Saturday 6 August
Just back from 24 hours in and around Nottingham, primarily for a visit to Kingfisher to discuss a few things, and a visit to Narrowboats of Staffordshire, to have a look at the progress of our hull.
Mick and John had told us that there was a 50/50 chance they would not have made a start yet, and that was to be the case. Work on our shell will probably get under way in the next week or so, and at that point the boys will need to go over and visit, and that’s when we will go and join them there.
The plan has always been to get the boat into the water and down to their dry dock at the beginning of September, and there is no reason to suggest that is not going to be the case.
We could have gone down to Stafford yesterday, but quite frankly, we couldn’t see the point.
It was a journey well spent though. After tea and doughnuts we spent two hours going over the plans again, especially in relation to the hull, looking at heights and where cut outs have got to be made, for things like my outdoor speakers.
In the last few weeks we have also purchased two fold-out bikes. I have a Brompton and Pat is riding around on an American Dahon, a very nice bit of kit, but a lot heavier than my Brompton. These have been bought with the boat in mind, and I wanted to see if Mick and John had any ideas about how these could be stored. We didn’t resolve it, but we have some ideas.
The principle reason for visiting though, was to establish the Cat’s Whiskers colour scheme, so the boys could start ordering the paint and to give Jan, the sign writer, who lives next door to their office on her own boat, an idea of what we wanted and the size of the panels she has to work with.
Coming from a typographical background, I knew exactly what I wanted, but it soon became very clear that what might look good on paper, drawn in Quark or Photoshop, is not guaranteed to look any good on the side of boat.
The boats main colour will be a midnight blue, with a cream roof and cream coach lining. There will be post office red on the grabrail and above the rudder. (Not sure the technical term for that bit of the boat.)
We changed our mind on out Celtic cat logo, and I found an image of a cat, upside down, looking through a porthole that we both liked. My son-in law, James, in New Zealand, has embellished it, but it didn’t work on the boat, though I think we will utilise it on the bow stripes and it will be the logo on our tee shirts, now available, see picture.
When we got to Trent Lock, “Jandai” had just arrived. She is the last bespoke boat that Kingfisher built and Jan and Dai had brought her in to have a solar array fitted and to have her bottom blacked.
We visited them in April up on Leeds and Liverpool at Gargrave, and it was good to see them both again, looking very tanned, and to pick their brains over a pint opposite at the Navigation Inn.
Dai is very keen on these solar panels, as are John and Mick, and we will are also keen to see how Jandai gets on with them, over the remainder of the summer and into the autumn.
After a look around Sawley Marina, down the road, we drove into Nottingham, for a night beside the Castle Marina, close to the city centre, to have a nose around, and to visit a few of the pubs that have a good reputation for their ales and canal connections.
The bikes were pressed into action and after a visit to “Ye Olde Trip”, by the castle, and “Fellows, Morton and Clayton”, the “Waterfront” and the” Boat House”, we crashed out in the Premier Inn, overlooking the marina.
After breakfast and a further bike ride to the end of the canal where it enters the Trent, opposite the cricket ground and Notts Forest’s ground, we went off to Ikea, to get some ideas. We are definitely getting our kitchen from there, but the worktops might be sourced by John as he has to build our mammoth round breakfast bar idea.
It’s all been a waiting game up to now, but that, hopefully, will all change over the next few weeks.