Monday, 3 February 2014


Galley. The drawers are NOT blue!

I am learning that if you make up a word and use it often enough it will get added to 'the' Dictionary. 'Marinitis' means inflammation of the Marina. I'm calling our Pier Q, Ward 17. Our Marina is fine but the residentials are getting a little tiresome. A few people have moved out, having sold their boats. The Mercury's sold their Narrowboat 2 days after advertising it. I will be sad to sell AM but it has to be done. Owning 2 boats is greedy, and, I am excited to be moving on to DB. She is a living dream.

Climate has dominated the news in Britain this winter and we see pictures of flooding down south. I am convinced Atlantis is in formation. A boat does seem a safe choice. Winter in the East Midlands has been mild and I believe the rain has mainly fallen at night. The local rivers are running high but not to the levels I recall seeing last year. As far as snow and ice, touch wood and uncross legs, nada (=nothing in English). Wind, yes strong winds have blown and there is a bit of firewood around.

I am fortunate that I have been called back to the outside working world to annoy other people and get paid for it. Although it takes me away from DB fit out, Chris is doing a wonderful job. The electricity is connected,12v and 240v, and the gas connection  is ready to fit to a cooker of our choice when we choose it! The plumbing is in place and we are days away from filling the water tank! We have bought a smoke detector that doesn't react to burnt toast and a CO2 detector-life-saver to warn us of leaky gas or solid fuel fire gremlins. Back to the electrics, I am yet to be convinced that a 3kw inverter is going to be a goldmine of energy but my Yorkshire man lights up when we discuss its potential.


Our bathroom is taking stock of goodies from IKEA. We've even got the full length mirror door on a bathroom cupboard. Well hope is eternal that one will appear as one remembers oneself and it hasn't been often that we've been able to view a full height 'selfie'!

Bathroom looking to bedroom

Bathroom looking to living room

The ceilings are starting to look closer to a top coat with the halogen spotlight turned off and I am determined to get a finished coat on the bedroom and bathroom ceilings within the next week! We have got into a spot of colour on the cabin walls, in the latter mentioned rooms, that is reminiscent of former days in Portugal. We've got lots of ideas and plans as we turn DolcieBlue into our living home.


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.