Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Boatyard

29 January

We have normally managed to get up to Trent Lock to check on progress of The Cat’s Whiskers every three weeks since Mick and John took her into dry dock in September. But it was on the run-up to Christmas that we last visited last so we were both looking forward to seeing the progress that had been made when we headed north last week. This time we made a city break of it, coming up on Thursday afternoon and leaving Saturday lunchtime, staying in Nottingham city centre at the Britannia Hotel. It was only £28 a night, per room, so we were not expecting much, but apart from the noise of the clubbers (there was a karaoke bar opposite) on Friday night, it was a comfortable stay. Couldn’t say I would recommend it, but I think we would stay there again, if the circumstances demanded it. Very handy for The Olde Salutation Inn, a classic pub I hadn’t visited for 20 years, and we took the opportunity of visiting the local comedy club to see “Ivan Brackenbury”. Never heard of him? Check him out on You Tube. His act is as an inept Hospital Radio DJ. He was marvellous and also did another turn as a spoof Psychic Medium, under the name of Ian D Montfort. His real name is Tom Binns by the way.
Ivan Brackebury

First stop on Thursday was to Ikea, to the north of the city. You know, I defy anybody to walk around Ikea and not buy something. We only had a short list of things we needed but by the time we got to the checkouts it needed both of us to carry the stuff bought to the car. There are still loads of things we need to source and discount or no discount, it looks likely we will get them from our Scandinavian friends. And I do like their meatballs!

One of the main reasons for our visit was to deliver the Amtico Spacia flooring that is going down throughout the boat. The boys will start on that next week. Mick has shoe-horned the battery set into the engine compartment, but I don’t think it will be me who will eventually change them, due to their position and the state of my back. We run the engine at last and it was good to turn the key and hear the sound that will become such an important part of our lives over the months to come.
Battery bank installed and engine now working

The Bubble Corner stove, installed with tiled surround
The galley, looking into the saloon area
Central Heating boiler on left. Microwave and oven installed.
Fridge/freezer to go below
In the galley area, the microwave and oven have been fitted and are working. There was water coming from the taps and apart from some tidying up and putting handles on the drawers that area is almost complete and looks good. We are well pleased with it. Moving into the saloon area the Bubble solid-fuel corner stove has been installed and Mick has put in the black tiled surround. I don’t think we were expecting to see this finished so it was a nice surprise. Evidently, new safety guidelines have made this installation quite tricky, as it now needs to incorporate an air lock. Next to the fire John has made me a guitar cupboard. Moving to the rear of the boat the bathroom is almost finished as well. The shower, loo and all the furniture has been built and installed, apart from the sink, which is proving a bit hard to source. The bathroom is very small, but very functional.
Pat tries the shower for size

Nothing much will be happening in the bedroom area until the flooring is down. Over the requisite doughnuts in John’s workshop we talked about safes and paint schemes. The boys are still on schedule to finish on 31 March. Progress now, especially on the outside of the boat, will depend on the weather.

Meanwhile, at home, I have not been slack. For the last three weeks I have insulating and boarding out our large, wooden double garage/workshop. It was certainly a challenge, especially  re-routing all the electrics, but it is now complete and this week I will  confine over half of its contents to the local dump. This is in order to store stuff we can’t take on the boat, and needs storing. Certain bits of furniture, pictures, tools etc. The garage will not be part of the house rental and Kev will be able to gain access when he requires his fishing stuff. We have sent out to our interested neighbours a proposal form for renting the house, and we hope to have them round later this to discuss terms.

That’s it for now.


  1. Dead jealous!
    What will you burn in your stove?

    1. We have loads of wood at home with us which we obtained when an old poplar tree blew down at the back of our house a couple of years ago. We will be chopping this up and taking it with us. We will also use some coal, which we hope will keep the burner ticking over during the night.We haven't looked at the different brands of coal but will take advice and see how we get on. We do intend to make sure that the wood we use is seasoned, as we have heard horror stories about damage to flues and clogged up DVD recorders. We do plan to visit our daughter in New Zealand in winters 2012 & 2013 so will not be on board, hopefully, in extreme weather conditions.