Saturday, 19 November 2011

Engine's In

Our three-weekly visit to Trent Lock to visit the Day brothers and to look at the progress of The Cat’s Whiskers was on Friday last.

It was a grey day – typical November autumnal weather. I don’t think we turned off our car headlights all the way there and back. The boat is now in the boys’ dry dock facility at the Lock, currently breasted up, as there is another boat in which is being painted by its owners.
A lot has happened since we last visited. The shiny new engine (a Beta Marine 43) has been dropped in. The walls have all been spray foamed and the ceiling is up. All along the walls are electrical tails, reflecting the position of the lights and power switches. Ballast is in and we now have a floor to stand on and I was pleased that I have got at least a couple of inches head room when standing up.

Our new nice clean, green 43Hp Beta Marine Engine in place

The stainless steel tank has arrived and, at present, on each side she is sporting one top coat of the very dark blue, we both wanted. It’s been a bit damp to do a lot of painting, but there is plenty of time for that, I guess.

Pat admires the stainless steel watertank
Base floor is in, as is most of the roof and the electrics have been started

The re-designed bookcase

I’ve re-drawn the TVunit/Bookcase to scale, as John needs to know these dimensions soon. The next thing to sort out is the kitchen or galley and I suspect that will be well underway by the time of our next visit. The kitchen is coming from Ikea in Nottingham. We have had to compromise on the oven we want and it will now be a Smev (no, I haven’t of this brand either), but Jandai had one installed, and it looks preferable to the Spinflow one, which most new boats go for. We thought the build quality of the Spinflow was poor.

There are loads of other things to sort out, but generally all is well. Our latest stage payment has gone through and after a chat with the boys and obligatory doughnuts, we met up with Jan Deucher, the sign writer, who also lives at the Lock on a boat.

I have done a lot of background work, looking at her website and choosing the fonts and colour scheme I like for the signage. I had knocked something up in Publisher and Jan thinks what I want will not present any issues. The level of detail of the cat’s face we want on the side of the boat, didn’t seem to faze her at all. She is also doing some work on the “bow flashes”, but I don’t think that is the correct term, so excuse my ignorance. Jan gave us a price, which seems reasonable, and we look forward to seeing her work her magic.

It was all a bit of a flying visit. We stopped off at Sawley Marina for a spot of late lunch, and bought another Nicholsons Guide, and was back in Welwyn Garden by 4.30pm.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Pat & Roger go shopping

David Cameron would be proud of us. For it seems Pat and I are staging a two-person campaign to jump start the country's  high street spending. Yes, the big spend has started as the boys start preparing for the fit-out of the Cat’s Whiskers.

I really wanted, wherever possible, to buy stuff made in the UK, but I think I was more than a little naive to think that was possible.

Shoreline RF88
We started with the fridge/freezer. We needed a 12v one. Well, we didn’t really. We could buy an an ordinary 240v household unit but that was going to mean huge burden on the boats invertor, as this bit of kit is on all day and night, and is working at its hardest in the summer months, when we will be most active on the boat.  I am getting somewhat paranoid about our electrical consumption. I think it will be trend regular readers of our blog will spot as time goes on. So it’s 12v all the way, where possible. Though there was not a lot of choice when we were looking for the fridge freezer, but Pat has selected a Shoreline (picture below).

Next came the request from the boys at Kingfisher about lighting. We had agreed to go with LED, but they needed to know how many positions we wanted and where they should go. Also requested was how we wanted them switched, closely followed by power point requests. On both the power and lighting we have had to make a few compromises, but we are quite happy with what has been agreed.

Siemens EC615PB90E
Pat has sourced the hob she wants through John Lewis. It’s a Siemans. I wanted a Hotpoint but my pals in the electrical department warned me off.

Sony CDX-GT450U
Whole House FM Transmitter
I got the car stereo yesterday. This will be our “entertainment system”. It’s a Sony unit,  that Halfords had on a half-price offer. Not sure about the speakers yet, but probably going to go with two speakers from Pioneer that will be dropped into the roof space. I was going to spend a bit more and go down the Bluetooth route, but  I put a post on the Canal World Forum site and several boaters came back to say Bluetooth is OK, but we would be better off getting an FM transmitter. I have sourced one from the US that runs on 12 volts (picture below).

Avtex TV/DVD Combi
We have also sorted out our TV/DVD unit. Again, it’s 12v and we stock it in John Lewis, though its only available on-line. I get discount wherever it is sourced, so that has saved us a tiny sum. The attraction of the unit, an Avtex (no, I had never heard of them either), is that there is a USB port on the side. This means I can record programmes to either a memory stick or hard drive. I bought a 1Tb drive a while back to put all my CD’s and photo on, and there is loads of space left, so I will rip a load of DVD’s, for those inevitable times when we are in the middle of nowhere and cannot get any reception.

John asked me to start thinking about a bookcase/ TV surround and I have designed one to scale, that Pat thinks is OK, and will give us what we need. I sent it to John and he thinks it will work.  It’s one of the things we will discuss next Friday when we pay our three-weekly visit to Trent Lock to see the boat’s progress. We also hope to meet Jan Deuchar, the sign writer, who lives on a boat, moored at the lock.