Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pure as driven snow

After two coats of primer courtesy of Dave yesterday, this was my contribution for today:
Another two coats of “proper” paint…
Note the shine on that then, although it can’t be seen on this photo, the light gently reflects off the toilet lid, then back onto the paint behind it, a work of art perhaps? (Should hope so, me knees were on fire afterwards).
OK so there’s still masking tape round the throne itself and the poo level monitor thingy is blowing in the wind as yet, but who cares. Although I must remember not to put the lid up properly tonight.
Meanwhile Dave temporarily migrated onto yet another job in there this afternoon – boxing in a cupboard next to the shower...
It´s never ending...

Monday, 27 April 2009

Oh no, this job is still evolving

Apart from the accidental photo of my left nostril I once managed to capture (with zoom), which was promptly deleted and NEVER published. This is probably the most embarrassing photo I’ll ever post.
It features a very flattering Picture (not) of half the poo tank in all its glory, and yes it’s meant to be black.
So why did I deem this revelation necessary? Well it’s another “before and after thing.” Yes, we’ve been forced into changing the plan of action yet again, but what with wading through plans A to Z over the past two days we’ve used up the alphabet.
Perhaps it would be easier to just leave the bathroom like this, and place a curtain neatly over “it” when we have visitors…
The thing is we’ve found that sometimes “upgrading” something means (for appearances sake) the same has to be done for the surrounding area. This is where it all becomes even more complex. I mean we couldn’t put two lovely doors on there without painting the surrounding wood white to match the ceiling above could we?
So we both got round to rubbing down either side, looking at this (beautiful) photo Dave took control of starboard, while I stood firm at port. Because there’s less to do at my side. BUT I later ended up doing more work than I thought, which included cleaning the OUTSIDE of the poo tank, (Yikes). Mercifully it was ok apart from being covered in sawdust.
Then I ended up undercoating some odd bits of wood in an odd sort of way really, I reckoned I’d overdone the primer. But Dave said it was ok, was he just being kind?

As for the starry eyed doors, well Dave persevered yesterday even with all the problems, oiled the backs, re-varnished the fronts and they look brill. Oh how close they came to being chucked, but he doesn’t give up easy my hubby, me either, it’s a dam good job too!
So this is STILL an on-going operation, what started off as a table top has turned into a makeover on a much grander scale. Just hope the Queen doesn’t pop in for a cup of Darjeeling while all is “laid bare.”

Oh dear that reminds me of the time we went to a wedding at a posh hotel, a cup of this particular (Darjeeling) “tea” was passed to me. I thought it resembled pig swill, so I asked if I could have milk in it please? (Wondered why Dave was nudging me with his elbow). Even worse, this was after I’d announced we drank it regularly when we were in the USA. (Lies)What a “Faux pas” that was eh? Reminds me of a “Del Boy” situation in “Only Fools and Horses.”
Anyway, if her majesty did happen to stop by for a chat, she’d have to make do with Tesco finest teabags, and pay to use someone else’s loo…

Saturday, 25 April 2009

A star on the table top

I’m currently sat on the bed composing this post, because the rest of TT has yet again been transformed into a wood yard come tool shop. Only the bedroom is safe.
I’ve already posted photos, of the Takey Tezey star and mentioned the fact that what was once Alan’s table top, is going to be turned into a stunning door for in front of my washer / drier.
(Note: That was plan A which meant it would inevitably morph into something else, and it has).
Alan’s beautifully carved table, sorry I should’ve taken a photo BEFORE the masking tape went on:
This doesn’t do it justice at all. So here it is all set and ready to go, fingers crossed, get the saw out…
The old door…
What’s hidden behind it…

So we’re all sorted right? Not quite…
We were having last minute negotiation talks about how workable this was last night when suddenly I had a different idea. “What about putting it in the bathroom instead?” We aren’t keen on these doors:
They really are all one colour, but without the lights on, me and my own shadow has got in the way. Oh and the poo tank’s behind them…
AND here’s another reason to set it up in the bathroom:
Nobody would see it in front of the hidden washer drier anyway, because there’s two out of four stools sit in front of it…
Amazingly Dave agreed, he’d been mulling it over himself and even went one step further. He’s going to cut the table down the centre of the star and make it into two doors! Impressive – well it will be if it turns out as planned, (be a first).
o that’s what he’s working his little socks off doing now. He’s spent all day making it the right size, and getting everything “flush” in the bathroom. He’s about to start cutting it down the middle now. Rather him than me, one false move down the centre of that design and it could end up looking like a jig-saw puzzle.
Darn it, he’s just asked me to hold one half steady, must go. Don’t miss tomorrow’s exciting instalment folks. Oh it’s all good fun…?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

What´s the best antidote for mawdling?

HARD GRAFT! The eight new brass door vents arrived yesterday, so Dave got round to “out with the old and in with the new.”
Which also included re-oiling the inside of the back doors. But I’ve posted enough photos of the faffing about we’ve done with them recently, so here’s the difference at the front:
Old ones…

New ones…
There doesn’t seem to be much difference in these photos because of the bright sunlight! I’ve darkened them both but the pitting effect still doesn’t show up on the old ones at the top, however the dead give away for the more observant eye is around the screws…

And my job for the day was THAT FLIPPIN WALL, remember last Thursday’s “shelf removal” bug? Well this was the end result after I’d took it down, holes EVERYWHERE.
We had no idea how bad it was…
I zoomed in on these two in the photo so you can get some idea of scale and damage. I counted 23 of these big screw holes, (I kid ye not). They needed sanding FLAT because they’d made the wood bulge out around them. So here’s the recipe I followed:
  • As previously stated, sand down the wall so all the wood is flat.
  • Wipe down with a damp cloth and twiddle one’s thumbs for 20 minutes while it dries.
  • Fill said holes with wood filler and twiddle ones thumbs for another 20 minutes while it dries.
  • Sand down again to remove excess wood filler, wipe down with a damp cloth and twiddle ones thumbs for another 20 minutes.
  • Oil the wall from top to bottom and wait another 20 minutes.
  • Oil the wall from top to bottom again, and after one or two expletives shout PHEW…!
Final result after some loving care and attention, with a dash of boredom here and there…
Zoomed in a bit, I’m quite chuffed with this, if I hadn’t revealed its original state you wouldn’t notice any “repair work” on this wall right? No magnifying glasses allowed…
Oh, and see the knot in the wood (above) on the left? Looking closer I think I’ve found a smiley face :)
Anyway, I promise no more photos of door vents…
Later on after we’d both had time to sit back and admire our work, we went out for a drink and got a text from Liam to say they’d arrived home safely.
So de-stressed and relaxed we hovered gently back to the boat, me still with a glass of wine in my hand, (shush). Ah well, only three more weekends and we’ll have a full set…

Saturday, 18 April 2009

No, this isn´t easy at all

Liam and Maddy came to the boat about lunchtime, it’s their last full day here so they spent it with us before they set off back to Germany.
I think we were all aware that after today we won’t see each other again for quite a while, which made it more of a “thoughtful” get-together. Our son is a soldier in the British Army and based over there, so our time together is precious. The weather was gorgeous, we did a lot of talking, had (another) lovely meal together and discussed arrangements to see them later this year sometime.
Dave and I are hoping to be able to go over there in September and stay at their apartment for a week or so. But it might not be quite so straightforward because Liam will be starting his training for Afghanistan, and when he can take leave will be limited.
Even so, they’re both aiming to be here at Christmas.
Here’s some photos I took this aft of them feeding one of the swans…

When it was time to say our goodbyes, Liam said “I hate this bit” and I agreed. We walked with them to their car and I kept my sunglasses on in case I started crying! We all did!
The main thing is that we´ve had a great time together this week, and as a bonus the weather was kind to us…

Friday, 17 April 2009

More Partying!

Liam and Maddy set off early to drive back here from the Lake District, Maddy wanted a guided tour because she’s from Germany and heard a lot about it. Liam came to the boat for a natter while she was having her hair done at Tracey’s salon. Another gorgeous day so we just lounged about the back of the boat, then some more little visitors arrived.
Just behind the boat, the first baby ducks of the season at the marina with their proud mum. They were so young, when we threw some tiny bits of bread, they didn’t know they were supposed to eat them…
Fluffy ducklings - all ELEVEN...
Later on Liam went to collect Maddy and they booked themselves in at the hotel they’re staying in for the next couple of nights, (only about four miles from here).
Once they’d had chance to “settle in” we went to pick them up on our way to my sister’s for family party number two. Unfortunately my sister and family missed out on the boat trip last Sunday because they were on holiday. So it was real nice for everyone to be together.
Here’s a few family photos from today:
Left to right, brother in law Ray, dad, mum, me, Maddy, Liam, our neice Sarah, my sis Chris, our nephew Jonny, Chloe our grand daughter in front of him, oh and of course lets not forget “Rossi” the dog there…!

On this one my mum and me have disappeared to take photos, and Dave has planted himself where I was…
L&M Visit 2009 (38)

Our son Liam, Maddy and our daughter Tracey…
Ray, Chris, me & Dave…
And this is a little gem I found hung up in the hallway, hmm could it refer to boat rules perhaps? Nah, strictly no hassle…!
So thanks to Chris, Ray (and mum) for putting on a great meal, and a real “good time” party…
Martini glass

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The shelf that fell off the wall

Shush, Dave’s still sound asleep after his first night back at work, and I’ve done a naughty thing.
There’s this shelf above the microwave (which in turn sits on another shelf below it). Well anyway I’ve never liked it, but Dave has, hence the reason why it’s stayed up there so long. But when I got up this morning I noticed that the left hand screw was loose. [A screw loose? I must be referring to myself]
So I grabbed a screwdriver and furtively removed the whole thing, when he wakes up it’ll have to be a case of:
“Well dear, I noticed the shelf was leaning sideways and the screw was hanging off, so I had to take the whole thing down because it created a Health and Safety issue.” And if any more persuasion not to put the darn thing back up is necessary, here’s what I’ve come up with:
  • It could’ve dropped off at any moment and permanently disabled somebody.
  • It could’ve dropped off at any moment and damaged something like the microwave, or the worktop. Or god forbid, the plate rack, which is nowhere near it, but never mind.
  • It could have woodworm.
A short while later…
When Dave appeared in the kitchen the whole thing went down nothing like I’d intended at all, the first thing I said was “Have you noticed there’s something missing yet?” Answer “No, what?” Then I could see the penny dropped as he reached up for a teabag and the canister thingy wasn’t there.
“Oh no what happened?” Says he, so I told the story and at first he said he was going to “redesign” it and stick it back up there. Sod Health and Safety, it had to be “no chance!”
After further negotiations it turns out he wasn’t bothered anyway, in fact he’d been pulling my leg about it all along. By the time we’d been shopping and put everything away, we’d both caught “shelf removal syndrome.” So we moved the microwave and re-housed it neatly under the plate rack, (in a corner on the work surface). The old shelf was also “placed neatly” in a pile (after being dismembered) ready for the tip.
Ah, that’s better, neither of us likes clutter, and we were both amazed by the difference it’s made in that respect, Although we’ll still have to carefully sand the wall down, fill in the screw holes and oil the wood, it was well worth it. Will post some photos when it’s all sorted, no publicity shots of it yet though.
As for the table that’s going to be a door, well it sounds simple enough, (no actually it doesn´t and probably won’t be).
Alan had created what resembled an “American diner” effect next to the kitchen on his boat. It was pretty cool really, he made a lovely job of it, and hand engraved the Takey Tezey “Star” into the table top which is a beautiful piece of wood. It’s quite stunning to look at, and the new owners have asked us if we want it because they have other ideas for that space. (Which is very nice of them, they’d noticed that it meant something to us).
At first Dave was going to chop it down and put the star on the wall somewhere, then it was suggested to us that it would make a lovely door for in front of the washer drier! Yes, there’s already a door in front of it but not quite as elaborate shall we say! So it’s been measured up and that’s the plan. We´ve got a busy weekend coming up though, so this little project might get delayed for a week or two.
It’s just taken me half an hour to find these photos:
The star design on both sides of Takey Tezey…
The star design on both hatch doors…
Will also post photos of before after the stable door table / door has been “transformed” or let’s put it this way, IF IT WORKS OUT…!

Monday, 13 April 2009


Have you ever had a problem with your balance ballast? We thought we could sort it with the new batteries being placed “down under” on the other side to the poo tank – all very well you might think.
BUT now it’s the opposite way round and true balance depends on the big black tank and how full it is (or isn’t). I mean it’s not much fun taking Senakot, (or Senapods as my dad calls them), just so you can fill your tank up quicker and your boat floats straight…

So after sh*tting sitting down and having a think about the situation we decided that maybe some of the ballast now needs to be at the front LHS rather than most of it being at the back LHS.

In summary we’re now on a skew and pivoting slowly around whatever the total capacity of the poo tank happens to be at any given time. (The said tank is on the starboard side). You know I really couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…

Anyway we got the diagnosis right, and Dave went “down under” in the back cabin to suss out what ballast was moveable, what wasn’t, how much to shift, and the exact spot where it should be at the front in the bow.

So after spending ALL DAY “under the hood” (another day down in the depths) he finally got it sussed. Moved just the right amount to the front left and whoopee doo doo, we aren’t relying on poo poo to keep us straight anymore. Tank empty / tank full, we now have a happy hull…
However, it’s just dawned on me that my husband has spent more time “down below” than he has “up top” recently. I hope he’s not secretly planning to set up residency down there…

Change of subject, Liam and Maddy have gone to my mum and dad’s caravan in the lake district for a few days, hope they have a good time, even if it is peeing down…

Oh and of course with all today’s farting about, Dave missed out on any fishing AGAIN…

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Out on the canal at last

Well today must’ve been the warmest day so far this year, what great timing too!
With my mum and dad, our daughter Tracey and her boyfriend Alex, our son Liam and his girlfriend Maddy, oh and of course us two, going on a family boat trip.
We all went for a lovely meal in the cafe first, then walked back to the boat and “cast off” with horns blowing all around us. Anyone would think it was the Queen Mary headed for a spin across the Atlantic. “Ship Ahoy” (and all that). Just four miles there and four miles back, we were advised: “If you get lost just keep going in a straight line” Ha Ha.
So here’s some photos of the motley crew, but I’ve just noticed I’m not on any of them!
Moored up (after winding), about halfway between the marina and Tarleton…
Guys you’re supposed to be looking this way…
That’s better…
Dave on the phone to his bank manager, nah it was his dad, but he couldn’t hear what he was saying thanks to the revellers…
More partygoers…
By gum, that’s a nice looking boat…
Well what can I say? Each to their own…!
Back at base, mum, dad, Maddy, Liam and our daughter Tracey…
Meanwhile Dave and Alex were putting the back cabin together.
As the U2 song says, “It’s a Beautiful Day…”
PS: The new inverter and batteries passed their combined “inaugural test” with flying colours. Then again I suppose a day trip out with the engine running there and back isn’t much of a test at all really! But the old one couldn’t even manage that, so it’s looking positive...!

Friday, 10 April 2009

A big welcome home on a very good Friday

After driving through Germany, France, crossing the ferry over to the UK, then driving up to Lancashire from Dover, (all in less than 24 hours). Our son Liam and his girlfriend Maddy (Madeleine) finally arrived at the boat. I don’t know how they were still awake! (Neither did they to be honest). There were hugs and kisses all round, then we had a good catch up on all our newsy stuff…
Here they are, half asleep but still going strong…
Later on we had a fine meal that Dave the “master chef” bunged in the oven earlier, it was yummy “the kids” really appreciated it having been on the road for so long. [Dave could make a meal blindfold with one arm tied round his back, it would still turn out better than anything I could ever create]
This is a picture painted for us by Maddy’s grandma, beautiful isn’t it? Already up on display, couldn’t resist…
Here’s a “close up,” the blue and white colours are stunning …
Don’t think I need to say this is a German tankard with a large can of beer in it – for Dave of course…!
There was something special about this kind of beer, however, not being an expert I can’t remember what!
They also brought a lovely bottle of wine for me, it was wrapped up with fancy ribbons and chocolates tied amongst them. But I forgot to take a photo of it all dressed up, and now it’s been undressed, forget it.
fter our “feast” they set off round to our daughter’s house where they’re staying for a couple of nights, whilst visiting folks during the day. It’s months since we’ve seen them.
Liam’s Army base is in Germany and it’s wonderful, nay, overwhelming to be with them after so long. Hope the weather is kind to us on Sunday – we’ve been told it’s supposed to be. Fingers crossed…!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Well Takey Tezey will be transformed into a party boat this weekend, our son and his girlfriend are coming home from Germany for a week. They’ll get here Friday, and coming to see us at the boat first. then going on to stay over at our daughter’s house.

Setting off tomorrow, he’s driving all the way, (except for the ferry crossing of course), but PHEW what a long journey by car in less than 24 hours. It’ll be great to see them and we’re really looking forward to it. On Sunday there’ll be nine of us for a meal at the marina cafĂ©. Afterwards if the weather allows, we’ll be taking them all out to Tarleton for the day. We’ll moor up somewhere on the way back for an “on board buffet” too.

So we’ve been getting her “ship shape and Bristol fashion” this week, today we went for a pumpout. As fellow boaters will understand, this is an important part of preparations when so many guests are on board. Never mind cleaning, dusting, washing and polishing mushrooms, priority number one (excuse pun) is to make sure there’s enough “room in the tank.” And to put it politely (on the subject of the toilet) the cup wasn’t running over – but was about to!

We had “to go” anyway because the marina closes for Easter and tomorrow’s weather forecast is even worse than today (that’s saying something). Regular readers will already know that a pumpout for us always means freak weather occurs.

After doing the business (excuse) Dave then had to negotiate the ten foot waves to get back to the mooring, (well alright 10 centimetres, but they were close together, honest).

Meanwhile I stood on the jetty and waited patiently while the boat went backwards towards the marina entrance, oh what fun eh? I mean last time we ended up in that region at least we were facing FORWARDS.

It has to be said that all things considered he did a dam good job, and with a bit of help from friends we got her back to the mooring ok. We’ve had it said to us a few times that it’s all about “using the wind in your favour, let it do the hard work for you.” I mean we can both drive the boat easy enough. But I think using the wind in quite extreme circumstances is something that has to be learnt through experience, it doesn’t come naturally. Well not to us anyway, although we’ve both got going backwards sussed out now.

PS: My mum sent me a text earlier because she’d been reading about the “Magic Spiral” palaver on my blog. She said they regularly used to go to a pub for a meal that served the spirals as one of four different choices of potato on the menu. They called them TWISTERS.

Well all I can say is that they must’ve used a super duper deluxe version…

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The magic spiral on trial

“I’m going to test out that magic spiral thingy on a potato” says Dave. “Oh this I’ve got to see” says me.
Exhibit A…
Exhibit B…
He mumbled something about sticking them together with superglue, that he wasn’t impressed. Then I heard “Oh dear I think my threads have gone.” (Painful?) So that was it, after producing a sum total of these two twirls it gave up. Shortly to be followed by Dave who also gave up enough to deposit them in the bin.
It seems the magic spiral was too complex for the potato to cope with. However, even though what it produced was trashed, it still managed to disappear in relative safety to the back of the drawer. For future use? I doubt it.
Today’s main job was to create another vent in the cupboard where the new inverter combi thingy now resides…

Saturday, 4 April 2009

I promise these are the last exclusive ceiling photos ever

Unless that is, we start building a “V” shaped roof over the bow seeing as we’ve been headed that way through the boat from start to finish. Yes today it’s the bedroom ceiling’s turn.
All in all the day started well (not). Dave scraped his back on the hatch cover (which is still a work in progress). Badly bruised? YES, about three inches of one, YIKES, and OUCH.
But like a typical bloke, when I mentioned using some antiseptic cream / pain reliever stuff he just groaned “aghh it’ll be ok.” (Right well don’t come to me moaning about it later on then).
And while I was taking the BEFORE photo below I fell backwards out of the doors at the front. All I could think was “SAVE THE CAMERA, SAVE THE CAMERA” never mind my bum or my pride. Even so, I did a quick scan of the area afterwards (like you do) just to make sure there were no tittering witnesses.
So here’s the one (before) that I literally fell over backwards to take…
     And here’s the finished product at the end of a hard days graft…
Most of this was done by Dave while I cleaned the brass work in all sorts of obscure places, doors, handles, vents etc.
Of course there had to be a third blunder, I forgot to put the top back on the NEW tube of “Mass” (brass cleaning stuff). Not only that but I left it on the stairs (WHY?) Then came down  them backwards… SPLATTTT,,, it went EVERYWHERE, well all over the step, my foot, slippers, jeans etc. (At first I thought the stair was collapsing till I looked down). So without daring to move I shouted “Dave we seem to have a minor disaster here, help and HURRY UP.”
When he saw the mess I was in all I heard was “Oh no, not my Mass stuff, it’s 10 quid a tube you know,” (charming). We spent AGES cleaning it up, it’s at times like this the benefits of non-slip mats turn into a curse. Not because I was sliding around, but because the pink goo settled very nicely in the crisscrossed design.
After 30 minutes we finally had the situation under control, painstaking removal using a knife and an empty pot to re-house the pink blobby stuff for future use…

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Vent

Today’s main job was to create another vent in the cupboard where the new combi inverter / charger resides.
Vent number one, always been there, but wasn’t enough…
The extra vent, on the side going down the stairs…
[Does this mean I’ve lost my airing cupboard?]
Very nice dear, but what a MESS this job made. It took us both a couple of hours, just to get shut of the big layer of sawdust on EVERYTHING this side of the bathroom. (Could even taste the stuff). Of course the other side of the bathroom and beyond had a finer layer that couldn’t be ignored as well. Which still required hard labour and the hoover doing overtime.
TIP: Always remember to hide your knick knacks (that’s ornaments and the likes), when there’s a job that sprays sawdust en masse. Oops I forgot…