Monday, 22 February 2016

The 'Duck Palace'

Every year a duck comes and digs up our herb tray and lays her eggs there, we keep some and then let her keep enough until she sits on them for three weeks, this can be pretty inconvenient, as we have to tip toe around for three weeks so that we don't disturb her.
So I decided to construct a Duck Palace using bits of scrap wood.
I left clear panels in the roof over both compartments so that I can see if there's a duck or eggs inside.
Inside one of the guest rooms! I've planted some mint in both compartments, as she always digs up our mint.
I'm pleased to say that I found no need to charge the ratepayers any expenses while making this duckhouse! ;o)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Christina goes back into the water

The new lower tunnel bands will have a red panel in them with some trad flowers added.

The front tunnel bands re-lengthened and ready for the coloured centre panels and circles

I jet washed all the algae and bird crap off the tarpaulins the reproofed them.

I cut this rotten piece out and made a replacement piece out of oak.

Rolling back down into the lake, Barry is lowering her with the Matbro, Clive, the marina owner has the centre rope.

Safely moored up on the pump-out pontoon, waiting for Freyja to tow her back to our own pontoon.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Narrowboat blacking for beginners :- Tips & Tricks

I, stupidly, forgot to put some masking tape around the new sacrificial anodes that we had welded on. For the sake of a few minutes masking up, I then had to scrape and then wash off with thinner.
Tip 1 Always mask around your new anodes.

Tip 2 Use a stiff brush such as a masonary brush to apply the first heavier coat, this will allow you to stiple the bitumin into nooks, crannies and pitting. Then either brush or roller on as many coats as you have time and bitumin. If you don't have enough left for a complete coat, a small amount can be used to give an extra coat around the waterline.

Tip 3 Wrap your brushes and rollers in clingfilm overnight, this will keep them soft and ready to use, alternately, pop them in a bucket of water.

Tip 4 Make sure you wear disposable gloves, if you do get any bitumin on your skin use babyoil or babywipes to get it off.

Tip 5 Make sure the surface is dry, even a light coat of condensation will stop the bitumin from sticking.

Tip 6 Once finished allow 1 to 3 days for the bitumin to go off (depending on the weather) before putting your boat back in the water. 

Tip 7 Normal paint won't stick to bitumin so be careful not to get it onto surfaces that will need painting. 

Tip 7 Don't forget to black INSIDE your weedhatch! Remember this will be under water too. Be careful that the rubber gasket is sealing properly before you re-tighten the lid (which you also should have blacked!)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A proper axe

We went to stay with my old friends Rhys yr Ambiwlans (Rhys the ambulance) and Tarn in their old farmhouse near LLanychaer, West Wales

There was plenty of good old Welsh 'liquid sunshine' (rain) and wind on this exposed hill.

When we were leaving they kindly gave me a lovely old ex- Green Goddess Gilpin axe, I took it in my workshop, cleaned, de-burred and sharpened it.

Time to black Christina again

We had wanted to get Christina out for blacking last summer, but the slipway was fully booked

So, we finally got a chance to risk the weather and try to black her in late January-early February, this can be a big problem if you choose a week that's wet or very cold (condensation on the hull often means you can't do anything until after lunch)

The badly welded rubbing strake was being buckled out by the jacking action of the rust behind it, so we cut out all the bad sections.

And welded in new D bar

Bad welds on the box section on the bow had resulted in the box section being full of water.

A new piece of D bar welded in

Repaired sections

Glenda applying black to the elum (large wooden rudder on the butty)

New curved tunnel bands being added below the rubbing strake

After several coats of bitumin and six new anodes, I'm also re-lengthening the forward tunnel bands

Imposing view of the bow

The slipway, viewed from near the pump-out pontoon

Autumn glory at Woodford

Lovely colours at the Friends of the river Nene's Woodford mooring

John & Rita had headed back to the marina, we stopped, moored and went visiting ex neighbours and picking blackberries.

Meeting up with the Friends of the river Nene

We had arranged to meet up with the Friends of the river Nene at their new Pear Tree Farm moorings (upstream from Wadenhoe). On arrival we breasted up in the bywash.

As there were a lot of boats already moored bankside

They had made fantastic progress clearing the riverside mooring

Glenda spotted something large wedged under Freyja's bow and we decided to try to pull it out using the hydraulic crane on out tugdeck.

Apologies for the fuzzy pics, I was pumping the crane at the time!

It involved craning it up a bit and then lashing it to a tree, then getting a fresh bite with the crane

Heave Ho and up she rises!

Safely on the bank at last, this could have ripped the bottom out of a cruiser.

Next we cleared the bywash bank and an area for camping

Time for a breather

By the evening we had these beautiful moorings to ourselves

Idyllic, or what?

FotrN have provided these firepits at all their moorings, handy for burning rubbish, as there are no bins on the river.