welding vital points which included overplating, Needless to say the weather was ‘lucky’ (that what was beyond our control) as summer made a brief appearance. Summer was not the word I used but the locals were adamant it was! AM was lowered back into the ‘Cut’. As hoped for she floated, the dry dock trailer was quickly towed out from under her and back up the ramp. Her engine started started and no sign of sinking so Chris could take her back to the marina. I got in my land wheels and drove to Mercia, all smiles. I informed the happy (marina) campers that AM was moments away and all was good in our world. Then my phone rang! Captain Chris informed me AM had broken down and he was dealing with it. The domestic goddess in me thought I may as well deal with our laundry in the Cell Block Latrine facitilies and pass the waiting time productively. That is stuff as many clothes into the machine, press the buttons and then go to Global Spirit for a caffeine buzz followed by a walk around the Marina to check the boundaries, get some coins for the clothes dryer, and keep my eye out for AM.

AM did make it back, under her own steam but a bit more diesel cleaning was needed. So we were grounded afloat at our mooring again! But works indoors continued. The walls got painted and IKEA is in the kitchen! We have used their functional storage concepts to maximize our limited galley space and it is fabulous. It looks good, it works and is affordable. At this point we are awaiting the gas to be connected to the hob, and a hole to be drilled into the side of AM (so she sinks, just joking) so the washing up water can drain directly into the canal and not have to be ferried out in a bucket.

We have been busy and that is obvious. The engine is now running as it should and we went out with friends on Saturday onto the canal. I was not that happy about going out as it was really windy in the Marina. Flat bottom boats and wind are not a happy combination and I was not comfortable. We were being blown close to the moored boats and I had the short pole to try and stop contact. The process meant I came close to falling overboard, sustained a series of injuries which put plasters and arnica cream into use. Then once we got to the canal I put the kettle on and blew up the inverter!

And now, with that shortened version, I am up to date in Blogland.

Only 10 days until DELLA DAY!!!

1 comment:

  1. We salute your fortitude. You're both obviously made of sterner stuff than us. (Thank god for arnica cream!)


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.